I have a wonderful business partnership and relationship with TTI (Target Training International) – they are one of the largest assessments companies in the world. They are using an Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment designed by us here at EQmentor. Last week, I received several calls from people who administer these assessments to organizations. They were not happy that the results of the EQ Assessment were all lower than average. “Some of these people are very successful!” they argued.
The harsh truth about adults in general and working professional specifically is that our emotional intelligence is very low. On rare occasion when I do workshops on EQ, the first thing I do is ask people to give me names of emotions they have felt in their lives. Adults rarely fill up one flip chart. Kids, on the other hand, usually fill up two or three charts.
It is a sad reality that as we get older, we are taught–both implicitly and explicitly–to hide, disguise, or entirely ignore our emotions and the role they play in our lives and livelihoods. Emotions are not a Monday morning conversation at work, nor a water cooler conversation, nor a Christmas party one nor a conversation we have in a meeting. In fact, having conversations at these events that show true emotions is strictly taboo and viewed as a weakness by some, and reinforced by more. It’s only OK if we are totally drunk! I am exaggerating a little, but not by much.
Now I am not suggesting that we hug everyone we see, and manifest all emotions in any way… There are appropriate ways and places to show emotions. Why is it not acceptable to feel sad at work, especially if something happened that justifies sadness? Or any other emotion for that matter? I asked the folks who called about the low scores these questions. Response? Silence.
My third book was on Stage IV Cancer where I interviewed terminally-ill folks literally on their death beds. They often lament about why they had not shown more emotions, especially with those they loved the most, earlier in their life. It is my hope that it will not take a traumatic event for us to become comfortable with our emotions–wherever and however they may occur. Sharing emotions is an amazing gift to others and I might even argue that it fills a void in so many.
This week, pick one or two conversations and explore expressing your emotion and/or allowing someone else to express it with you. Try it at home at first… where it really counts.