Emotional Intelligence at work

Quiz image for authenticity and self confidence

7 Things Emotionally Intelligent People Don’t Do At Work

Emotionally intelligent people don’t try to prove their importance.

Emotional intelligence and the workplace are inextricably linked, yet they perceived to be at other ends of the spectrum.  Self-awareness means that you know and understand yourself.  Below are the seven things EI people don’t do at work. I would like to take this opportunity to share a snippet of my own story relating to EI leading to happiness and success.

My Story

Eighteen years ago, I was in a job for seven years in corporate world working as a HR & Training Manager a Senior Management role. At the time, I had a young family and a big mortgage. I did however, believe that success was having the ability to climb the corporate ladder, how wrong was I. 

I was miserable, stressed, overworked and unfulfilled and yearned for a good work/life balance.  All of these elements eventually contributed to poor health and the potential dissolution of my long term marriage. Following some workplace stress counselling and attendance on an Emotional Intelligence course for Senior Execs, I was able to do a great deal of self-reflection. I realised was that my world was just about to fall apart, when I saw the light and made the decision to leave corporate world for good.

Our Identity 

A job title and being part of team often form our identity. They give us a feeling of security, define us as individuals, and offer us a purpose and reason to get up in the morning.

It’s easy to see why we can often take things too personally, try to overcompensate, or become too attached to an arbitrary outcome. However, there is another way to approach some common anxieties surrounding your career.


I have successfully run my own L&D and Coaching business since the inception of Aspiring Future Competence in 2002.  Helping others develop and grow is my purpose in life and Emotional Intelligence is one of the subjects I am truly passionate about. https://afcconsultants.co.uk/personaldevelopment/emotional-intelligence/

Here, the 7 main things that emotionally intelligent people do differently at work.

  1. They don’t accredit intent.

People have a tendency to take things too personally at work. They assume every transgression against them is a sign of their incompetence, or worse, how unnecessary they are. (How many people do you know who still freeze up when the boss asks to speak to them privately?)

Accrediting Intent

“Accrediting intent” is when we assume things are about us when they aren’t, i.e. believing that other people are thinking about us. Social media has played a part in exacerbating this. It also occurs as a confirmation bias: if we believe we are incompetent, we are unconsciously searching for evidence to prove it. Emotionally intelligent people can differentiate their biases from reality, and recognise that nobody is as focused on them as they are focused on themselves.

  1. They don’t try to prove their importance.

Those who thrive on telling you how busy, stressed and important they are, those that relish in pointing out what you are doing wrong.    Furthermore they want to place themselves in a position of authority, even if they don’t have one.

Emotionally intelligent people at work show their importance because they know their importance.

They recognise that it is less powerful to talk about how hard the work is, and more powerful to simply show the end result. In addition, they are able to recognise that proving oneself as integral to a team involves being positive, supportive, and showcasing their ability to handle high stress. Some behaviours that people rely on to prove their importance can have the opposite effect.

  1. They don’t attribute their whole identity with their job.

Transactional communication is where someone will ask where you’re from, followed by what is it you do? This is a perfect example of how intricately identities are tied to jobs. However, when this is the case, what happens when;

  • You lose a job?
  • When you underperform one quarter?
  • When you have a midlife career change?

The answer, of course, is that you think you are losing part of yourself. It’s this fear that holds people back from seeing their losses as opportunities to find new or better work. Fear is paralysing, and never more so than when you think that by losing your job, you are losing yourself.

Of course, you existed before this job and you will exist after it. What you do is part of who you are, not the entirety of it.

  1. They give respect to get respect.

Respect at work is important to most people, however few talk about the importance of giving respect as well. Respect goes both ways, respect of others is important even if you don’t agree with their point of view.

If you are in the presence of someone who has been in the field for 25+ years, acting as though their opinions are irrelevant because you have a hot, new take isn’t going to go down well.

  1. They understand where their money is coming from.

The concept of emotional intelligence is about basic awareness. Emotionally intelligent people tend to have a more grounded understanding of how compensation works.  This is to say that they do not take receiving a financial reward for granted.  Furthermore, they understand it’s something that they have to work, and continue working, to earn.

  1. They treat losses as opportunities.

We see loss as a finality or a judgement of our character. However, if we view loss in a different perspective i.e it’s not a loss it’s an opportunity to try again.

An example of loss in the workplace is:

Losing out on a promotion – perhaps you weren’t best suited for the position.

If you lose your job altogether, perhaps it is an opportunity to begin your own business, or seek employment somewhere you’ll feel more appreciated.

  1. They maintain humility.

The single most striking and powerful trait that you can harness in your career is humility. No matter what position you hold, how much you make, or how well respected you become in your field, if you don’t maintain your humility, you’ll become immune to the critiques and ideas of others – which is to say you will stop growing.

Humility begs the question: Would you rather be right, or would you rather be good?

You can read more about this subject and how to be Authentic in the workplace in Chapter 5 of my self-help book ‘Behind the Mask’.  https://behind-the-mask-book.com/

You can read more about this subject and how to be Authentic in the workplace in Chapter 5 of my self-help book ‘Behind the Mask’.  https://behind-the-mask-book.com/