Last time I opened the door to the concept of this thing called emotional intelligence and shared something Travis Bradberry suggested in his book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 that left me, being someone who’s primary goal in just about any situation is to get the best and fastest results I possibly can, more than a little bit frustrated; “Emotional intelligence is the ‘something’ in each of us that is a bit intangible…” For the fast-paced and task-oriented person who’s as DRIVEN as I tend to be, “intangible” is rarely something I want to hear – especially when it ties back to something Bradberry also says “accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs.”
Since this column has always been more geared at using effective communication to build stronger personal relationship, rather than the specific business focus Cindy and I have with the majority of the work we do, let’s push aside how much emotional intelligence impacts job performance and look at something else Bradberry shared about the concept: “People who manage relationships well are able to see the benefit of connecting with many different people, even those they are not fond of. Solid relationships are something that should be sought and cherished.” But how can we possibly turn that thing “that’s a bit intangible” into something very tangible? And more importantly, turn it into something that’s extremely SIMPLE for us to act on?
I’ve studied several sources detailing emotional intelligence over the last few years and they all, in one way or another, break it down into four individual components. Since Travis Bradberry’s definition of each was the easiest for me to
digest, I’ll stick with his definition of each component as we work through them.
Around 2,500 years ago, Socrates said “to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” I never met the guy personally, but everything I’ve heard points to him being a fairly smart dude… And if emotional intelligence really does account for so much, knowing thyself probably is a fairly important thing to have in the mix! With that said, the first component is Self-Awareness. Bradberry defines that as “your ability to accurately perceive your own emotions in the moment and understand your tendencies across situations.” That sounds fairly simple, until we’re neck deep in any given moment and the last thing we’re concerned about is analyzing our feelings…
I don’t believe I can even count the number of times over the last 30 years or so that my dad has told me that I’d get more patient as I got older. So far, only one of those things seems to have happened! At 45 years old, I’m still incredibly impatient… Realizing that didn’t require all that much detective work. But understanding why was an entirely different story, and something I was never able to put my finger on until just a few years ago.
About 100 years ago, a guy named William Marston did an exhaustive amount of research studying human behavior. From that work, he published a book called The Emotions of Normal People. His effort served as the foundation for several resources that are widely used throughout our society today – whether we realize it ties back to him or not! One piece of that work has proven to be the most effective tool I’ve found in the last two decades for helping me understand WHY I respond certain ways in different situations; it’s really provided me with a solid framework for developing the kind of self-awareness that Bradberry defined!
Next time I’ll tie this reference to Marston’s work back to something that’s been woven into this column since the beginning, as well as how anyone can use it to develop their self-awareness, then we’ll take a look at the second component of emotional intelligence…