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How Emotional Competencies Can Derail Careers: The Importance of Kindness and Emotional Intelligence

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

"75 percent of careers are derailed for reasons related to emotional competencies, including the inability to handle interpersonal problems, unsatisfactory team leadership during times of difficulty or conflict, or inability to adapt to change or elicit trust."
— Center for Creative Leadership

Out-of-control emotions such as rudeness and self-obsession are prevalent in today's society. You see it everywhere, from people cutting in line to talking on their cell phones in the movie theater. It has become so normalized that we often don't think twice about it. In a world that often feels driven by rudeness, it can be easy to forget the power of kindness. What if we stop and think about the consequences of our actions? What if we took a moment to be kind instead of rude? It may not seem like much, but kindness can profoundly affect the world around us. Kindness is contagious and can make a difference in the lives of those we encounter.

Self-obsessed emotional responses are free; it takes zero effort and is a quick automatic reaction to outside stimuli that distresses us. On the other hand, kindness is costly, requiring time, effort, patience, understanding of the scenario and your environment, and the willingness to challenge your perspective. To counter these automatic negative relations, take a higher level of emotional intelligence. It requires you to take a step back and consider the situation and the people involved. Collecting your thoughts and using your actions to formulate decisions and behaviors to influence your reaction. Developing this process takes time and effort.

When you are kind, you practice and exhibit humility.

You are saying that you are willing to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see the situation from their perspective. You are also saying that you understand that everyone is fighting their own battles, and you want to help, even if it’s in a small way. Most importantly, when you are kind, you gain credibility. People will trust you more because they know you are considerate and compassionate. Your reaction will surprise those whom you interact with.


What are some things that trigger our emotions?

There are a variety of things that can trigger our emotions. Some positive triggers include seeing a loved one or experiencing a happy moment. Other damaging stimuli, such as sharing a traumatic event or receiving bad news, can be negative. Our thoughts and memories can also trigger our emotions.

“When you react, you let others control you. When you respond, you are in control.”
Bohdi Sanders

For example, we may feel happy when we think about a good memory from the past or sad when we think about something that upsets us. In addition, our emotions can be affected by our physical environment. We may feel happy when we are in a beautiful place or stressed when we are in a chaotic or loud environment. Additionally, our history within these various interactions could build and reinforce an automatic response. Ultimately, it is up to each individual to decide what types of things trigger their emotions and to develop plans to mitigate our automatic responses.


What techniques can help us control our emotions?

We all have emotions, and sometimes they can be hard to control. Some techniques can help us better manage our emotions. One approach is to become more aware of our feelings. This means recognizing when we're feeling happy, sad, angry, or other emotions on the spectrum. Once we become aware of our emotions, we can start controlling them.

“If you do not have control over your mouth, you will not have control over your future.”
Germany Kent

One technique I have found helpful is practicing deep breathing. This can help you calm down when you're feeling stressed or anxious. Deep breathing allows us to focus on the present moment and let go of negative thoughts or emotions. Some people might even try to find a positive memory to focus on. Lastly, we can try to be more positive. This means thinking positive thoughts, surrounding ourselves with positive people, and doing things that make us happy. When we're optimistic, it's easier to control our emotions.


The next time you are feeling the impulse to respond to your natural emotional urge, take a moment to pause instead. It could make all the difference in the world. Make a commitment to be more kind to one another. It starts with each of us, and it can change the world. We all have moments when we're feeling rude.

“What we feel is a choice.”
Piyush Shrivastav

Maybe we're tired or unhappy and take it out on the people around us. But did you know that being rude can make you appear less confident? That's right - when you're rude, you lose your ability to influence those around you. So the next time you are feeling rude, take a moment to pause and be kind instead. It will make all the difference in your daily interactions and the impact you will have.


If you are interested in diving deeper into this topic Kyle D'Antoni and I had an opportunity to discuss the impacts of this topic as it relates to his experience as a lifelong soccer player, coach, and enthusiast; as well as the experiences we've shared outside of the arena of sports. Our conversation is one not to be missed.


Until next time! Climb Together!


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