Emotional Intelligence is one of those things that pretty much everyone believes they understand and, honestly, most people’s understanding misses just how much emotional intelligence impacts us in every relationship we form, however short, throughout our lives. So, before we start to talk about in any details, I wanted you to experience it in action. I’d like you to think of someone from your present or past who had a very positive impact upon you. I’m talking ideally about a manager or leader who really impacted you in a good way – but it can be anyone from your life who impacted you in this manner.
Now, I am going to give you six statements about this person, rate this person 1 to 5 as in the following guide:
Significantly less than others. 1 Less than others. 2 Average/Typical. 3 More than others. 4 Significantly more than others. 5
Statement 1: They understand the impact their behaviour had on others ( )
Statement 2: They make others feel appreciated ( )
Statement 3: They honour commitments and keep promises ( )
Statement 4: They involve you in decisions that affect your work ( )
Statement 5: They demonstrate a positive, energizing demeanour ( )
Statement 6: They recognize others hard work and achievements ( )
On more thing: Finally, I want to think about how motivated you were to work hard for this person – what ‘discretionary effort’ you were prepared to invest working for this person or if they weren’t your boss, then just helping them out. Discretionary Effort is a term used a lot in connection with Employee Engagement – highly engaged employees tend to contribute high discretionary effort – they tend to routinely give more than the minimum required by the job. Rate your discretionary effort between 1 and 10. 1 BEING THE LOWEST AND 10 BEING THE HIGHEST
Now add up all the scores including the discretionary effort ( )
NOW DO THE EXACT SAME ABOVE EXERCISE of the most terrible boss you’ve ever worked with OR for.
So, I think it’s fair to say that these two people had quite a different impact upon you – the difference in scoring from the first to the second person is quite different; in some cases very dramatically so! What you’ve just done is rate the observable Emotional Intelligence of these two people – you saw clearly how it is possible to objectively measure and score the difference between the way one person turned up for positive impact, and another turned up for negative impact.
What you should notice too is that what you used to score these two people were just behaviours – they weren’t attributes over which those people had no control (like their height or eye colour) – but they represented the way those people CHOSE to show up in their interactions with you. And the really good news is if you were the low scoring person, and you saw that impact and didn’t like to think of yourself that way, then you can change it! Behaviour is a choice we make – we can choose how we behave. And sometimes just giving someone a look at how they impact others is more than enough to incentivize them to want to make that change enough that they begin to change their chosen behaviours.
For the higher scoring person there’s good news too – did you notice how few perfect scores there were? How few thirties? That’s because few people turn up in a totally positive way in every situation, all of the time. But they could choose to take note of these situations where their behaviour is less positively impactful – and modify it so that they have an even more positive impact – engaging their employees more completely if they’re leaders, for example.
And that is the whole point of this exercise: every single one of us is impacting everyone we interest with day in and day out, in our personal and business lives. And if the way we impact people is anyway important to us; if we’re managers tasked with engaging people to give their best efforts; or parents with the awesome responsibility of giving the next generation the best possible start in life, then how we impact on people, our Emotional Intelligence, is tremendously important.