Fear of conflict and low self-esteem were constant companions for most of my life. I was ignorant of emotional intelligence (EQ), and its crucial role in the workplace. The day my boss lost his cool was a graphic example of why EQ matters!

As a junior employee, I drove some distance to one of our client’s businesses early one morning. To my dismay, I found I had run out of some necessary equipment. I apologized for the inconvenience, cursed myself, and drove back to base for fresh supplies.

As I reached the storeroom, my boss said, “Gee, that was quick!”

“Forgot some gear,” I muttered.

Image showing an employee being humiliated by his supervisor.

How Do You Recover from Humiliation?

Fear of conflict and low self-esteem were constant companions for most of my life. I was ignorant of emotional intelligence (EQ), and its crucial role in the workplace. The day my boss lost his cool was a graphic example of why EQ matters.

As a junior employee, I drove some distance to one of our client’s businesses early one morning. To my dismay, I found I had run out of some necessary equipment. I apologized for the inconvenience, cursed myself, and drove back to base for fresh supplies.

As I reached the storeroom, my boss said, “Gee, that was quick!”

“Forgot some gear,” I muttered.

Did he let me have an earful? “That was a total waste of time, and poor service for a top client too!”

He went on, white with anger. To make matters worse, our receptionist was standing nearby, waiting to ask a question.

He had humiliated me. Shaking and intimidated, I drove back to the client’s property, with my fragile self-esteem shattered.

I am not exaggerating when I report my boss returned early from an outcall the next day.

“Gee, that was quick,” I said, unable to help myself.

“Yeah, forgot something.”

He turned to get his supplies and drove off in a cloud of dust. I did not challenge him because of his senior position and, tellingly, because of my fear of conflict!

What was the level of my boss’s EQ? He lacked self-control. He could not keep his temper in check, and I could not trust him. My boss failed to maintain his own standards of integrity. He also lacked empathy, unaware of my feelings, especially in front of a fellow team member.

I felt discouraged and disgusted. If he treated me that way, why should I work hard for him?

Loretta Breuning writes in Habits of a Happy Brain that during such emotional occasions, our brain forms a lasting memory so we can learn from the event. Powerful emotions instantly increase the strength, number, and durability of connections in a brain cell network created to flag the memory as a keeper.

Do you think this experience formed a neural connection or two in my brain? I can still remember where I was standing when he delivered his broadside, and the details of his hypocrisy the next day. It etched the memory of the incident in my brain easily recalled today as I write about it.

I knew his behavior was not a path to amazing business success, but I did not realize how my EQ had a role in the incident, allowing him to get away with his behavior. His EQ and my EQ were both involved in the power play—and on public display!

Incidents like the one I have related—and millions of others involving our many emotions—play out in business every day. Billions of interpersonal interactions power our businesses to success, allow them to languish in mediocrity, or plunge them into failure.

What stories can you relate about EQ (or lack thereof) in your workplace?

Emotional intelligence is so important. Daniel Goleman states in his book Working with Emotional Intelligence that it accounts for over fifty percent of our success in business!

Given that it is so important, how do you wire your brain for a higher EQ?

I use a simple three-step process to increase my EQ. I explain how to do it in my new course, Get Wired for Success!

Discover How to Master Your Thoughts and Emotions in Unit 4. Learn how to increase your EQ, and get my Emotional Mastery Formula!

These skills are life-changing, lifelong and my course is Guaranteed!


If you like this blog, you may enjoy:

How to Control Your Emotions in 5 Quick and Easy Steps

How to Improve Your Business Success by 50%

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