They recognize that everyone has a contribution: Great point, and I'd like to build on that by adding . . . . Let me defer to Eloise on that topic.
They dissent politely: I see where you're coming from, but I think . . .
They acknowledge vulnerabilities: I sometimes struggle with expressing myself tactfully.
They apologize as needed: I'm sorry, I didn't mean to be brusque.
They laugh at themselves: Whoops, I had a Sheldon Cooper moment there. Bazinga!
Some specific tips: Watch videos of your training sessions with a mentor who can identify when you veer into condescension. Consider professional analysis to learn what situations bring out your best and worst qualities, and why.
Finally, forget your IQ. These are the real signs you have potential: You acknowledge your rough edges, you excel when you apply yourself and you're "terrified" — the best motivator of all.
Karla L. Miller writes an advice column on navigating the modern workplace. Each week she will answer one or two questions from readers. Miller has written for and edited tax publications for 16 years, most recently for the accounting firm KPMG's Washington National Tax office. You can find her on Twitter, @KarlaAtWork.