Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves – My husband is ‘manager’ by title, but a leader and a teacher at heart. I’ve learned a lot from what he shares about his efforts in teaching and practicing leadership with his colleagues. This book is one of his favorites. He sent me a copy after an argument. (Really. He did. He’s an indirect communicator. That is a whole different post worth of musing.) I’m familiar with the EQ concepts from our talks, but I’ve not completed the assessments. Nor have actually read the book. That fun little self-study is on the early 2014 ‘to-do’ list. A decade of corporate experience has shown me emotional maturity can separate the good from the great.
It’s a little past early 2014, but I took my pre-assessment. The results ranged from SOMETHING YOU SHOULD WORK ON to A CONCERN YOU MUST ADDRESS. Okay. Well. These, obviously, are on the low end of the scale, so it looks like I may have some room to improve.
Let’s first take a quick review of the book and process.
The book is compact and easy-to-read. It’s not a read cover-to-cover sort of book. You read the first chapter for basic intro to EQ, then you complete an online assessment to determine your strengths and weaknesses in the four major skill areas of EQ (as defined by the book). Each copy purchased includes an access code to the online assessment. The assessment results include a measure of your current EQ skills and a list of strategies and lessons to work toward improvement.
After the assessment, you read Chapters 2 – 4 for more info on EQ and the four skill areas. At the end of chapter 4, you consider your assessment scores and pick ONE EQ skill to work on, three strategies to employ, and an EQ mentor. You use the lessons and strategies throughout the rest of the book to work on growing the EQ skill you selected.
After working on the strategies a while, you re-test and **hopefully** see growth in your EQ skills indicated by your new and **hopefully** improved scores. Then, you repeat the process at will, moving on to other skills/strategies as/if/when needed.
Here’s my take on it all so far.
The introduction and basic information about EQ in the first four chapters is all pretty interesting and efficiently presented. The authors make good use of graphics and example situations to explain the concepts and their importance. All of this is accomplished in less than 55 under-sized pages.
I expected something more in depth and time-consuming, but was relieved to find the questions were straightforward and the response options were simple. A type of behavior is identified (i.e., You speak out when frustrated) and you indicate how often you behave in this manner on a scale ranging from never to always.
I tried to be honest and think of specific situations related to the question when I answered. I didn’t time it, but I’m guessing the whole thing took maybe ten minutes. Maybe fifteen.
I’m no EQ genius (like my never-annoying husband), but I expected to score a little higher, at least in the average range. Instead, my scores indicate I’m apparently near-handicapped emotionally, so I’ve some work to do.
The three items that brought my score down the most (according to the assessment report);
- Trouble handling frustration
- Not holding back when you know your actions and/or words will not help the situation
- Making decisions without adequately considering alternatives
These things aren’t COMPLETELY off base, I have to admit. The only good thing is I’m not truly frustrated very often. When I am, though, these things, especially the first two, are probably/mostly true. I suppose.
I’m going to follow the report’s recommendation and begin my efforts in the Self-Management arena.
In the book, chapters 5 – 8 are each dedicated to explaining strategies for improvement related to one of the four EQ skills. For example, Chapter 6 is devoted to Self-Management Strategies. It provides a list of strategies you can use to improve in this particular skill, along with a page or two explanation about each.
The results report from your assessment recommends particular strategies based on your problem areas as indicated by your answers. You can choose to try the recommended strategies, or choose others. It’s up to you.
What I like
- Doesn’t discourage feeling our emotions or imply we shouldn’t feel in certain ways. We are humans, we are going to react the way we react. We may not always like ourselves in these moments, especially if we catch ourselves in the midst of unflattering emotion like envy, annoyance, or anger, but sometimes these are our honest reactions. This, of course, doesn’t mean our initial gut reactions are right, fair, or should be acted upon.
- Shows emotions must be felt, recognized, THEN handled/acted upon, and it teaches skills to work through that process effectively. Emotions are valuable. They help us weigh what’s important to us, determine who we are, and what we believe in. Our emotions shouldn’t be ignored, but they also shouldn’t control our every action.
- Includes scientific and biological components starting with what’s happening in our brains, how we physically manifest emotion, and what we can do physically to help manage our responses. Much of life is learning how to live in these bodies and make the most of them. Managing our emotions and how they translate into our actions and interactions is an important part of this.
- Helps us learn to put our emotions in context to the situation. Part of growing up is learning that how you FEEL about things is not always the most important consideration. Children and adolescents can live tethered to their every FEELING. Emotionally mature, capable adults who want to grow, and work toward bigger goals can not.
I’m giving this a shot as part of an overall effort to improve my discipline and focus. If I can better manage my emotions in tough situations, I think I can be a better partner, parent, professional, and person in general.
Okay, so I’m off to try to not want to punch people in the face when they get on my nerves. Wish me luck, and let me know if you’ve worked on EQ or plan to. I’d love to hear about your experience or your thoughts on the whole thing.
I’ll post an update after I’ve had some time to practice my three coping strategies.
Image Credit: pic I took of my copy of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry & Jean Greaves available for purchase here.