Ask The Experts

Adapting without compromising

Question: After joining this company for eight months as a senior accounts manager, I begin to realise that I may not fit in here.

In my previous two companies where I have collectively served for 10 years, there was never an occasion that I had my boss or anyone telling me that I needed to change my ways.

I was simply shocked when my boss told me recently that I need to tone down my laughter and ‘flamboyant’ nature at meetings, and during social events when I am with my customers!

I need your help to figure if I should continue with my ways or modify them in order to stay on here.

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Answer: This is really about your ‘political acumen’, which is one of the three parts of emotional competency (or EQ) where the other two are in your intrapersonal and interpersonal skills. This means having skills in managing your own emotions (intrapersonal) and skills in managing other people (interpersonal) are not enough.

The third part is managing people in a group setting, in an organisation, at a party, in a classroom and so on. You obviously have strong interpersonal skills as you seem to have the social adeptness when in conversations with people.

In moving forward, you need to seriously look at relationship building from a larger context than what you are doing now where you are probably looking at them more of a single person than as a group.

With political acumen you will realise that behaviours are governed a lot by people’s conformity to norms and cultures. You need to not only know but also adapt to ‘how things are done here’. Then decide whether adapting will bring you any greater good in your career and harmony in the workplace, etc or whether it will be a real chore to do so.

My recommendation is for you to consider adapting to the organisation, as it will help you to become more flexible in life rather than the rigid way of ‘take it or leave it’.

Powerful questions you can ask yourself

• How sensitive are you to people’s feelings as much as your own?

• Do you honestly feel that people have a point when they talk to you about your behaviour?

• Do you feel you need to change some of them?

• Why or why not?

• In moving forward to get more out of your life, what will you do?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with


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