There are many moments when you can upset people in the workplace. When someone is hurt or upset they have an emotional reaction. They might pull away from you or they might attack you in some way, even when you didn’t intend to hurt them.
A man walks into … his manager’s office. His face is red, hands shaking and eyes nearly popping out of his head. He is mad about something! “This new directive is just nonsense!” He roars.
A couple are commuting to work in their car. There is an easiness between them as they drive along the highway. She, quite innocently, raises the unresolved issue about the high cost of their upcoming holiday.
He experiences this question as an attack. He tenses up and goes silent. That's his usual way of coping when emotions like this arise in him. In that moment he thinks of her and this question as 100% the cause of his uncomfortable feelings.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) a concept first coined by Daniel Goleman, can be learnt and improved.
In a recent review of the TUF Online Training program the writer was pleased that I did not advocate zero tolerance: not letting customers swear or show any kind of aggression. Organisations with a zero tolerance policy towards customers tell people not to swear. If the customer persists in swearing they terminate the call or stop serving them and ask them to leave the premises.
The biggest challenge in dealing with difficult situations is to first of all manage your own emotional reactions to them. It is easy to see the other person as difficult and to blame them for your uncomfortable feelings. Acknowledging and accepting your own feelings to yourself is an important first step to making a positive response to someone who you find challenging.