Lately, I have been blessed for some unknown reason with more time to read. I am definitely not complaining! The opportunity to sit on my fanny on the couch, with a blanket, and a book, is sometimes pretty rare. So whenever, I get the time I am very appreciative. Rather than question my good fortune, I’ll enjoy it. Yay!
I have finished another book that was given to all the attendees at the leadership series the county sponsored for supervisors and everyone above them in the food chain. One of the classes was on EQ. Does everyone know what that is? I have heard the term used for a few years, but never knew what it meant. I also wasn’t too curious to find out either. I figured it was some psychological mumbo-jumbo and the latest “expert’s” new theory on life. I am here to tell you that it has a lot to do with our heads, but it isn’t mumbo-jumbo or some form of psychotherapy. By the way, EQ stands for Emotional Intelligence.
Everyone has an understanding of what IQ – Intelligence Quotient – is. Most of us in the US of A were tested for our IQ when we were younger. The test was given to see how much “natural” intelligence a person had. I don’t even remember how old I was or what the test was like when I took it. I also know that IQ numbers were hidden deep inside your school file, never to be revealed. As I got older I was dying to know how I scored, but have never found my number. I am sure it was way up there since I am so brilliant (haha), but sometimes it drives me nuts that I was never told.
Luckily, EQ is different. The test is online (if you have your password from the back of the book) and the test authors freely tell you what your scores are. Their rationale is that you can learn to be more emotionally intelligent which leads to being a better person, a better manager, and an individual who listens more and doesn’t have to be harsh to get results.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 2.0
by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves
Here is what the authors have to say about Emotional Intelligence, “With 90% of the top performers high in EQ, and EQ is twice as important as IQ in getting where you want to go in life, who can afford to ignore it?”
A contributor to this book wrote that education and experience, knowledge or intellectual horsepower are not an adequate predictor of who will be successful. There are brilliant people out there who struggle for success and others that don’t have has many obvious skills or attributes and are successful. So, how does that work? What it boils down to is a person’s EQ.
The brain is wired in such a way that when a signal is sent from a nerve out in the body it reaches the emotional center of our brain first and then goes to the rational part of our brain. This explains why people sometimes explode right away instead of looking at a situation rationally. The authors says that emotions aren’t necessarily good or bad. It’s what is done with that emotion that can be helpful or hurtful. EQ is about learning what your emotions and reactions are, accepting them, and then channeling them into something useful instead of damaging.
Learning to improve your EQ is possible if you believe the above paragraph. But how do we improve our numbers? Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves have broken EQ into 4 workable parts which are: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. All four of these components exist in an individual. The test they have administered to hundreds of thousands of people asks questions that fall into these 4 categories. A score is given for each area tested along with strategies for improving one’s self in each area.
I won’t say what my EQ scores were. Let me assure you, that sadly, they were low in a few things which means I have a lot of room for growth. Part of that is because I am a wallflower and being social, outside of family and need to communicate at work and elsewhere, is very hard for me. I am good at knowing how I feel and I am pretty good at reading others, but that isn’t all there is to EQ.
Thankfully, in this small, but powerful book, the authors give 66 total strategies covering each category. And they aren’t really difficult if you have a desire to improve. They are straightforward and reasonable. Examples are given on how to put them into action.
Under Self-Awarenessles: Quit treating your feelings as good or bad. Observe the ripple effect from your emotions. Know who and what pushes your buttons. Seek feedback.
Under Self-Management: Make your goals public. Count to ten (or as Thomas Jefferson said, count to 100 if very mad). Smile and laugh more. Visualize yourself succeeding.
Under Social Awareness: Greet people by name. Watch body language. Plan ahead for social gatherings. (A must for me.) Clear away the clutter. Live in the moment.
Under Relationship Management: Avoid giving mixed signals. Remember the little things that pack a punch. Build trust. Have an open-door policy. When you care, show it.
The authors recommend rereading this book yearly to keep freshening one’s skills. I can tell you that it will be much sooner than a year’s time before I reread this book. We have good days and bad days, but it is never too late to plug into our EQ. Practice, after all, makes perfect.
I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. I think if you give this small book a read, you’ll find things that you’ve been wanting to work on, but just didn’t know how. The tips are there.
PS – The first chapter of the book features a story of a surfer named Bruce and his encounter with a great white shark. You’ll have to read the book to find out what this incident had to do with EQ. No spoilers here.
This book will make changing a lot simpler than most people think.
Take some time for yourself and read. You’ll be glad you did.