Why Did You Really Lose the Job or Promotion?

By: Susan Dunn, Ma, Emotional Intelligence

Do you want to get ahead? Who doesn’t? If you’re active and invested in your career and life, you enjoy fulfilling your potential and getting better and better at what you do. It gives meaning and purpose to your life to have goals and to keep improving yourself.

If you’ve got the intelligence, skills, training, academic degrees, expertise and experience and still aren’t getting the jobs and promotions, maybe there’s something in your personal and professional development you’ve ignored. Many people are finding that it’s emotional intelligence.

In today’s economy, you can count on many people having qualifications similar to yours. It’s getting more and more competitive out there! When you go in for an interview, or when you compete within your own organization, you won’t be the only person highly qualified to do the job. So how can you stand out?

I’m reminded of a client I spoke with the other day who’s now retired. He talked about when he graduated summa cum laude from his college and had scored in the 99th percentile on the LSAT (the law boards), quite an exceptional score wouldn’t you say? Exceptional enough to get him accepted to Harvard Law School. He felt good about his ability to compete. But during orientation week at Harvard, he discovered that everyone else he talked with had also scored 99th percentile on the LSAT and graduated summa cum laude. “Uh oh," he thought. He said it was a great lesson in life.

So what can give you the edge? It’s what used to be called “soft" skills, and more and more they’re looking like the “hard" skills you need to compete with.

In a field where others are equally qualified, how are you going to stand out? With your personal skills. Your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence means being able to identify and understand your own emotions and those of others, and to use them to effect good outcomes. The level of your emotional intelligence will affect your resilience, your ability to work with a team, your interpersonal skills, leadership skills, focus, problem-solving ability, creativity, flexibility, communication, and one other important life skill – your gut instincts.

Data can only ever take us so far. For the most important decisions, there will never be enough information, and those who get ahead understand when to apply what they “just know" to the situation. Gut instinct is a matter of long experience, and tuning in to your intuition. It’s applying all that’s gone before to the situation at hand, including the facts that are available, and it’s a crucial tool in life. This is why we like to go to a physician who’s been practicing many years. He’s going on honed instincts as well as all the academic learning and training.

Every day, all around you, you see people who can’t handle themselves. They’re perfectly well-equipped to handle the work portions of their jobs, but they sabotage themselves, projects, and others because they lack emotional intelligence.

People who are low in emotional intelligence:
?Are abrasive, arrogant, or hostile
?Are perfectionists who hold themselves and everyone else back
?Lose their tempers and pollute the work field with negative emotions
?Shut down under pressure and become rigid
?Alienate coworkers, customers and clients
?Mismanage themselves and others
?Lose focus when swamped with emotions they can’t handle
?Operate from a fear-based perspective
?Fail to get in the loop because of low social skills, and ‘the loop’ is where it all happens
?Have no leadership skills
?Lack the creativity and flexibility to generate alternative solutions and problem-solve effectively
?Cannot cope with the unpredictable
?Are unable to communicate effectively with those around them
?Do not have the resilience necessary to withstand the rejections, losses and failures or everyday work life
?Are cynical and pessimistic, an attitude which discourages any kind of positive action and accomplishment both in them and in others
?Can’t handle stress and anxiety
?Take more sick days and produce less when they’re present
?Agitate, gossip, bully and harass others
?Are too afraid to take the risks that bring results

Developing your emotional intelligence competencies is one of the best things you can do for yourself and for your future. It will benefit you in all areas of your life, with long-term results. How can you forget resilience once you’ve learned it? Or creativity? Or authenticity?

You’ve taken care of your educationFeature Articles, training and experience. Now take care of the social skills that will let you stand out and get ahead. It’s what personal and professional development is all about.

Careers and Job Hunting
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