Emotional Intelligence

Many of us have taken personality tests that tell us how we’re wired. And that knowledge is very good – it’s important to know how we’re wired, what we’re good at, and where we could stand some extra help or to partner up with others. But, it’s only half of the picture. It’s purely about the “I” – each individual on the team. Understanding Who I Am.

We must also understand: THE REST OF HUMANITY

For this, we need Emotional Intelligence: The ability to reach out to ourselves and others with compassion to get our work done.

That’s what Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment is all about – how we’re wired to feel, behave and think. Those things we are specifically strong for us are on the very top of our list. From these things, we can make changes in our lives to accelerate our most excellent talents.You will not want to move into a role for which you have no desire to expand your knowledge.

We should always seek to be involved in things that we are passionate about. Those talents that are at the very bottom of our list are things we have no desire to expand in our lives. For me, that means I’m not Command-oriented and I’m definitely not Consistent (ask my kids).

However, when we move into the heart space of Emotional Intelligence or EQ (Emotional Quotient), this is an area where we might be able to learn much better when we are together, than alone. Certainly, there are aspects of both “together” and “alone” discussed in EQ and they each have a place in our lives. However, the majority of EQ has to do with ourselves: first, about how we feel about ourselves and how we address the world, and second, about how we respond to others.

Popularized in the 1995 book, Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, EQ was one of the first concepts to fully explore how humans behave when we can be attuned to our own emotions, as well as attuned to the emotions of others. From these beliefs come the formation of the “self” concept. How I see myself, and how I see myself and others interact together.

When I teach the concepts of EQ, TeamAcumen, Psychological Safety, or Conversational Intelligence (C-IQ), I use older ASL sign language.

For EQ, it is solely about the “I”. Even when we are talking about others, what we do inside EQ is always about the “I” of life:

1) who I am and how I feel about myself – my self-awareness,

2) how I behave toward others – my self-regulation,

3) what motivates me – my self-motivation,

4) how I interact with and feel the feelings of others – my empathy, and

5) how I help others self-regulate – my social skills.


For all of the other concepts, I use “We” and “Us.”

All of EQ is around how “I” do things – either with, by or for myself, or with and for others.

It is the “I” first, but then about the “We,” and finally, the “Us.”

We cannot work well in our relationships unless, we look at the “I” inside the “We.”

Each movement up this continuous scale draws on additional learning. These are all constant development pieces which help develop us as we go up the scale of each theory.

Together, we learn how our own emotions affect ourselves or the work we do with others. If you are a leader, these are doubly important attributes to learn about yourselves, and the people you lead; the more we can learn about ourselves, the more we understand ourselves, the more we can do inside our organizations.

We all know leaders who have mastered a few of the five attributes of EQ, but there are exceptional leaders among us who have mastered all of them. Jim Collins calls them “Level 5 Leaders” in his book, Good to Great. These are people who know themselves, understand what they contribute to life and to their companies, and are just as compassionate with their fellow teammates, co-workers, and employees, as they are with themselves.

However, our first understanding is to learn where we land on each of the five measures, individually as a benchmark. From that baseline, we’re able to plow learning into the areas that may have lower ranking.

EQ is not something we are left with at birth– it is something that we can continue to grow as we learn more about ourselves, the people around us, and about the concepts themselves. It is,  a developmental journey that we continue to walk as long as we live.


Contemplation Cosmos

Learn how we can navigate this island of “I” and step into the other half of the equation inside the “We” and “Us” of life.