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Eight Signs You Need to Work on Your Emotional Self-Control

We hear it again and again from individuals struggling to understand why they’re not advancing in their career. “I have more experience than the next person. Why am I being passed over for a promotion?” The short answer is it’s not just about experience. Soft skills matter --- maybe more than you may realize.

At Team Trek, we refer to these soft skills as character – a set of learned behaviors developed into habit through practice. Some refer to it as Emotional Intelligence (EQ).

Regardless of what you call it, how you handle yourself, your ability to work effectively on a team, and your ability to influence others in a positive way, all play an important role in your leadership influence and future success. 

The good news is these competencies are learned. It all starts with self-awareness – being able to see yourself as you really are to gain clarity on what you need to work on. What follows are eight telltale signs you may have some work to do.

Your Emotions Control You More than You Control Them

The telltale signs your emotions are running your life are you’re constantly saying and doing things you later regret. Emotions aren’t bad; it’s the inability to manage those emotions that get us in trouble. Too often our emotions mislead us and take us down a self-destructive path. Individuals with high EQ are masters at recognizing and managing their emotions.

You’re Not Growing on the Job

The old adage applies here, “You’re either evolving or dying.” Individuals with high emotional intelligence are quick to take responsibility for their personal development. We describe this competency as self-motivation. If you’re waiting for someone else to guide your personal development, or struggle with setting personal goals, the odds are high you have some work to do here.  

You’re Slow to Bounce Back from Failure

You find yourself ruminating over past mistakes instead of focusing on what you learned from those mistakes. Obstacles may seem catastrophic. You may have even been described by people close to you as being too negative. Individuals with high EQ take time to examine past mistakes and failures; however, they are quick to repair the damage and move on to solutions. They stay positive in the face of adversity. 

You Resist Change

You are comfortable with the way things are and may feel threatened when people talk about the need for change. You are quick to make assumptions about what that change means and hesitant to let go of those assumptions. People with high EQ embrace change. They are open minded and are objective in letting the facts drive their decision making. 

You Blame Others for Your Emotional Response

You are quick to make excuses and blame others for your own emotional reaction. The result is you remain stuck, never learning from those experiences. People with high EQ take 100% Responsibility for how they respond to others. 

You Overreact to Negative Feedback

You struggle when someone disagrees with your ideas. Criticism may feel very personal. Your typical reaction to feedback is to either shut down or become defensive. Either way, the outcome tends to be negative. People with high EQ are open to other perspectives and practice humility and active listening. They are open to feedback and actively seek it out. 

You Miss Opportunities to Encourage Others

It’s not that you don’t care about others. Rather, it’s as if your social radar is turned off. You may be so focused on accomplishing the task you miss opportunities to connect with others. The result is the people around you may feel devalued. People with high EQ have empathy. They are in tune with the needs of others and go out of their way to make people feel valued. This doesn’t mean they shy away from giving critical feedback when it is appropriate. Rather, they know how to encourage the heart and are quick to recognize others for their accomplishments.

You Feel Like You’re Always Misunderstood

Conflict often leads to heated arguments. You quickly form an opinion and will defend your position to the end, and in the process are reluctant to listen to what other people have to say. Rarely do these arguments lead to positive outcomes. And when a discussion does end poorly, you often blame the other person for not understanding instead of looking for ways to improve your own communication skills.

Where Do You Go from Here?

All personal change begins with self-awareness. This means letting go of your ego and having the humility to admit you are a work in progress – like the rest of us! Once you know what you need to work on, take 100% Responsibility for what you are going to do to improve. 

You may also be interested in 12 Behaviors of an Actively Engaged Person.


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Team Trek is a world-class provider of culture transformation solutions, leadership development, and team building.


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