Leaders have enough to worry about without worrying about saying the wrong thing. But not all verbal violations are created equal. Sometimes saying the wrong thing just makes you look emotionally (and intellectually) dumb. And in today’s business world, emotional intelligence is becoming more and more of a make or break factor.
So here’s the breakdown–you won’t catch the highest EQ leaders saying any of the following:
1. “It’s your fault.”
Even if it is, no need to blatantly finger point. High EQ people don’t dole out blame on others, they dole out belief in others. They don’t judge, they jump to defend.
Think about if someone said to you, “It’s your fault.” It’s difficult not to become defensive. Emotional intelligence doesn’t raise defenses, it lowers them.
2. “I don’t care.”
This goes against the core of being emotionally intelligent. I’m not talking about indifference towards something trivial. This applies to situations when you indicate no interest in a point/emotion/circumstance of importance to someone else.
Think about these three words. I…don’t…care. The definition of callous. Unnecessary.
3. “You’re dead wrong.”
This is especially emotionally offensive when you use it without truly understanding the others perspective, or when used as a rapid fire dismissive to establish yourself as being right.
There are so many alternatives, “Like, I understand and appreciate your point, but I’m in a different place,” or even “Let’s agree to disagree.”
4. “Not my square.”
This is a veiled way of saying “I don’t care and don’t want to be held accountable”– not exactly the impressions a high EQ wannabe would benefit from. Emotional intelligence includes taking ownership or, in lieu of that, showing interest in facilitating help to resolve a problem or inquiry.
5. “That’s your problem, not mine.”
This one also goes by, “You’re on your own” or “Figure it out for yourself.” Being emotionally intelligent means having empathy for others problems and actively wanting to help solve them, or at least show understanding and compassion for those problems.
6. “I don’t need your help.”
Having high EQ also means being aware of the power of welcoming in the help of others. Accepting assistance from others not only helps you and shows you know you’re imperfect, it helps the helpers.
Research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine (2005) shows that helping others contributes to greater well-being, health, and longevity. Why wouldn’t you want to unlock these benefits for others by being more accepting of their outreach?
7. “You failed.”
High EQ people are aware that if someone has made a mistake, they probably know it and don’t need to be reminded, especially in such a harsh manner.
High EQ’ers don’t tear down, they build up. They don’t point out failures, they invest time in others to help them learn from their setbacks, reframe them as temporary stops on the path to becoming a better version of oneself, and help prevent the failure from devolving to shattered self-confidence.
8. “It’s not fair.”
This just makes you look weak. Emotional intelligence involves acknowledging circumstances and quickly resolving to change them or at least choosing to see them for what they are and committing to moving forward.
Declarations like this one role-model unhelpful frustration, despair, and even immaturity, hardly the hallmarks of a high-EQ leader.
9. Anything rage-tinted.
This also goes against the very nature of being emotionally intelligent. Outbursts have no place in the office (or anywhere else). There’s nothing you can do to more rapidly be seen as a low EQ leader than to lose your cool, especially in attacking/offensive ways.
Lose your ego to help prevent losing it and remember that it only takes one nasty tirade to do permanent damage.
Net, to be highly emotionally intelligent, don’t just watch what you say. Feel what you say.