In summer 2016, I became a big fan of the book "Emotional Intelligence 2.0" and have read through (and listened, I bought both formats) several times. Recently, I was invited to speak on the topic at the Virginia Recreation and Parks Society’s Management Conference in February 2017. To prepare for my presentation I am re-reading the book this month. Emotional Intelligence is a fascinating subject. My favorite aspect is, it gives us all hope. While many people are born with naturally high EQ (or EI, there is a distinction, that is another blog for another day) the rest of us can dramatically improve or scores, primarily by focusing on the first of four pillars known as "Self Awareness." The book goes on to explain that you can work on any one of the four pillars and it will make you better. If you start with improving self awareness first, it seems to raise all four categories higher and faster.
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH MCDONALD'S?
Ahh thank you, I was hoping someone would ask. I was out running errands today and I stopped at McDonald's for some lunch where I witnessed to wonderful examples of high emotional intelligence. The first encounter was my server. He genuinely seemed to be in a very good mood. He was making corny jokes, interacting with customers and most important, doing his job with a smile on his face. Many of you reading this, have had jobs similar to this and I'm sure you felt like there was little to smile about. Despite circumstances, he was happy. A better word, he seemed grateful. Having high emotional intelligence includes the ability to asses your situation and recognize it for what it is. The important point, is to take appropriate action. Perhaps, this man lost his job and working at McDonald's has allowed him to continue to support himself. Perhaps he took the job, for extra money to care for a loved one, or to save up for retirement? The list of possibilities is endless! One of the first lessons of Emotional Intelligence is to look at your situation from outside your personal perspective and to assess with as little bias as possible.
THE SECOND MCDONALD'S STORY
As I am sitting with my lunch, I notice a man in his McDonald's uniform sitting at one of the dining tables listening to an elderly woman. I did not hear the content of the conversation. What struck me was how little talking he was doing and how much listening did instead. One of the best ways to improve our Emotional Intelligence is to make the conscious effort to listen more. This not only allows us to fully understand the information being presented, it also helps us process. How many times has someone begun to tell you a story and you jump in (or perhaps a better word is interrupt) only to discover you have the entire idea wrong? When we listen to the story to completion, we allow ourselves to take in all the information presented and fully understand. In the book, Travis Bradbury suggests that you skip taking notes in your next meeting and simply listen. Dr. Stephen R. Covey refers to this as "listening to understand." So often, we "listen to respond." Think about the subtle but dramatic difference in the two ideas.
First: go buy a copy of the book. Read it, listen to it, do both and then repeat several times! Take the test before you begin reading to get a sense of where you are. Then read the book and look for ways to improve. After a few months, take the test again to determine your progress and learn other effective ways to continue to improve.
Second: get it in touch with me. You have more questions? You want me to speak with your group? You simply want to learn more about other topics like LinkedIn Prospecting, Sales Training, Leadership, Public Speaking, Networking? We can discuss all this and more: firstname.lastname@example.org 443-808-1670
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