AALL Spectrum

AALL Spectrum | January/February 2016 | Volume 20, Number 3

AALL Spectrum / Published by American Association of Law Libraries

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JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2016 | AALL SPECTRUM 31 RONALD E. WHEELER DIRECTOR OF THE FINEMAN AND PAPPAS LAW LIBRARIES Associate Professor of Law and Legal Research Boston University School of Law Boston, MA wheelerr@bu.edu © 2016 BY RONALD E. WHEELER her hasty exit was the result of her real- izing that the situation had gone awry. Self-management, informed by self-awareness, gave me the tools to take charge of this difficult situation. Self-Motivation Jack Montgomery defines self- motivation as expending energy in a specific direction for a specific pur- pose. It requires you to realize what tasks require extra energy and why that is. You should also be able to identify what the costs are of expending this energy and on whom these costs will be imposed. Additionally, if you are not able to self-motivate, you should recog- nize why not, what are the costs to you personally, what are the costs to others, and what (if any) are the remedies? In my own professional life, I pro- crastinate until the last minute on most projects. I realize shortly before proj- ects are due that I must now self-moti- vate and expend a ton of extra energy, work longer hours, forego happy hour, and endure unnecessary stress to get the project done on time. I know what it requires, and I know why. e cost to me is stress and aggravation. However, if I were not able to self-mo- tivate, I would have to ask why not? I might have to ponder things like: (1) I hate my job, (2) I don't care about this project, or (3) I really want to be a personal shopper. e cost to me might be bad self-esteem, disappoint- ing my peers, and poor evaluations. e cost to others might be lost profits, low team morale, or that co-workers no longer want to work with me. e remedy could be changing jobs, seeing a therapist, getting medication, exercis- ing more, or planning and scheduling work projects more in advance. Empathy Simply put, empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. People lacking empathy are oen called self-centered, narcissistic, or even sociopathic. Empathy helps you to be a good team player because it allows you to better understand the effects that your actions have on oth- ers. It helps you to see things through the eyes of others and to anticipate the wants and needs of others in the workplace. It allows you to be a more compassionate and kinder human being. Moreover, it helps you to avoid misunderstanding others' intentions. Professor Nancy E. Snow writes in her American Philosophical Quarterly article titled "Empathy" that "empathic identification is not always fully conscious or deliberate. Empathy is produced through a variety of psy- cho-physical mechanisms, some of which operate at fairly deep levels of consciousness." Empathy serves as a sort of emotional compass for our actions. Snow posits that an empa- thizer is guided to consciously look for signs of other peoples' emotional states, to reflect on the appropriateness of his or her response, and to deliberate on what kind of action is appropriate in the circumstances. However, too much empathy can be counterproductive because it can allow other people to manipulate you. For example, empathy has become counterproductive when a supervisor decides not to dra a disciplinary memo about an underperforming employee because doing so would hurt that employee's feelings. Empathy has also become a problem when rather than tell a co-worker that she is not carrying her weight, you decide instead to do some of her work your- self to avoid upsetting her. ese are examples of too much empathy. Social Skills e final component of emotional intelligence is social skills. Social skills are a catch-all category that combines effective communication, situationally appropriate assertiveness, listening ability, the ability to take and receive constructive criticism, the ability to work successfully in a team situation, and being emotionally honest and expressing emotions appropriately. Socially skilled individuals are able to combine all of the above-mentioned facets of emotional intelligence in ways that enable them to be excellent employees. ese are the employees who, in addition to possessing hard skills, have the something extra that makes them not only insightful and productive but popular and sought aer as colleagues or teammates. Other psychologists, like Rachel Brushfield in 2012, have identified several behavioral indicators that can be used to measure and observe emotional intelligence. ese indicators include self-confidence, a self-deprecating sense of humor, trustworthiness, openness to change, a strong drive to achieve, optimism, cross-cultural sensitivity, effectiveness in leading change, persua- siveness, empathy, remaining unflus- tered when challenged, and awareness of one's own emotional state. Indeed, taken as a whole, these qualities that measure emotional intelligence have been seen as predictors of success. Conclusion Although technical knowledge, educa- tion, and other achievement indicators or hard skills may get you the job, oen it is the so skills that enable you to advance, get promoted, and have a successful career. As one young lawyer put it in a recent Huron Consulting white paper, "I wasn't the smartest stu- dent in law school … but I have always understood what makes people tick and always known my own strengths and weaknesses. I'm not afraid to ask questions and not afraid to look dumb. Too many brighter lawyers don't know how to get on with people." Knowing what these skills and traits are allows one to focus on them and develop greater emotional intelligence. ese are the skills that could pave the way for your ultimate success. ¢

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