Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves explains the difference between natural intelligence (I.Q. as measured by the Stanford-Binet, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and others), and what the authors call Emotional Intelligence (EI), measured by the Emotional Quotient (EQ). Whoa, that was a lot of acronyms. You still with me? Okay, let’s see what this book is all about!
The Big Ideas!
- Over 500,000 people in the last decade to determine their EQ – how they handle emotions and the impact their success in handling emotions contributes to a successful life.
- Emotional intelligence requires one become aware of his or her emotions, learning to manage them rather than becoming slaves to whatever emotion seems to emerge at a given moment.
- Anyone can learn to increase their EQ.
- “EQ is so critical to success that it accounts for 58 percent of performance in…jobs.”
- There are four essential emotional intelligence (EQ) skills that anyone can learn. These skills fall into two major categories: Personal Competence and Social Competence.
- Personal Competence – Self Awareness
- Personal Competence – Self Management
- Social Competence – Social Awareness
- Social Competence – Relationship Management
The authors begin with a short description of how we perceive and react to what we perceive. They note that bodily sensations enter through the spinal cord and are processed by the primitive portion of the brain known as the limbic system. The limbic system is largely responsible for the processing of emotions and feelings. From the limbic system the nerve impulses travel to the cortex where we make rational decisions. The trouble is, we’ve already experienced an emotion and perhaps made some kind of quick judgment at the limbic area before we apply rational thought to the event. Becoming emotionally intelligent helps us “intercept” those unexamined emotions, substituting more appropriate behavior for the events in our lives.
While over one-half million people have taken the online EQ test, only 36 percent can accurately identify their emotions as they occur. The Personal Competence factor of Self Awareness refers to a person’s ability to recognize an emotion. With just over one-third of people being able to correctly identify an emotion, two-thirds of us are held hostage to emotions we do not understand and which influence and cause our outward behavior. For example, we may become angry with another person yet not understand that the reason for our anger has nothing to do with what the other person has said or done. Instead, anger may have arisen because we fail to see the others’ remarks not as a form of criticism or attack, but as a suggestion or even a creative new idea. When we gain mastery in Self Awareness we learn to observe our emotions rather than simply reacting to them.
Self Awareness comes alive when you are able to become aware of the full extent of your emotions – whether positive or negative. As we learn to “catch” our emotional reactions before we act them out, we become more self-aware and more emotionally mature. The authors provide 15 different strategies to help anyone become more Self Aware. The first of these, and perhaps the most important, is to, “quit treating your feelings as good or bad.” Like so many other psychological and spiritual approaches, this advice reminds us to be kind to ourselves and avoid judging our emotions. Simply accept that they have surfaced, and that they have done so to remind you of something important you need to investigate further.
This is the second component of Personal Competence. It relates to your ability to act or to not act depending upon the circumstances by assessing your emotions to make the most appropriate, adaptive choice. “Real results come from putting your momentary needs [and emotions] on hold to pursue larger, more important goals.” With Self Management you can actively choose what you say, do and how you act at any moment. Another 17 strategies are provided to help you learn Self Management. One of them, managing your self-talk, advises you to:
- Stop beating yourself up. When your self-talk reminds you that, “I never do this or that right,” say instead, “Sometimes I don’t do things quite the way I want to.” There’s no benefit in demeaning yourself.
- Change those judgmental statements like, “I acted like a jerk,” to “This time I made a mistake.”
- Accept personal responsibility for your errors and actions. Blaming yourself or someone else is usually not productive. In accepting responsibility you correct the error at its source, rather than projecting it in a negative way upon yourself or another person.
Being socially aware allows you to pick up on the emotions and feelings of other people with whom you interact. “At times you might feel like an anthropologist,” watching over the state and condition of others without letting your own emotions and prejudices color your observation. Social Awareness, a component of Social Competence, includes being an active listener, actually watching other people to get a sense of how they are feeling. “Social awareness is looking outward to learn about and appreciate others. The authors provide an outrageous example of how not to look outward:
“Just think about how it would go over if you were talking with a colleague who is venting about her spouse. She is concerned about her marriage, and is showing more emotion than ever. As a response you blurt out the question, ‘Have you thought about what ideas you have for the project proposal yet?’ She stares at you blankly and is blindsided by your question. Her face drops. The conversation is over.”
Now there’s a real lack of Social Awareness! The authors provide 17 different exercises to improve your Social Awareness, which will help you avoid major gaffs as well as other behaviors that demonstrate your lack of mature social behavior.
This Social Competence skill relies on all the other skills. Relationship Management is your ability to use your awareness of your own emotions and awareness of others’ feelings and emotions to assure clear communication, foster greater mutual understanding and better manage conflict when it arises.
Once again, 17 different strategies are offered to help you gain EQ in this area. Acknowledging another person’s feelings is Number 10. This excerpt illustrates how a Relationship Management EQ expert might behave:
“‘I’m sorry you’re upset. What can I do?’ shows Jessie that if crying is what’s going to help her, then you’d be willing to find her a tissue. Simple acts like this one acknowledge emotions without making them a big deal, marginalizing them or dismissing them.”
Number 3 suggests that we avoid giving mixed signals:
“Telling your staff in a muted voice and a frowning face that they did a great job on the product launch gives mixed signals; the words and the body language are mixed. People believe what they see over what they hear.”
Because so many people have taken the EQ online test over so many years, the authors have accumulated mountains of data. A few points of interest…
- Older people score higher on the EQ test, most likely because they have had a lifetime of experience interacting with other people.
- In 2003 when testing began, women scored higher in self awareness, social awareness and relationship management. Over several years men caught up to women and now run neck and neck in scores. The authors attribute this to changing social mores in which men have learned to pay more attention to their emotions, rather than considering that feeling emotions is “silly” or “unmanly.”
- Strangely, CEO’s and other C-level executives score much lower than middle managers and supervisors on the EQ scale. The authors suggest that C-level executives are promoted to those positions because of their experience in operations and other areas critical to the business, rather than because they have high emotional intelligence and people skills.
People just don’t understand it [emotional intelligence]. They often mistake it for a form of charisma or gregariousness. Second, they don’t see it as something that can be improved. Either you have it or you don’t…By understanding what emotional intelligence really is and how we can manage it in our lives, we can begin to leverage all of that intelligence, education and experience we’ve been storing up for all these years.”
“Emotions can help you and they can hurt you, but you have no say in the matter until you understand them. We invite you to begin your journey now, because we know that emotional mastery and understanding can become realities for you.”
IMEO (In My Eudaimonian Opinion)
The book is filled with “how-to” advice. As I love pragmatism, I think this book is a winner! Its anecdotes focus primarily on success in the workplace but it’s a powerful tool for anyone seeking to become more of what they’d like to be. It gives you the guidance you might have been looking for as you seek to become more relaxed, more in control, more admired by others and, overall, a more effective person as you deal with the ups and downs of daily life with your workmates, significant others, children and friends.
Take action, humanoid
- Clear the clutter away (inside your mind, that is). When you find you are planning your response while others are speaking, stop and refocus on each word the other is saying.
- Take feedback in stride. Be open to what is being said to you. Be curious and seek out examples to best understand the other’s vantage point.
- Tackle tough conversations head on. Find common ground. Ask the person to help you see his or her side of the issue. When the person is finished, then it is your turn to help them understand your point of view.
- “Listen” to how a body speaks. Keep a close eye on posture, gestures, and facial expressions of the person to whom you’re speaking.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0
Authors: Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
Publication Date: 2009