Put Emotional intelligence on Your Thanksgiving Menu

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By Melissa Davies, Wise Ways Consulting

In less than a month, we’re going to enter into “the season”… the six weeks of eating, visiting, drinking, and “guilting” that is the period from the middle of November through to Christmas.

Guilting? Making up your own words, Melissa? Well, yes. I call it guilting because there is so much guilt being thrown around this time of year. And it’s a special guilt that often only comes with this season.

“Oh, you’re not going to spend the holidays with your family? Why WOULDN’T you? They’re so close and you really should go and see them, right?”

“Are you really going to take that many days off over the next few weeks? I mean, it’s going to leave us all short staffed.”

“Are you going to take those days off? People with children should probably have the first chance at taking days off at Christmas or Hanukkah, don’t you think?”

All of these statements are loaded with guilt and are almost designed to push all of your buttons!

If you’re the recipient of these comments, be on the watch for the emotional hijack.

  • Don’t allow your emotions to take over and prevent you from thinking rationally.
  • This is not the time to lash back at a colleague or friend. While they may be trying to be supportive, it can come across as too much. It’s all right to say “sometimes family gatherings are overwhelming. I’m sitting this one out this year” and keep it moving.
  • Remember that sometimes it’s better to be happy than right. Remove yourself from the conversation and head back to your work. All battles are not meant to be fought!

What if you find yourself about to make some of the above comments?

Accept what people are choosing to do and move on. “Sounds like you’ve got some great plans for the next few days; enjoy!” And if the person offers up information that going home isn’t always the most enjoyable, say, “That sounds like it can be an overwhelming time for all of you. Hopefully your other plans will bring you the rest you’re looking for” and move on. At the end of the day, as long as your colleague is doing his or her work and being a great team member, what they do with their time is not your business.

As for taking time off, many who don’t have children choose to take their time off during the off-peak times. They realize that their colleagues with families want to capitalize on school holidays so they often accommodate that and take time later in the year. And again – as long as the work is being done… you know the rest.

For many people, Thanksgiving is a wonderful, family-filled time. For others, not so much. Instead of casting judgement on how people spend their time, consider asking your colleague who is far away from home this season, if they’d like to join you. You never know, they may be grateful for the invitation! And if they say thanks but no thanks, don’t take offense. In the words of the Disney Princess, Elsa, “Let it go…”



Melissa Davies is an executive leadership coach and facilitator as well as the author of “How Not to Act Like a BLEEP at Work”. She resides in Prince William County and runs Wise Ways Consulting, which specializes in leadership, management and team development, executive coaching, group facilitation and high-engagement training. She can be reached at [email protected] or through wisewaysconsulting.com




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