Professional People Skills or The Sting of the Sneer?

The focus on professional workplace people skills, also known as soft skills or interpersonal skills has never been higher. They are instrumental in business success.

Do your professional workplace people skills and emotional intelligence equip you to disagree without showing disdain? Without inflicting the sting of the sneer face to face, on the phone, and online?

Emotional Sting of the Sneer Image by:BikeHikeDive

Wherever or whenever you slip and show disdain, the results of your sneer are disastrous and long lasting. Although the sneer shows your communication weakness, the pain it inflicts weakens others’ abilities to work with you.

Some executives claim that they forgo all civility to ensure honesty, truth, and end results.
My reply: You can be honest, truthful, and achieve great results without disdaining others and inflicting the sting of the sneer.

How can you best avoid slipping and sneering?

  1. Identify your sneer triggers.
  2. Know and remember your true goals.
  3. Employ professional people skills to interact and even disagree.

To identify your sneer trigger(s):
Write down one or two of your pet peeves — situations, behaviors, or attitudes that regularly frustrate or anger you.

Example: A director of membership at a spa got frustrated when an irate customer vented for awhile on the phone. She slipped and said, “Do I get a chance to speak?” Ouch! She stung her customer with a verbal sneer. Her words showed disdain for the customer’s behavior.
The director’s sneer triggers: Feeling she is not in control and not being listened to.
True customer service goal: To empathize, rebuild trust, and resolve the customer’s issue.
Professional people skill to achieve it: Classic irate customer handling technique not a disdainful remark.

Showing disdain does not produce honesty. How open will employees be with you, the leader, if they risk being stung with a sneer? If they exhibit certain behaviors you believe will hurt the organization and block results, simply outline why and how you want their behaviors to change.

Arrogance and disdain will not create the change. Emotional intelligence and clear communication are the instruments for success in leadership, management, customer service, sales, and teamwork.

Being emotionally intelligent about your own sneer triggers and using professional people skills instead of disdain will enable you to meet your goals and produce great business results.

“Sarcasm is not a form of humor; it is a form of anger. Choose wisely.”

What sneer triggers lead you into emotional un-intelligence?

Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach delivers workshops, coaching, and consultations to replace interaction obstacles with interpersonal success for results in business. She now celebrates her 22nd year in business working with corporations, federal government, and mid-size businesses.

2 Responses to “Professional People Skills or The Sting of the Sneer?”

  1. Julie says:

    After working for very high level corporate executives and academic physicians for almost 30 years, I got laid off. I was one of the lucky ones (I think) who found a job relatively quickly. It was a step down in the quality of the person I am working for (insurance sales). Never have I been treated with such disdain and disrespect. He is the master of the sneer. I won’t be here much longer. He actually thinks he can bully people into respecting him.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Julie,
      I am pleased that you can see his disdain/disrespect as his limitation — not any reflection of who you are. Stay strong within as you are looking for the better job and know that you are not alone. The sustained sneer is indicative of his poor self-image and in the long run I believe you will do better in a positive environment with not only basic respect but also collaborative colleagues who enrich each other. I hope my post was of some value in the interim.
      My best to you with warmest regards,

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