By: Jay S. Levin
The more talk on emotional intelligence and emotional quotient (EQ) I hear – the more upside down I find the thinking on it to be.
Don’t get me wrong; understanding the importance of EQ and its place in our personal lives and workplaces has increased exponentially over the last 30 years since I started working with it. My approach at that time was developing emotional intelligence through the art and practice of meditation.
EQ talk today still focuses on its rightful place, its validity and need. A growing concern though is on whether EQ can be taught, or not.
While important as a concern it’s not critical as an issue. What is more critical is how EQ is working for us? An even more critical concern than that is how we are for it or how we are working with our own emotional quotient to develop and mature it.
Answering these six fundamental questions about our personal involvement with our EQ may help;
1. Is our practice of EQ working for us? If so how?
2. What are our specific key success indicators
3. How do we know it’s working for us?
4. How are we measuring it?
5. How are we determining its effectiveness?
6. What corrections are we putting in place to insure better outcome results?
EQ can be measured. Few do though. What we can’t measure we can’t improve.
Many I speak with are convinced they have highly a developed EQ and see no need to improve, develop or mature it any further. It would never dawn on most, to put their capacity for emotional intelligence to the test by measuring it. Of those few that do measure their EQ, most self-measure and have no outside or third party objective influence in place to provide accurate feedback.
Here’s an irony. EQ is about increasing the clarity we bring to ourselves, to our thinking, our relationships and the situations we find ourselves in. Without continually measuring our capacity for EQ though we lose the very clarity we hope to bring to ourselves through our practice of EQ.
Let me give you a clear example. Just the other day I was speaking with a coach. I was auditing a phone session she was having with a client. After the call, she enthusiastically stated, “I don’t know how I do what I do or why, but I do know that those I speak with all get great results.”
This is statement is a perfect example of dim clarity around self-awareness because she had no idea how she does what she does or no way of knowing what the real results actually were.
Talking further about her comment, what facts emerged were not that her client had already received “great” results but that she could see that if she followed the coach’s advice she could see getting great results as an outcome. Big difference. This is a clear example of dim clarity on the part of the coach due to a lack of objectivity.
Here’s another example, from the same coaching audit. This example shows dim clarity around her capacity for empathy, or understanding the feelings of others.
When I asked how relaxed her client was when responding to all the coach’s questions, I was told, “very.” When I asked whether the client’s laughter following each of the coach’s questions seemed easy and comfortable or strained and nervous, the coach admitted it did indeed sound strained. The coach thought she understood the emotional make-up of her client but began realizing she might not have picked up the subtle clues as well as she thought – another example of how even those of us that believe we have clear understanding of others, still see, hear, feel and think only what we want too and rarely the way things actually are. In this case the coach’s over-talk and need to be accepted prevented her from more deeply understanding her client.
The more this coach and I talked about how effective it would be to frequently measure her affectivity, the more defensive she became. Her point of view shifted from what was needed to improve her performance to what she needed to defend her position and her self-view – an example of her dim clarity on the need for self-regulation or ability to control and direct her emotional reactions, moods and impulses. Her attachments to her self-perception of being “great” in the eyes of others prevented her from seeing what she needed to improve and how to bring that improvement about.
High EQ is about clarity. The more emotional we become the less of that clarity we have and the less we can bring into situations around us. Measuring our abilities and our performance helps insure improvement happens.
How we better bring behavioral measuring about depends on what it is we want to measure. We can measure outcome, impact, capacity, reaction, or effect.
Using the above examples with the coach and her call, “great results” could have been measured by what specific cause and effect actions or consequences actually happened as a result of the advice. This would have been more effective than just hearing the coach’s client saying, “The advice you’re giving me could be great for me.”
Another example of measuring EQ effectiveness, again from the above situation could have been to have the coach ask her client or me as the observer, how she felt answering the questions, rather than assume that the responses expressed what the coach wanted them to which was client comfort.
According to TTI Success Insights, worldwide leader in personal and professional assessment tools, EQ is composed of two aspects of intelligence, Intrapersonal and Interpersonal.
Intrapersonal intelligence, according to TTI Success Insights, “refers to what goes on inside of you as you experience day-to-day events.” Interpersonal intelligence “refers to what goes on between you and others.”
From these two facings come five categories. Intrapersonal intelligence is composed of three areas;
1. Self Awareness
2. Self Regulation
Interpersonal intelligence is composed of two areas;
2. Social Skills
Measuring our EQ affectivity should occur across all of the above five areas. Of those five above areas two of most neglected areas of EQ are those of “self-regulation” and “empathy.” While they may be the most difficult to master and elusive to understand the good news is that neither is impossible to measure.
Once we start understanding that behavior, our own and others can be measured, we’re more than half way at our goal. Once we link measuring to improvement and tie that to behaviors we are even closer to bringing our own self-improvement about.
If unsure about how to measure your own EQ, just start by determining what needs measuring, is it outcome, impact, capacity, reaction or effect?
If you haven’t taken an EQ assessment take one. If it’s been a while since you have last taken one, take one again. If you’re looking to measure EQ progress with those you’re working with, try asking them how they would prefer to measure their EQ development. Learn what matters to those you’re working with.
Lastly, when it comes to measuring intelligence, rational, logical, emotional or practical, don’t assume, and don’t defend. Be neutral. Don’t let your biases interfere. Think objectively. Not personally. Think issue. Not how you feel about it the issue. Think what is the desired result. Put yourself in vulnerable situations by asking those you trust to evaluate the clarity they see or don’t see you bringing to a situation. Seek input from a wide range of people and perspectives, not just those you agree with or those that you know would agree with you.
Increasing emotional intelligence is about increasing your clarity and that of those around you. Emotions can be gooey. Emotional intelligence isn’t.
Emotions can get us gooey. Especially if we heavily identify, rely and over-depend on them to the point where we lose our balance.
In a world of upside-down thinking on many subjects, perspectives and issues, learning how to realistically evaluate our own EQ helps to keep us right-side up and balanced in our approach to ourselves, others and our work.
Sometimes what’s needed is simply to bring more EQ logic to the heart of our emotional intelligence.
Jay S. Levin has over 35+ years experience increasing productivity, profitability and advancing careers through cooperation. You can find Jay S. Levin by visiting his website www.JayStevenLevin.com or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Phone: 951-235-1102 and on LinkedIn