Emotional Intelligence in “The Office” (both the sitcom and your work life)

emotional intelligence Dec 09, 2021

There’s a reason the show “The Office” continues to be a big hit. 

Because the characters on the show reflected people we recognize in everyday work life.

But unlike the show, you can’t simply shut off the antics that happen at your place of work (especially now in COVID..hello, 12-hour zoom days!). You need to learn to navigate the waters of office life if you want to achieve your goals as a manager.

This means you need to up your Emotional Intelligence game.

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ, is a term you’ve probably heard bantered about, or maybe you’ve never heard it before you stepped into a leadership role. 

Regardless of your (un)familiarity with it, I bet you’ve been relying on some level of emotional intelligence over the course of your career.

In short, EQ is your ability to “read the room” and understand who key players are and their role in GSD: Getting Stuff Done. 

A high level of situational awareness can help you to achieve your goals because you’ll know whom to impress, whom to befriend as an ally, and whom to be wary of.

Some of us have an innate sense of EQ, but it’s also something you can learn, once you understand the roles people play.

So without further ado, here are the four different types of people that you need to be aware of in the workforce.

  1. The Approver is the person who can approve your ideas and grant you permission or resources. He or she may approve assignments to projects, control funding or budgets, or set the work direction and priorities.
  2. The Gatekeeper is the person who has the credentials or requirements needed to allow your idea to pass through the chain of command or provide access to resources or tools you need to get things done.
  3. The Subject Matter Expert is a person who has a depth of knowledge in a particular area. This could be someone on your team or even in another department. This is a person you want to befriend because he or she can offer skills and knowledge completely different from your own and can help to move your work forward by providing expertise or insights.
  4. The Naysayer is the person who is always finding the holes in an idea. Naysayers can be both beneficial and detrimental. 

You will want to avoid detrimental naysayers, as they tend to put down any idea that didn’t come from them. 

At the same time, you’ll want to befriend beneficial naysayers. These people can pre-assess your ideas, providing valuable insight into any deficiencies or issues with your proposed plans.

Yes, I know. I can hear you. “Great Gina, but what do I do with this information now that I have it?”

Guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out. (See what I did there?)

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