Emotional Intelligence and Age

I just finished posting new research on emotional intelligence and age.

This study started in a workshop where we were talking about Noble Goals. In our model, the “capstone” competence of emotional intelligence is Pursue Noble Goals — there are two reasons:
1. When we engage in the pursuit of purpose we are less defensive and reactive — less about our own ego and more about the larger vision. This allows us, even compels us, to manage our emotions more effectively.
2. Really, what’s the point? We can teach people to be more intelligent at problem-solving and they invent ways to hack the net. We can teach people to be more intelligent at engineering and they develop better ways of killing. We can teach people to be more intelligent about emotions and they become master manipulators. Voila, job done, let’s call it a day. Oh – wait – missed something…. So “intelligence” isn’t enough. We need to apply that intelligence — this is wisdom. So Pursuing a Noble Goal is a way to focus our emotional aptitude and move toward wisdom.

Anyway – point of the story: One of the managers I was training said, “Aren’t older people naturally better at this competence? It seems like young people, at least in my company, don’t really have a vision.” Hrmuph.

So I asked our research team to find out.

The answer is yes – older people are slightly more likely to be emotionally intelligent – at least in four of our eight competencies. I’m excited about this result – it shows that EQ is learned and it does develop with life experience and that age isn’t enough: You have to work to learn these skills.

How Emotional Is Too Emotional?

This is an excellent article:

How Emotional Is Too Emotional?
Nan Mooney, Inc

Mooney says women frequently ask what to do about “being too emotional” at work — I get this question a lot too, and have worried that, as a man, my response might miss the point… so I was glad to read this!
“Professional women are frequently tagged “emotional,” as if it’s a flaw they should learn to overcome. But emotion in the workplace isn’t necessarily a bad thing.”

In my varied career history, I haven’t found that women are more emotional than men on the job. We may be more comfortable expressing those emotions, since we live in a society that encourages women to be the feelers and men the thinkers and doers. But being quicker to key into the emotional aspects of a situation largely works to our benefit. It means we may pick up on a client’s or colleague’s unhappiness, make subtle adjustments in a plan or project to please everyone involved, and — best of all — form more trusting and respectful professional relationships.

The place where I think Mooney misses the mark is recommendations of what to DO about emotions. The central premise of emotional intelligence is that emotions are a resource to help us understand and manage the world — inside and outside. Emotions are information and energy — data and commitment. Emotional intelligence helps us access the data and tap the energy. When we DON’T do that, emotions well up and spiral out of control. Women and men are socialized to cope with “out of control” emotions differently (as Mooney suggests, bursting into tears vs pounding the steering wheel and cursing) — but it’s the same reaction.

The real secret is to access the information of the emotions – tune in, gain insight – and then use that data to make a better decision. When we do so, the energy of the emotions automatically transforms into a motive force toward resolution – that’s the power of emotional intelligence!

Dating and EQ

This is a fairly amusing perspective on why it’s so hard to find someone you want to date:

Pearls of Wisdom: Smart, cute and unavailable

The Stanford Daily
October 13, 2006
By Lisa Mendelman

At Stanford, we are blessed to be surrounded by book-smart people. Trust me, the real world looks nothing like this. Even the fuzziest English major (i.e., me) can solve your average differential calculus problem, and, assuming “Freakonomics” and The Economist count, there are lots of well-read techies biking through the Quad. Where the Farm’s population falters, however, is in another realm of intelligence: the fundamentals of social interaction.

I am with Lisa so far — when schools, or businesses, select a population based on “IQ stuff” w/o considering “EQ stuff” they get people who are not-so-socially-graceful.

Things fall apart a bit when she explains there are 2 axis – SQ is social quotient, and EQ is emotional quotient:
I will assume that second axis on which we are plotting men—and, to be fair, women—ranges from mean and arrogant to nice and down-to-earth. (Obviously, when I used the words “ugly” and “cute” in high school, I was referring to personality). We’ll call this the Emotional Intelligence Quotient, or EQ.

There is a big challenge in our field – people (including me) oversimplify “EQ” and identify emotional intelligence as being “down to earth” or “nice.” I think sometimes emotionally intelligent people are fierce. But I agree with the author that I’d rather date someone both socially and emotionally aware…

Interview w Daniel Pink

This is a piece I wrote…

Leading with a Whole New Mind: Daniel Pink’s Memo for Tomorrow’s Leaders

Daniel Pink discusses his latest book, A Whole New Mind, with emotional intelligence expert Joshua Freedman, and identifies key skills for leaders in a changing marketplace.

What do you get when you add up designer toilet brushes, Frappucinos, increasing obesity, innovation and outsourcing? According to trend-watcher Daniel Pink, it’s a new business climate — that calls for a new breed of leadership.

To thrive in the era of the three As — Abundance, Asia, and Automation — companies have to offer significance above and beyond product value. And leading this kind of business takes special talent – talent that’s increasingly hard to find.

The business challenge begins with a changing marketplace, and continues with a new generation workforce. Pink says businesses will find it increasingly challenging to hold marketshare. “Today you have to have the ability to do something that’s hard to outsource, hard to automate, and that satisfies some of the nonmaterial demands of this very abundant age. An age where many consumers in the West have had their basic material functional needs satisfied or over satisfied. The way you stand out in a crowded marketplace is to appeal to spirituality, emotion, aesthetics, and so forth.”

The abundance of the current Western economy translates to a glutted market. With a dozen places for gourmet coffee, why turn to Starbucks? With more cars owned in America than there are drivers, why will someone buy a Prius?

Pink says “this puts a premium on aesthetic, emotional, and even spiritual aspects of goods and services.” This explains why self-help and spirituality remain booming, why a 3-star “middle America” hotel puts aromatherapy and guided meditation in executive rooms, and why there is a line for back massage in the Chicago airport. Sometimes called the “LOHAS” market (Lifestyle of Health and Spirituality), there is a trend Pink calls the “accelerated the search for meaning” that a few exceptional leaders are poised to serve. These leaders are metaphorically using “right-brain” skills of creativity and relationship-building (there’s no neurobiological evidence of the right/left brain concept, but it’s a catchy metaphor).


It Is in Your Head

It Is in Your Head
By Eileen P. Gunn
US News & World Report, Oct 16, 2006

Interesting piece about changes in hiring —

The use of these kinds of behavioral or personality assessments, which ebbs and flows along with other corporate trends, is on the rise again.
In March 2005, more than a third of employers surveyed by the Society for Human Resource Management were giving job candidates personality tests, with more planning to start in the coming year. And 36 percent more were formally testing employees for organizational fit by assessing things like team-orientation, entrepreneurial inclinations, and comfort with a “traditional” work environment.
One reason these tests are back in vogue, according to executives who use them, is that the more sophisticated ones have become increasingly accurate and adaptable to different industries and job descriptions.

Good advice: More important, the tests aren’t about aptitude or intelligence so much as fit. If the test steers the company away from you, it might be for the best.

Matches our experience w using the emotional intelligence test for hiring — fit matters more than score. Question for me is how well is the hiring manager using the tool. A good assessment can help a lot if used well. Otherwise…

Parenting to overcome stress

This is a piece on children and stress, very basic, a little simplistic – but not bad! Premise is that there is negative stress and positive stress. Parents need help kids know the difference and know what to do about it.

What to do? Well, a few suggestions. Conclusion:

EMOTIONAL intelligence helps children adjust to the needs and pressures of life. Life’s challenges often cause anxiety, leading children to seek reassurance.

Children can be taught to deal with challenges by identifying their emotions and coping with these obstacles. While pressure or stress is unpleasant, children need to be taught that it does not stop there.


Raising Emotionally Intelligent Children

I liked these points — I agree that helping name feelings is a great way for parents to build dialogue about this important area. Often it’s hard when parents don’t have a lot of words for feelings themselves – or when they are too in a hurry. It’s not necessary to use “technical” words for feelings, e.g., instead of “jealous” it’s also great to say, “does it feel like when someone takes your toy?”:

  • One thing parents need to remember is that they are “emotion coaches” for their children. Emotion coaches help their children name and discuss the feelings they may have.
  • Parents should not try to solve the problem, but instead try to relate to the child’s experience and respect the child’s ideas.

I did not like this – it bothers me when people write “research says” and don’t have the research!
Research indicates that parents can use a variety of ways to become better emotion coaches. One approach is that parents should pretend what it would be like to be in the child’s situation and try to imagine what the child might be feeling.

Raising emotionally intelligent children

Susan Routh
OSU Extension Office
Raising a child is said to be one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Learning how to read a child’s emotions can be just as challenging.

Adults may often find themselves having difficulty identifying their own emotions, let alone knowing how to read their child’s emotions.


Long time… and EQ for Hiring

Well I have been a lame blogger. Apparently writing a newsletter, training programs, AND a blog is too much. But I thought of a new idea. I am going to put links to different articles I get into this blog.

Another article on importance of EQ for job success.

Good line: Companies have to hire good communicators if they want to survive.

Not-so-good line: As for employees, older workers tend to have more emotional intelligence, usually through hard-won experience. Younger workers, however, can close the experience gap by showing genuine excitement about the job, interest in the company, and a willingness to learn and grow. A) age has a slight correlation w EQ… IE, while mean EQ increases a little w age, MANY older people have lower EQ than many younger. ALSO, “excitement” and “interest” are not EQ! Younger people can close the EQ gap by being committed to learning about themselves and others!

`Emotional intelligence’ a new hiring criterion
By Erica Noonan, Globe Staff | September 10, 2006
In this job market, it’s not just who you know, or even what skills you’ve mastered. It’s how well you understand other people that will get you ahead.

This is the age of emotional intelligence, often called EQ, and today’s hiring managers want proof you’ve got it.

Do you have the maturity and independence to follow a project to completion? Can you motivate and lead a group of your peers? Do you genuinely care about the company’s values and goals? Are you the type to be sensitive to the needs of a troubled co-worker? Can you control your anger when a supervisor is rude to you?


action, intention, purpose

Yesterday Max was having one of his usual tiffs with his sister — she wasn’t paying attention to him and so he went an took one of her crayons or something. It escalated and he came crying into my office. As I was asking him about the incident, I noticed I was using our EQ model as a coaching process:

Know Yourself — identify emotions and behaviors: What happened? What did you do?

Choose Yourself — identify intentions and the (mis)match between action and intention: How did you want Emma to respond? What did you want from Emma? What actually happened?

Give Yourself — clarify the need to change by assessing the intention against your larger purpose: Is that the kind of friend you really want to be? Were you making the world a kinder place?