Emotional Intelligence, also known as EQ, refers to our ability to understand and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. As described in a recent article published by The Muse, EQ plays a very important role in the context of our professional lives, and this is particularly true when it comes to balancing work and cancer. Here’s a breakdown of the four major competencies, as well as the attributes that are particularly relevant for survivors in the workplace:
- Self-awareness involves staying aware of one’s own emotions, preferences, and intuitions as well as our levels of self-confidence, all of which can impact job performance. Because some cancer treatments can be physically depleting, things such as energy levels, emotions and cognitive ability may become a moving target, which makes checking in with yourself to see how you’re feeling that much more important.
- Self-management refers to how we handle ourselves based on the emotions, preferences, etc., that are illuminated by our self-awareness. Included are things like knowing and acknowledging strengths and limitations (also a “moving target” during and after cancer), managing stress responsibly, as well as remaining flexible/optimistic by continuing to pursue goals regardless of any obstacles or setbacks.
- Social awareness refers to our ability to recognize and relate to other people’s perspectives. For survivors, thinking through the needs of their employing organization, including supervisors and colleagues, is key to planning for any initial or ongoing disclosure conversations.
- Relationship management is the final of the four EQ competencies and describes our agility in eliciting desirable responses from others. For example, it’s not enough to simply think through your employer’s perspective as described above. Incorporating that thinking into any disclosure and/or planning conversations around how working through treatment or returning to work will come together can make all the difference in helping dialogue to go more smoothly. Additionally, the Swivel technique is another example of how to successfully manage work relationships after cancer.
For more on the topics discussed above, check out the following CAC resources:
- Balancing Work & Cancer: Managing Long-Term Stress: Click here to watch our past webinar on this topic, which offers tips on how to stay balanced and in control of your work and your life.
- Living and Working with Cancer Workbook: A comprehensive guide to the practical and legal issues of working after cancer, including disclosing a diagnosis, which can be ordered in hard copy or downloaded for free here.
- Living with Cancer As a Chronic Disease: This booklet contains five strategies to help you overcome any relevant workplace challenges. It can be ordered in hard copy or downloaded for free here.
- Our website features a number of articles that explore various considerations when working through treatment and includes a section on disclosure.