"calm under pressure" but also need to work on emotional intelligence?


This comes from work so I'm putting it here. I'm annoyed that I keep getting ridiculous praise for basically just doing my job competently (I am in regulatory compliance and risk management and, sadly, it's my Time to Shine) AND AT SAME TIME getting told left and right that I need to say hard things in a way people and their stupid egos will feel less wrong about.

First off, my job IS keeping things safe and legal whether it's "fun, nice, the way we always did before" or not. Secondly, you bunch of feely-mc-feelings-wallowers keep being astounded and ridiculously effusive with weird gratitude that I am "so calm under all this pressure." And supposedly you "appreciate the directness" but somehow want it to feel less like I'm saying you've been doing stupid things stupidly and it's come to bite you in the ass?

I am having trouble reconciling all this.

And, for the record, I'm not all that calm or relaxed but running around like chickens with heads detached is counterproductive AND this is hardly the most stressful thing I've ever been involved in.

The "thanks you're awesome but you're making us feel like we're doing things wrong" (which yes, you were) is driving me batty. I don't know how much of this is older sibling role stuff, basic personality stuff, or being way too responsible too early fallout but it's making me tired of hearing work people talk. And starting to affect how I interact with Spouse, which just isn't fair to him.

What do other people here with overdeveloped watchdog/sense of responsibility who made a job of it do when it goes into overdrive AND is actually part of your job?


Update, then a question.

The update is that last week the person contributing most to situations that led to my rant above & I were summoned to a meeting with both of our managers to "clear the air" because now he's being assigned primary on a very important project I have developed. Although the fact that he comes off as disrespectful and that his actions do undermine me (and others, but this was supposed to focus on how he and I work together) both suck and often end up wasting the time and resources of my and others' departments, it made me SO UNCOMFORTABLE that the convo kept coming back to people's feelings and how "stressed we all are." I don't know how much he needs his feelings acknowledged, but I'm really not here for that and as long as we're civil and open with info that's really all I need at work.

There were also a lot of compliments from the managers, but that ended up feeling pretty empty since the rest of it amounted to "but even so, be nice to the poor guy even if he's being a meddler or rude due to his presumed stress." The top manager basically wants everyone to get along on a personal level so I have to give this a real shot but I don't expect any change. Being short on patience with people and uncomfortable to the point of almost disgust with focus on feelings predated PTSD for me but it definitely got more pronounced after. And that those plus not trusting people (which tbh is also a factor with this guy) are proving to be very persistent.

The QUESTIONS: When the feedback is to "develop your emotional intelligence" and consider why people are acting like jerks or being stupid or whatever at work and it's actively counterproductive
1. how do you demonstrate that you're doing your part on something like this? (clearly just grinding my teeth, ignoring the dumb parts, and continuing to speak to him and include him in update meetings, etc was not enough) and
2. at what point is it appropriate to go back to the managers and explain that despite my making the requested changes, the pattern has not improved? And if it comes to that, do I bring a list of "on this date I did/said X and he then did/said Y" or what? Documenting like that seems like it would not go over well at a lot of workplaces AND is a lot of work for probably nothing.
3. for the "trust" portion - is there a way to say, in a work context, that I'd rather not have something this high-stakes be a "practice delegating & trusting your colleagues" thing?


Have you had a conversation directly with the buy about how to get along? What his expectation is and what yours is?

Might not work at all, but in my experience trying to have that dialogue with the person directly , get whatever the problem is out in the open. So it's clear.

If that doesn't help to solve things: then not worrying about it. Do your work, be polite and civil, and leave it at that.

With developing emotional intelligence: is this something you think you are lacking? Is this dynamic something that happens in other relationships, or is it just wih this one person? Because if there is no pattern, then you're just in a particular dynamic with a particular person. But if this happens over and over: there is room for self reflection and growth.


Thank you.

I did end up having to talk to him, mediated and facilitated by our managers, last week. Right now it's only with him, and thinking back on other times I've reached a true impasse in a work context this stuff only happens rarely. And it's only specific extremely rare individuals who the first talk doesn't help resolve it.

I had done a "we seem to be on the wrong foot, so here's where I'm coming from, how about you?' individual chat with him months ago but it did not help then. Our mutual managers see it as a personality or communication style thing but I specifically have twice been told to work on my emotional intelligence with this guy. it's funny bc most places I have worked everyone thinks I get along great with damn near everyone to the point that if they learn i don't like a specific person, it's a surprise. People I personally can't stand find me approachable at work and are usually none the wiser that I don't like dealing with them. Most of the irritating traits probably aren't their fault and it wouldn't help anyone to be a dick to them anyway.

Plus, a lot of my job involves training, teaching, and change management and I know people's feelings have a huge impact on learning, retention of info, and openness to change.

Emotional intelligence is a hot button for me personally bc i do routinely go out of my way to consider why people might act as they do, since in the past my family has accused me of being callous and unfeeling (after I basically stopped expressing emotions as a kid because it caused trouble) and that bothers them. And to be honest, I DO have steamroller, my-way-or-highway, tendencies thanks to what I did to cope back then so it's actually a lot of work NOT to revert to that for expedience. According to Spouse, friends, coworkers, and even my family as long as we're keeping things light, I've vanquished the control-freak tendency pretty well. I don't and may never have much skill identifying or (ugh) actually feeling my own emotions because of my Stuff and I'm fine with that for me. But I have an intellectual understanding of what they are for others and why it matters to accommodate that for them.

For his part, during last week's uncomfortable meeting the dude at work cited personal stress and work and non-work pressures, but also claimed BOTH to be aware and working on his delivery AND not to have any idea there was a problem. From one sentence to the next, even.

One thing I have been told repeatedly is that I hold myself and sometimes others to very high standards, and to be generous when ppl don't make the mark (because supposedly my standard is unrealistic). That's another thing I've worked a ton on especially with students, people I manage, etc. on work tasks and what professionalism looks like. BUT in this realm with this guy I truly feel like if I can know about this personal tendency and shove the "but this comes from my coping mechanism" part aside and force myself to do better (be generous & cut slack for jerk behavior coming my way) I feel like so should he. ESPECIALLY in a professional setting where our histories should be left largely at the door.

I'm all for getting to an understanding and being a good coworker and giving a genuine crap about people and what works for them BUT when my effort to do so by talking like adults fails I really don't know what else to do because you can't force another person to also try and apply "Crucial Conversations" principles (or whatever method; CC is part of this from my job) if they don't want to. Sometimes we're not "both wrong" and that point is fast approaching. Usually I cut the person off if it's a personal relationship or find a new job if I get to that point. But i REALLY like my current company, job, and everyone else and it pays well so I don't want to do that this time.

There's also no way not to collaborate with him due to the scopes of our jobs. And it's extra frustrating because it takes A LOT for me to even bother mentioning people being rude or whatever because usually it really just doesn't matter that much to whatever the work is. This one matters because the stakes are high, it's preventing progress, and because I'm stuck with him.


Sounds tough.
Sounds like you have tried, and reflected. I wonder if he has?

Who is telling you to have emotional intelligence with him? And why? Because why is it your job to have emotional intelligence with him?

Sounds as though management want it solved. Because they held that meeting.

How about inviting the guy to coffee and just spending time chatting about none work related stuff. Whether that clears the air or not, you can show you tried to build a relationship.

I wonder how he is trying?


Not Active
I am glad to see you are recognizing that you may have a blind spot and or maybe triggered by this quote
The "thanks you're awesome but you're making us feel like we're doing things wrong" (which yes, you were) is driving me batty. I don't know how much of this is older sibling role stuff, basic personality stuff, or being way too responsible too early fallout but it's making me tired of hearing work people talk. And starting to affect how I interact with Spouse, which just isn't fair to him.

What do other people here with overdeveloped watchdog/sense of responsibility who made a job of it do when it goes into overdrive AND is actually part of your job?
Also I think if you are hearing others are offended or hurt by the way you approach them at work (and you are taking similar stance at home), maybe you are under a lot of stress and unable to cope with something - work or things coming to the foreground for processing?

Personally, I really f*cking hate when I start to notice I am angry or hater with people or things at work or at home but feel also no one understand me...I have few cycles I go through but I do really try to see under my beating me down self that I might need a good rest of sleep, vacation, away from work, meditation or just understand these people are not worth my carrying them on in my head. From my personal experience, when I start to throw the baby with the bath water, I take time out!

I think from the way you are writing and I could be wrong but you might not be appreciated for what you are contributing (their compliments sounds like a landing strip to bring you down - not genuine) and their behaviour may be even taking something away from yo; and you might or not be aware of this or maybe it is just my interpretation but I would recommend parsing it in safe space with a therapist.

This type of workplaces (I had few) I find the real truth comes much later...at least for me. It is toxic and no matter who, everybody has a bit of ego to soften.