Are you emotionally intelligent?

My friend Bryan McMurry wrote the following as part of a series of messages for Cargill Animal Nutrition’s Green Book, which contains their principles of how to manage their business. I thought it was something all of us could benefit from so I asked if I could share it with my readers. He graciously agreed so here it is:

Emotional Intelligence
By Bryan McMurry

“Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom.
― Lao Tzu

Arguably, the most valuable trait one can possess is what psychologists refer to as emotional intelligence. Daniel Goleman raised public awareness of the importance of emotional intelligence in managing relationships, building teams and improving organizational effectiveness when he authored the book Emotional Intelligence in 1995. He defines emotional intelligence as, “The capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships.”

The increasing complexity of Cargill’s business requires improved collaboration and greater networking, making emotional intelligence increasingly important.

Building trust and managing relationships are fundamental for success. Emotional intelligence focuses on building the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are more capable of building an environment of trust and demonstrating “Level 5” leadership, as described in the book Good to Great.

Howard Gardner, in his book Changing Minds, considers emotional intelligence as a group of personal intelligences that, “involves knowing human beings.” He states that we use interpersonal intelligence to distinguish persons, determine their motivations and work effectively with them. Complimentary is intrapersonal intelligence, which is directed inward. Having intrapersonal intelligence means one possess a good working model of one self, indentifying personal feelings, fears, strengths and weaknesses, and uses that model to make sound decisions. We often refer to this as self-knowledge or self-awareness.

Self-awareness means knowing how others perceive us. We are not who we think we are, to the world we are who others think we are. The differences or gap between who we think we are and how others perceive who we are measures our level of self-awareness. Effective behavioral coaching is about helping a team mate narrow the gap between how others see him behaving and how that person sees them behaving. A lack of self-awareness often manifests itself in denial of the behavior or a rationalization of it. The best coaches possess a high level of self-awareness; those lacking self-awareness are generally marginal coaches and are often virtually uncoachable themselves.

During the process of learning about ourselves through understanding other’s perceptions of us, we gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of others, and a deep knowledge of others is paramount to building trust and high performing teams. A keen sense of self is another level of consciousness to which all should aspire.

“Letting go of who I think I am, and embracing who others think I am, is the secret to being who I can be.”

Bryan McMurry, PhD is Business Development Manager for the Pacific Southwest Region of Cargill Animal Nutrition. They are in business for the purpose of nourishing animals through successful partnerships.

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