Currently I am working on developing my soft skills, which will be useful for the type of job I am doing. On a regular basis I need to provide a vision to several people, get them on board for my ideas, have them share their ideas, motivate them and build a mutually trustful relationship. By nature I would appear to have a high EQ. I noticed in my early teens that I pick up subtleties others would not, although it took me into my early 20s specify this further and come across high sensitivity and the concept of emotional intelligence.
So, there was me and my coworker today whose background could not be any more different. I am European, he is Chinese, none of us has English as their first language. I tend to be direct and managed to offend people from another background in the past. Friends have told me they were intimidated by me when we first met, so my focus was on starting today's meeting in a relaxed atmosphere, observe and adjust my voice and words accordingly. After all this meeting was about him taking on more work and contribute to what I do and I needed him to get on board for this and wanting to work with me.
His body language was tense and he looked as though he wanted to leave this meeting. I sensed he was worried about being overloaded with work and tried to find a way to put him at ease, say something that would help him, not interfere with my own values and still help to mutually agree our way forward. After some time I reassured him that it is important to me the people I work with are happy and than I am happy if they can balance work and their 'other life'. I gave him an idea as to what his focus would be on in the coming months so he got a sense of the expectations by taking on this project. Maybe 40 minutes into this meeting I saw a sudden shift. He relaxed in his chair and was even leaning forward. It was as though a huge weight fell off him and he then said it would be good for him to take on this work as he can learn a lot. I could not help but smile at this success for both of us.