Last year I was sitting down with a smiling Wheaton College student who had successfully graduated from one of the hardest schools in the nation. They were relieved to put behind them all those weekends of studying every night, reading thousands of books, and having very little time to foster close relationships. Paying $30,000 per year is a pretty high motivator for getting through college quickly and reason enough to sacrifice many social pleasantries on the altar of making excellent grades.
Within moments of talking about future possibilities (something I deeply enjoy) my friend’s winning smile quickly vanished as they began to share with me their dilemma. First of all, they had a degree in Anthropology, a noteworthy major that has no practical benefit unless you go on to grad school and then to get your doctorate. Secondly, on top of having to pay off a hefty college loan, they didn’t have many people they could network with to land a decent job. Again, the push for high grades without a plan for building strong and strategic connections had taken it’s toll. I have seen this scenario over and over again. It seems that book smarts is expensive, worthwhile, but to be frank, not enough.
One of the clearest indicators of emotional health is how we care for and grow our relationships. I think we all know that studying a textbook can get you a bachelor’s degree, but it doesn’t necessarily produce social skills. Your IQ can get you a great score on a test but not ensure success in your marriage. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 was written by Bradbury & Greaves to help people determine their emotional health while proving that emotional intelligence is the greatest predictor of job security and the most important set of skills necessary to build healthy families and successful organizations.
Being in the people business for almost 10 years, I have come to recognize that just because someone says “I think I would be good for this job because I am relational” doesn’t mean they are skilled at handling people. The reason I have employed Emotional Intelligence 2.0 with my staff as a part our coaching track is because relationship-building, networking, interpersonal skills, managing people, coaching people, and team-building all require a high degree of self-awareness, social awareness, self-management and social management. These are skills that you focus on when growing your EQ and can be learned like public speaking, goal-setting, or learning a musical instrument. The sad thing is that too many people, young and old, rely on the ole’ school mindset that IQ is everything. Hopefully, this will begin to change with the on-going explosion of social innovation, social business, and social media.
I want to offer three ways to utilize Emotional Intelligence 2.0, if you would like to take the plunge towards a greater EQ:
1. Take the test online after purchasing the book code. Once you have taken the test and gone over your results, you can take the strategies they suggest for you and put a growth plan together with weekly goals for taking a self-inventory and social inventory.
2. Do the EQ test with your spouse, your room-mates, your family and your in-laws. There has been more emphasis in using Strength Finders and Emotional Intelligence tests for family and for friendship circles not just organizations and businesses. Much of the conflict that nags at you in your family circles and friendship circles could be eliminated with a shared understanding of where each person is strong and where each person is working to become more healthy.
3. Take the EQ exercises and turn them into family exercises. As a parent, I have become more convinced that our children need to learn how to be active listeners, great question askers, skilled at taking the pulse of the emotional atmosphere in the places they go, and how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes when they are listening. These are basic skills that can be caught at some level, but our children will not mature in their ability to build solid relationships without being taught and coached.
Gaining a strong learning ethic and study skills is definitely important, but in this day and age, your emotional intelligence will take you where book smarts ain’t enough.