Self-Assessment Paper

Open the file (Self-Assessment Paper Instructions) for instructions YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW IT the write 8 full pages NO less than that and take a look at the rubric this worth 100 points DO NOT TAKE THE ASSIGNMENT IF YOU WON’T FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS OR YOU won’t WRITE 8 FULL PAGES.

Self-Assessment Paper (100 points): Report student’s current skill-set (strengths and weaknesses) within the four domains and 18 competencies of emotional intelligence by analyzing your Emotional Intelligence Appraisal. (8-10 page paper of synthesized work with at least 3 references).

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Papers must include the following 4 EI domain headings and competency subheadings. For a review of the domains and competencies revisit your reading assignment from week 1 on pages 253-256 of the Primal Leadership textbook.  APA format is required.

1) Self-Awareness
    a) Emotional self-awareness
    b) Accurate self-assessment
    c) Self-confidence
2) Self-Management
    a) Self-control
    b) Transparency
    c) Adaptability
    d) Achievement
    e) Initiative
    f) Optimism
3) Social Awareness
    a) Empathy
    b) Organizational awareness
    c) Service
4) Relationship Management
    a) Inspiration
    b) Influence
    c) Developing others
    d) Change catalyst
    e) Conflict management
    f) Teamwork and collaboration

Please see the attached rubric as a guideline and reference. Save your work in Word or PDF. Submit it via the submission link. Your work will be checked for originality and plagiarism detection.

Self-Assessment Paper Rubric

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

“All sentient beings possess awareness, but among them human

beings possess great intelligence. Subject to a constant stream of
positive and negative thoughts and emotions, what distinguishes
us as human beings is that we are capable of positive change.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 succinctly explains how to deal with
emotions creatively and employ our intelligence in a benefi cial

—the Dalai Lama

“A fast read with compelling anecdotes and good context in
which to understand and improve your score.”


“Surveys of 500,000 people on the role of emotions in daily life
have enabled the authors to hone EQ assessment to a 28-ques-
tion online survey that can be completed in seven minutes.”

—The Washington Post

“Read worthy strategies for improving emotional intelligence
skills make this our how- to book of the week. It’s nice to know
that average IQ doesn’t limit a person to average performance.
And who can resist an online quiz with instant feedback?”


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“This book gives abundant, practical fi ndings and insights with
emphasis on how to develop EQ. Research shows convincingly
that EQ is more important than IQ in almost every role and
many times more important in leadership roles.”

—Stephen R. Covey, author of the perennial bestseller,
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

“Emotional intelligence is an extremely important skill to have
for personal and professional success. This book is excellent and
the learning included in the free online test is cutting- edge. I
strongly recommend it.”

—Ken Blanchard, bestselling business book author of
all time; coauthor The One Minute Manager®

“My clients tend to be very successful and incredibly busy. This
book delivers valuable insights without wasting time! My coaches
and I have done powerful work aided by this book and the emo-
tional intelligence test that comes with it. A fantastic combina-
tion for learning the skills that are critical to high job

—Marshall Goldsmith, bestselling author of
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, and
premier executive educator as ranked by
The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, The Harvard Business Review,
and Fast Company

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“At last a book that gives how to’s rather than just what to’s. We
need no more convincing that emotional intelligence is at the
core of life success. What we need are practical ways of improv-
ing it. Bradberry and Greaves’ brilliant new book is a godsend.
It will change your life.”

—Joseph Grenny, New York Times bestselling coauthor of,
Crucial Conversations

“This book is fi lled with wisdom, inspiration, and practical ad-
vice, rooted in groundbreaking research. The authors’ positive
strategies are immensely powerful and will change the way you
look at your life, your work, and the world.”

—Captain D. Michael Abrashoff,
author of the bestseller It’s Your Ship

“If you’re wondering why your career is stalled or plateaued—or
if you simply want to get on the fast track to the next level—this
book is a must- read. Emotional intelligence is the sine qua non
of success at work and this book gives you a quick- start to devel-
oping critical skills and behaviors to complement your technical

—Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D., New York Times bestselling author,
Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

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“This book is a wake- up call for anyone who wants to dramati-
cally improve their work life and strengthen their relationships.
Drs. Bradberry and Greaves offer powerful research, practical
strategies, and fascinating stories that will transform the way we
think about ourselves and how we interact with those we care
about the most.”

—Jim Loehr, New York Times bestselling author,
The Power of Full Engagement

“I distributed the book to my entire team. We found it very
helpful in our dealings with each other and our internal custom-
ers. With all the new buzzwords over the past few years, the heart
and soul of a company’s culture is how they support and promote
emotional intelligence. Those with foresight see that emotional
intelligence will separate the good companies from the great
ones. This book is a wonderful tool for a grass-roots approach.
If your desire is to be a truly resonant leader that people will trust
and follow, this is an opportunity that cannot only change your
professional career, but also your personal relationships.”

—Regina Sacha, vice president, human resources,
FedEx Custom Critical

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“In the fast lane of business life today, people spend more time
on computer keyboards, BlackBerries and conference calls than
they do in face- to- face communication. We’re expected to piece
together broken conversations, cryptic voicemails, and abbrevi-
ated text messages to fi gure out how to proceed. In this increas-
ingly complex web, emotional intelligence is more important
than ever before. This book is fi lled with invaluable insights and
information that no one can afford to ignore.”

—Rajeev Peshawaria, executive director,
Goldman Sachs International

“Drs. Bradberry and Greaves have created a gem that is powerful
and easy to read. This book provides a captivating look at the
things that matter most in life. Succeeding in Hollywood is as
tough as any business, and emotional intelligence skills are es-
sential. I highly recommend this book.”

—Matt Olmstead, executive producer, Prison Break and NYPD Blue

“This is a wonderful, practical, helpful book full of tools and
techniques you can use to get along better with all the people in
your life.”

—Brian Tracy, bestselling author, Eat That Frog

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“Drs. Bradberry and Greaves have succeeded in creating a practi-
cal summary of emotional intelligence. Without being simplistic,
this book is accessible to managers and employees who need a
quick yet sophisticated understanding of the topic. This book
and TalentSmart® e- learning are important components of
Nokia’s management and employee development programs.”

—Jennifer Tsoulos, M.S., human resources, Nokia Mobile Phon


“Whip out your pen and get ready to take copious notes. This
wonderful gem of a book is chock- a- block full of invaluable in-
sights and incredibly useful suggestions—backed by strong sci-
entifi c evidence. Word for word this is the most precious book
I’ve read in a long time. I will give it to all my friends and clients
as the one ‘must read’ for the season.”

—Jim Belasco, New York Times bestselling coauthor,
Flight of the Buffalo

“This book is a great resource for those of us charged with pro-
viding emergency services to the public. Through the simple and
effective steps outlined in the book, I was able to learn and sub-
sequently put into practice the emotional intelligence skills nec-
essary to better relate to my customers during crisis situations.
This book is a tool most supervisors should fi nd useful in facili-
tating teamwork and promoting esprit de corps.”

—Dominick Arena, fire captain, City of Escondido,
California, Fire Department

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“Emotional intelligence is a critical determinant of a physician’s
ultimate success or failure. Drs. Bradberry and Greaves have hit
the bull’ s- eye with this timely research- based resource. I teach
emotional intelligence in our faculty development leadership
program, and I also mentor medical students. I can envision how
this book can be woven into the medical school curriculum.”

—Dixie Fisher, Ph.D., assistant professor of clinical,
Keck School of Medicine, USC

“Success in my business is quantifi able and backing highly effec-
tive CEOs in our portfolio companies has been the key. There is
no doubt in my mind that this book hits the nail on the head.
Emotional intelligence in an individual determines the outcome
more than any other factor, and is the one least understood. This
book is a ‘must read’ for managers to gain insight and create a
plan to improve their effectiveness as well as the success of the

—Rick Hoskins, managing director, Genstar Capital, LLC

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11526 Sorrento Valley Road
San Diego, CA 9212


For information regarding special discounts for bulk purchases,
contact TalentSmart® at:

888-818-SMART (toll free, US & Canada callers) or 858-509-058


Visit us on the web at

Copyright © 2009 by TalentSmart®

Copyright © 2009 by Travis Bradberry, Ph.D., and Jean Greaves, Ph.D.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in
any form.

ISBN: 978-0-9743206-2-


First Printing: 2009

TalentSmart®, Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®, Emotional Intelligence 2.0,
Emotional Intelligence Quick Book, Goal Tracking System, and the fl ying
man logo are trademarks of TalentSmart®, Inc., San Diego, CA.

The Emotional Intelligence Appraisal® items, feedback report, and e- learning
are protected by copyright of TalentSmart®, Inc., 2001-2009. All rights

Printed and assembled in the United States of America. Illustrations by

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To the loyal TalentSmart® certifi ed trainers and
all who’ve attended their sessions.

Your passion is the breath of life for this book.

The following individuals made

signifi cant contributions to this book.

Sue DeLazaro, M.S.

Melissa Monday, Ph.D.

Jean Riley, Ph.D. ABD

Lac D. Su, Ph.D. ABD

Nick Tasler, M.S.

Eric Thomas, MBA, M.S.

Lindsey Zan, M.S.

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Foreword by Patrick Lencioni xv

1. The Journey 1

2. The Big Picture 1


3. What Emotional Intelligence Looks Like:
Understanding the Four Skills 23

4. Digging In: An Action Plan to Increase
Your EQ 51

5. Self- Awareness Strategies 61

6. Self- Management Strategies 9


7. Social Awareness Strategies 135

8. Relationship Management Strategies 177

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Epilogue—Just the Facts: A Look at the Latest
Discoveries in Emotional Intelligence 225

Discussion Questions for Reading Groups 247

Notes 251

Learn More 257

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Not education. Not experience. Not knowledge or intel-lectual horsepower. None of these serve as an adequate
predictor as to why one person succeeds and another

doesn’t. There is something else going on that society doesn’t

seem to account for.

We see examples of this every day in our workplaces,

our homes, our churches, our schools and our neighbor-

hoods. We observe supposedly brilliant and well- educated

people struggle, while others with fewer obvious skills or

attributes fl ourish. And we ask ourselves why?

The answer almost always has to do with this concept

called emotional intelligence. And while it is harder to

identify and measure than IQ or experience, and certainly

diffi cult to capture on a resume, it’s power cannot be


And by now, it’s not exactly a secret. People have been

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talking about emotional intelligence for a while, but some-

how they haven’t been able to harness its power. After all,

as a society we continue to focus most of our self- improvement

energy in the pursuit of knowledge, experience, intelli-

gence and education. This would be fi ne if we could hon-

estly say we had a full understanding of our emotions, not

to mention the emotions of others, and an understanding

of how our emotions infl uence our lives so fundamentally

every day.

I think the reason for this gap between the popularity

of emotional intelligence as a concept and its application in

society is twofold. First, people just don’t understand it.

They often mistake emotional intelligence for a form of

charisma or gregariousness. Second, they don’t see it as

something that can be improved. Either you have it or you


And that’s why this is such a helpful book. By under-

standing what emotional intelligence really is and how we

can manage it in our lives, we can begin to leverage all of

that intelligence, education and experience we’ve been stor-

ing up for all these years.

So, whether you’ve been wondering about emotional

intelligence for years or know nothing about it, this book

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can drastically change the way you think about success. You

might want to read it twice.

Patrick Lencioni

author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team;

president of the Table Group

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The warm California sun greeted Butch Connor as he stepped out of his truck and onto the sands of Salmon
Creek Beach. It was the fi rst day of a long holiday weekend,

and a perfect morning to grab his board and head out for

a surf. Most of the other local surfers had the same idea that

morning, and after 30 minutes or so, Butch decided to

leave the crowd behind. He penetrated the water’s surface

with long, deep strokes that propelled him away from the

pack and over to a stretch of beach where he could catch a

few waves away from the crowd.

Once Butch had paddled a good 40 yards away from

the other surfers, he sat up on his board and bobbed up and

down in the rolling swells while he waited for a wave that

caught his fancy. A beautiful teal wave began to crest as it

approached the shoreline, and as Butch lay down on his

board to catch the wave, a loud splash behind him stole his

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attention. Butch glanced over his right shoulder and froze

in horror at the sight of a 14-inch, gray dorsal fi n cutting

through the water toward him. Butch’s muscles locked up,

and he lay there in a panic, gasping for air. He became

hyper- focused on his surroundings; he could hear his heart

pounding as he watched the sun glistening on the fi n’s



The approaching wave stood tall to reveal Butch’s worst

nightmare in the shimmering, translucent surface—a mas-

sive great white shark that stretched 14 feet from nose to

tail. Paralyzed by the fear coursing through his veins, Butch

let the wave roll past, and with

it a speedy ride to the safety of

the shoreline. It was just the

shark and him now; it swam in

a semi- circle and approached

him head-on. The shark drifted

in slowly along his left side, and

he was too transfi xed by the

proximity of the massive fi sh to

notice his left leg dangling perilously off his surfboard in

the frigid saltwater. It’s as big around as my Volkswagen,

Butch thought as the dorsal fi n approached. He felt the

The approaching wave
stood tall to reveal
Butch’s worst
nightmare in the
translucent surface—a
massive great white
shark that stretched 14
feet from nose to tail.

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sudden urge to reach out and touch the shark. It’s going to

kill me anyway. Why shouldn’t I touch it?

The shark didn’t give him a chance. The shark, with a

massive chomp of its jaws, thrust its head upward from

underneath Butch’s leg. Butch’s leg stayed on top of the

shark’s rising, boulder- sized head and out of its cavernous

mouth, and he fell off the opposite side of his surfboard

into the murky water. Butch splashing into the water sent

the shark into a spastic frenzy. The shark waved its head

about maniacally while snapping its jaws open and shut.

The great white struck nothing; it blasted water in all direc-

tions as it thrashed about. The irony of fl oating alongside

a 3,000-pound killing machine without so much as a

scratch was not lost on Butch. Neither was the grave reality

that this apex predator was unlikely to miss again. Thoughts

of escape and survival fl ooded Butch’s mind as quickly and

completely as terror had in the moments prior.

The shark stopped snapping and swam around Butch

in tight circles. Instead of climbing back on his surfboard,

Butch fl oated on his belly with his arms draped over the

board. He rotated the surfboard as the shark circled, using

the surfboard as a makeshift barrier between himself and

the man- eater. Butch’s fear morphed into anger as he waited

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for the beast to strike. The shark came at him again, and

Butch decided it was time to put up a fi ght. He aimed the

sharp, pointed nose of his surfboard at the shark as it ap-

proached. When it raised its head out of the water to bite,

Butch jammed the nose of the board into the shark’s slotted

gills. This blow sent the shark into another bout of nervous

thrashing. Butch climbed atop his board and yelled,

“Shark!” at the pack of surfers down the beach. Butch’s

warning and the sight of the turbulent cauldron of white-

water around him sent the surfers racing for dry land.

Butch also paddled toward safety, but the shark stopped

him dead in his tracks after just a few strokes. It surfaced in

his path to the shoreline, and then began circling him once

more. Butch came to the dire conclusion that his evasive

tactics were merely delaying the inevitable, and a paralyzing

fear took hold of him yet again. Butch lay there trembling

on his surfboard while the shark circled. He mustered the

will to keep the tip of his board pointed in the shark’s direc-

tion, but he was too terror- stricken to get back in the water

and use his board as a barrier.

Butch’s thoughts raced between terror and sadness. He

wondered what his three children were going to do without

him and how long his girlfriend would take to move on

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with her life. He wanted to live. He wanted to escape this

monster, and he needed to calm down if that was ever going

to happen. Butch convinced himself that the shark could

sense his fear like a rabid dog; he decided that he must get

hold of himself because it was his fear that was motivating

the shark to strike. To Butch’s surprise, his body listened.

The trembling subsided, and the blood returned to his arms

and legs. He felt strong. He was ready to paddle. And pad-

dle Butch did—straight for the shoreline. A healthy rip

current ensured that his journey to shore was a nerve- rattling

fi ve minutes of paddling like mad with the sense that the

shark was somewhere behind him and could strike at any

moment. When Butch made it to the beach, an awestruck

group of surfers and other beachgoers were waiting for him.

The surfers thanked him profusely for the warning and

patted him on the back. For Butch Connor, standing on

dry land had never felt so good.


Butch and the great white weren’t fi ghting the only battle

in the water that morning. Deep inside Butch’s brain, his

reason struggled for control of his behavior against an on-

slaught of intense emotions. The bulk of the time,

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his feelings won out, which was mostly to his detriment

(paralyzing fear) but at times a benefi t (the anger- fueled jab

of his surfboard). With great effort, Butch was able to calm

himself down, and—realizing the shark wasn’t going away—

make the risky paddle for shore that saved his life. Though

most of us will never have to tussle with a great white shark,

our brains battle it out like Butch’s every single day.

The daily challenge of dealing effectively with emotions

is critical to the human condition because our brains are

hard- wired to give emotions the upper hand. Here’s how it

works: everything you see, smell, hear, taste and touch trav-

els through your body in the form of electric signals. These

signals pass from cell to cell until they reach their ultimate

destination, your brain. They enter your brain at the base

near the spinal cord, but must travel to your frontal lobe

(behind your forehead) before reaching the place where ra-

tional, logical thinking takes place. The trouble is, they pass

through your limbic system along the way—the place where

emotions are produced. This journey ensures you experience

things emotionally before your reason can kick into gear.

The rational area of your brain (the front of your brain)

can’t stop the emotion “felt” by your limbic system, but the

two areas do infl uence each other and maintain constant

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communication. The communication between your emo-

tional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emo-

tional intelligence.

When emotional intelligence was fi rst discovered, it

served as the missing link in a peculiar fi nding: people with

the highest levels of intelligence (IQ) outperform those

with average IQs just 20 percent of the time, while people

with average IQs outperform those with high IQs 70

The physical pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the
spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of
your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. But fi rst
they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are expe-
rienced. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between
the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

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percent of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench

into what many people had always assumed was the source

of success—IQ. Scientists realized there must be another

variable that explained success above and beyond one’s IQ,

and years of research and countless studies pointed to emo-

tional intelligence (EQ) as the critical factor.

A Time magazine cover and hours of television coverage

introduced millions to EQ, and once people were exposed

to it, they wanted to know more. They wanted to know

how EQ worked and who had it. Most importantly, people

wanted to know if they had it. Books emerged to scratch

this itch, including our own,

The Emotional Intelligence

Quick Book. Released in 2004,

the Quick Book was unique

(and still is) because each copy

contained a passcode that let

the reader go online and take

the world’s most popular EQ

test, the Emotional Intelligence

Appraisal ®. The book satisfi ed readers’ curiosity by teaching

the ins and outs of EQ and (thanks to the test) providing a

new self- perspective that wasn’t available anywhere else.

people with the highest
levels of intelligence
(IQ) outperform those
with average IQs just
20% of the time, while
people with average
IQs outperform those
with high IQs 70% of


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The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book hit home—it

was an instant best seller that has been translated into 23

languages and is now available in more than 150 countries.

But times have changed. The emotional intelligence fi eld is

on the steep incline of a new wave of understanding—how

people can improve their EQ and make lasting gains that

have a profoundly positive impact upon their lives. Just as

knowing your EQ score was reserved for the privileged few

before the publication of The Emotional Intelligence Quick

Book, learning how to increase your EQ is something that

happens only in isolated circles. Our company trains hun-

dreds of people each week to increase their EQ, but even at

this pace it would take 3,840 years to hit every adult in the

U.S.! We realize that we’ve unwittingly been holding im-

portant information back. We believe everyone should have

the opportunity to increase his or her EQ, and have created

this book to make it possible.


Emotional Intelligence 2.0 has one purpose—increasing

your EQ. These pages will take you far beyond knowing

what EQ is and how you score. You’ll discover time- tested

strategies that you can begin using today to take your EQ

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to new heights. As you transform yourself and bring new

skills into your life, you’ll reap all of the benefi ts that this

incredible human ability has to offer.

The 66 strategies in this book are the result of many

years of careful testing with people just like you. These

strategies provide the specifi cs of what you need to say, do,

and think to increase your EQ. To glean everything they

have to offer, you need to know where to focus your atten-

tion. The fi rst major step in your journey to a higher EQ is

to go online and take the new edition of the Emotional

Intelligence Appraisal ® test. Taking the test now provides a

baseline against which you can gauge your improvement as

you read on and learn. Measuring your EQ takes your

learning beyond a conceptual or motivational exercise—

your score profi le uncovers the EQ skills you need to im-

prove the most, and it pinpoints the individual strategies

from this book that will get you there. This feature is new

to 2.0, and it takes the guesswork out of choosing the strat-

egies that will increase your EQ the most.

The value of measuring your EQ now is akin to learn-

ing the waltz with an actual partner. If I tell you how the

dance works, you are likely to learn something and may

even get the urge to try it yourself. If, as I show you how to

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do a waltz, you practice each step with a partner, your

chances of remembering them later on the dance fl oor go

up exponentially. The EQ profi le you receive from taking

the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ® is your dance partner

in developing these skills. It will remind you where to step

with every beat of the music.

Your online report includes a goal- tracking system that

summarizes the skills you are working on and provides au-

tomatic reminders to help you stay focused. E- learning ac-

tivities bring EQ to life via clips from Hollywood movies,

television and real- world events. You will also learn how

your scores compare to other people’s. You will see what

percentage of the population you scored higher than and

how your scores compare to those of specifi c groups with

which you share certain characteristics. You can “ask” your

report to contrast your scores with others based on gender,

age, region of the world, job type and job title. For example,

you might discover how you compare to other women in

their forties who hold a marketing manager title at a com-

pany in North America.

In addition to receiving the most accurate scores pos-

sible, taking the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ® now lets

you see how much your EQ scores increase with time. You

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can take the test twice—once now and again after you’ve

had enough time to practice and adopt the strategies from

this book. After you complete the test a second time, your

updated feedback report will display your scores side by

side and offer insights into how you’ve changed and what

your next steps should be to keep your EQ working for

you. The orange insert at the back of this book contains

instructions for going online to access the Emotional Intel-

ligence Appraisal ®, as well as the unique passcode that you’ll

need to access the test.

Emotions can help you and they can hurt you, but you

have no say in the matter until you understand them. We

invite you to begin your journey now, because we know

that emotional mastery and understanding can become re-

alities for


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Before you take a closer look at each of the four EQ skills in the next chapter, there are some important
things you need to know about EQ as a whole. Over the

last decade we’ve tested more than 500,000 people to ex-

plore the role emotions play in daily living. We’ve learned

how people see themselves versus what others see, and we’ve

observed how various choices affect personal and profes-

sional success.

Despite the growing focus on EQ, a global defi cit in

understanding and managing emotions remains. Only 36

percent of the people we tested are able to accurately iden-

tify their emotions as they happen. This means that two

thirds of us are typically controlled by our emotions and are

not yet skilled at spotting them and using them to our

benefi t. Emotional awareness and understanding are not

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taught in school. We enter the workforce knowing how to

read, write, and report on bodies of knowledge, but too

often, we lack the skills to manage our emotions in the heat

of the challenging problems that we face. Good decisions

require far more than factual knowledge. They are made

using self- knowledge and emotional mastery when they’re

needed most.

Considering the range of emotions people express, it’s

no wonder they can get the better of us. We have so many

words to describe the feelings that surface in life, yet all

emotions are derivations of fi ve core feelings: happiness,

sadness, anger, fear, and shame. As you move through your

daily routine—whether you’re working, spending time with

family or friends, eating, exercising,

relaxing, or even sleeping—you are

subject to a constant stream of emo-

tions. It is so easy to forget that we

have emotional reactions to almost ev-

erything that happens in our lives,

whether we notice them or not. The

complexity of these emotions is revealed in their varying

forms of intensity.

Only 36 percent
of the people we
tested are able
to accurately
identify their
emotions as
they happen.

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Triggers and Emotional Hijackings

While Butch Connor was being attacked by a great white

shark, he experienced several emotional hijackings—mo-

ments when his emotions controlled his behavior and he

reacted without thinking. Typically, the more intense your

emotions are, the greater the likelihood that they will dic-

tate your actions. Matters of life or death—such as being

attacked by a massive beast—are certain to induce a tem-

porary emotional hijacking.

In Butch’s case, emotional hijackings left him paralyzed

by fear, but even in the presence of a man- eater, Butch was

able to use his thoughts to take back control from his emo-

tions. Butch reasoned with himself until the paralysis sub-

sided and he was calm enough to complete the paddle to

shore. Butch’s thoughts didn’t make his feelings of fear and

terror disappear, but they did keep his emotions from hi-

jacking his behavior.

Since our brains are wired to make us emotional crea-

tures, your fi rst reaction to an event is always going to be

an emotional one. You have no control over this part of the

process. You do control the thoughts that follow an emo-

tion, and you have a great deal of say in how you react to

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an emotion—as long as you are aware of it. Some experi-

ences produce emotions that you are easily aware of; other

times, emotions may seem nonexistent. When something

generates a prolonged emotional reaction in you, it’s called

a “trigger event.” Your reaction to your triggers is shaped by

your personal history, which includes your experience with

similar situations. As your EQ skills grow, you’ll learn to

spot your triggers and practice productive ways of respond-

ing that will become habitual.

Sizing Up the Whole Person

Emotional intelligence is your ability to recognize and un-

derstand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability

to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relation-

ships. Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of

us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behav-

ior, navigate social complexities, and make personal deci-

sions that achieve positive results.

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element

of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect.

There is no known connection between IQ and EQ; you

simply can’t predict EQ based on how smart someone is.

Cognitive intelligence, or IQ, is not fl exible. Your IQ, short

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of a traumatic event such as a brain injury, is fi xed from

birth. You don’t get smarter by learning new facts or infor-

mation. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the

same at age 15 as it is at age 50. EQ, on the other hand, is

a fl exible skill that can be learned. While it is true that some

people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than oth-

ers, a high EQ can be developed even if you aren’t born

with it.

Personality is the fi nal piece in the puzzle. It’s the stable

“style” that defi nes each of us. Your personality is a result of

your preferences, such as your inclination to introversion

or extroversion. However, like IQ, personality can’t be used

to predict emotional intelligence. Also like IQ, personality

is stable over a lifetime. Personality traits appear early in

life, and they don’t go away. People often assume that cer-

tain traits (for example, extroversion) are associated with a

higher EQ, but those who prefer to be with other people

are no more emotionally intelligent than people who prefer

to be alone. You can use your personality to assist in devel-

oping your EQ, but the latter isn’t dependent on the for-

mer. EQ is a fl exible skill, while personality does not change.

IQ, EQ, and personality assessed together are the best way

to get a picture of the whole person. When you measure all

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three in a single individual, they don’t overlap much. In-

stead, each covers unique ground that helps to explain what

makes a person tick.

The Impact of EQ

How much of an impact does EQ have on your profes-

sional success? The short answer is: a lot! It’s a powerful way

IQ, personality, and EQ are distinct qualities we all possess. Together, they
determine how we think and act. It is impossible to predict one based upon
another. People may be intelligent but not emotionally intelligent, and people
of all types of personalities can be high in EQ and/or IQ. Of the three, EQ is
the only quality that is fl exible and able to


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to focus your energy in one direction with a tremendous re-

sult. We’ve tested EQ alongside 33 other important work-

place behaviors and found that it subsumes the majority of

them, including time management,

decision- making, and communica-

tion. Your EQ is the foundation for a

host of critical skills—it impacts most

everything you say and do each day.

EQ is so critical to success that it

EQ is so critical
to success that it
accounts for 58
percent of
performance in
all types of jobs.

EQ is the foundation for a host of critical skills. A little effort spent on increas-
ing your EQ tends to have a wide- ranging, positive impact on your life.

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accounts for 58 percent of performance in all types of jobs.

It’s the single biggest predictor of performance in the work-

place and the strongest driver of leadership and personal


No matter whether people measure high or low in EQ,

they can work to improve it, and those who score low can

actually catch up to their co workers. Research conducted at

the business school at the University of Queensland in

Australia discovered that people who are low in EQ and job

performance can match their colleagues who excel in

both—solely by working to improve their EQ.

Of all the people we’ve studied at work, we have found

that 90 percent of high performers are also high in EQ. On

the fl ip side, just 20 percent of low performers are high in

EQ. You can be a high performer without EQ, but the

chances are slim. People who develop their EQ tend to be

successful on the job because the two go hand in hand. Nat-

urally, people with high EQs

make more money—an average

of $29,000 more per year than

people with low EQs. The link

between EQ and earnings is so

direct that every point increase

The link between EQ
and earnings is so
direct that every point
increase in EQ adds
$1,300 to an annual

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in EQ adds $1,300 to an annual salary. These fi ndings hold

true for people in all industries, at all levels, in every region

of the world. We haven’t yet been able to fi nd a job in which

performance and pay aren’t tied closely to EQ.

In order to be successful and fulfi lled nowadays, you

must learn to maximize your EQ skills, for those who em-

ploy a unique blend of reason and feeling achieve the great-

est results. The remainder of this book will show you how

to make this happen.

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To truly improve your ability in the four emotional intel-ligence skills, you need to better understand each skill
and what it looks like in action. The four emotional intel-

ligence skills pair up under two

primary competencies: personal

competence and social compe-

tence. Personal competence is

made up of your self- awareness

and self- management skills,

which focus more on you indi-

vidually than on your interac-

tions with other people. Personal competence is your ability

to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior

and tendencies. Social competence is made up of your

To truly improve your
ability in the four
emotional intelligence
skills, you need to
better understand each
skill and what it looks
like in action.

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social awareness and relationship management skills; social

competence is your ability to understand other people’s

moods, behavior and motives in order to improve the qual-

ity of your re


Self- Awareness

Self- awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your

own emotions in the moment and understand your tenden-

cies across situations. Self- awareness includes staying on top

of your typical reactions to specifi c events, challenges, and

people. A keen understanding of your tendencies is impor-

tant; it helps you quickly make sense of your emotions. A

The four skills that together make up emotional intelligence. The top two
skills, self- awareness and self- management, are more about you. The bot-
tom two skills, social awareness and relationship management, are more
about how you are with other


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high degree of self- awareness requires a willingness to toler-

ate the discomfort of focusing on feelings that may be


The only way to genuinely understand your emotions

is to spend enough time thinking through them to fi gure

out where they come from and why they are there. Emo-

tions always serve a purpose. Because they are reactions to

your life experience, emotions always come from some-

where. Many times emotions seem to arise out of thin air,

and it’s important to understand why something gets a re-

action out of you. People who do this can cut to the core

of a feeling quickly. Situations that create strong emotions

will always require more thought, and these prolonged pe-

riods of self- refl ection often keep you from doing some-

thing that you’ll regret.

Self- awareness is not about discovering deep, dark se-

crets or unconscious motivations, but, rather, it comes from

developing a straightforward and honest understanding of

what makes you tick. People high in self- awareness are re-

markably clear in their understanding of what they do well,

what motivates and satisfi es them, and which people and

situations push their buttons.

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The surprising thing about self- awareness is that just

thinking about it helps you improve the skill, even though

much of your focus initially tends to be on what you do

“wrong.” Having self- awareness means you aren’t afraid of

your emotional “mistakes.” They tell you what you should

be doing differently and provide the steady stream of infor-

mation you need to understand as your

life unfolds.

Self- awareness is a foundational skill; when you have it,

self- awareness makes the other emotional intelligence skills

much easier to use. As self- awareness increases, people’s sat-

isfaction with life—defi ned as their ability to reach their

goals at work and at home—skyrockets. Self- awareness is

so important for job performance that 83 percent of people

high in self- awareness are top performers, and just 2 per-

cent of bottom performers are high in self- awareness. Why

is this so? When you are self- aware you are far more likely

to pursue the right opportunities, put your strengths to

work and—perhaps most importantly—keep your emo-

tions from holding you back.

The need for self- awareness has never been greater.

Guided by the mistaken notion that psychology deals ex-

clusively with pathology, we assume that the only time to

learn about ourselves is in the face of crisis. We tend to

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embrace those things with which we’re comfortable, and

put the blinders on the moment something makes us un-

comfortable. But it’s really the whole picture that serves us.

The more we understand the beauty and the blemishes, the

better we are able to achieve our full potential.

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What Self- Awareness Looks Like

Dave T., regional service manager
Self- awareness score = 95*

What people who work with him say:
“Dave has clear long- term goals, and he doesn’t make sacrifi ces
for short- term gains. Dave is an ‘ up- front’ kind of guy who
doesn’t play ‘mind games’ with people. I have witnessed this at
company meetings and in meetings with customers.”

“The best example I can provide for Dave is his move to our
company. I’m sure there was an intense desire to make changes
within the local team right out of the gate, but Dave took extra
care to diagnose the situation, the team, and the customer prior
to offering suggestions or mandates for change.”

“In short, Dave manages his emotions; they don’t manage him.
I’ve seen him accept diffi cult business news with a brief frown,
and then he quickly moves beyond that and partners with his
team to fi nd solutions to improve the situation.”

*Scores are on the 1- to 100-point scale from the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal®. Scores
and coworker comments are from actual people, though names and other identifying
information have been altered.

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Maria M., human resources manager
Self- awareness score = 90

What people who work with her say:
“In every situation that I have been involved with, good or bad,
Maria has always remained calm, cool, and collected—even at
times when I know she must have felt frustrated or angry. Maria
is really honest about what she is feeling without getting bent out
of shape about it. When faced with a diffi cult situation, she
knows how to be fi rm and still kind at the same time.”

“She is open and authentic at all times, and it is so meaningful
to everyone that she interacts with. I would suggest that Maria
not change: however, she can get a bit tougher sooner in some
cases. She is aware of this and watches to ensure that she does
not let kindness get in the way.”

“During challenging situations with employees, Maria is very
aware of her tone and makes an effort to keep the conversation
appropriate. People here trust her.”

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What a Lack of Self- Awareness
Looks Like

Tina J., marketing manager
Self- awareness score = 69

What people who work with her say:
“On occasion, Tina’s stress and sense of urgency are projected/
pushed on to other people. It would be good for her to better
understand how her behavior affects others’ work and emotional
stress. Also, she sometimes comes across as defensive or aggres-
sive, so for her to be more aware of her tone and language would
be helpful.”

“When things are going well for Tina, her emotional intelligence
skills are stronger. She needs to learn to read herself and recog-
nize her triggers so that she can respond more effectively when

“She needs to become aware of how she is perceived. She can
come across as being very demanding, but I don’t believe she
means to.”

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Giles B., operations direct


Self- awareness score = 67

What people who work with him say:
“Giles is very much in his ‘own little world.’ He obviously does
care about his coworkers, but he doesn’t seem to know where to
draw a line. His personality can be overwhelming, but he doesn’t
notice when the other person is feeling annoyed, frustrated, or
overwhelmed by him.”

“When working with customers, he is very good at talking about
the products and services we offer. On group projects, sometimes
he gets so focused on the outcome, the process is missed. If he
were to take a moment and let all the emotions settle, then take
a look at the options to reach the desired outcome, things would
go more smoothly.”

“Giles is passionate about what he does. Sometimes that passion
gets in the way. He might not notice that I am busy with some-
thing else before he jumps in and starts talking to me. When he
is excited, he talks over you, and it is hard to get a word in edge-
wise. He doesn’t mean to; he just is excited about what he

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Self- Management

Self- management is what happens when you act—or do

not act. It is dependent on your self- awareness and is the

second major part of personal competence. Self- management

is your ability to use your awareness of your emotions to

stay fl exible and direct your behavior positively. This means

managing your emotional reactions to situations and peo-

ple. Some emotions create a paralyzing fear that makes your

thinking so cloudy that the best course of action is nowhere

to be found—assuming that there is something you should

be doing. In these cases, self- management is revealed by

your ability to tolerate the uncertainty as you explore your

emotions and options. Once you understand and build

comfort with what you are feeling, the best course of action

will show itself.

Self- management is more than resisting explosive or

problematic behavior. The biggest challenge that people

face is managing their tendencies over time and applying

their skills in a variety of situations. Obvious and momen-

tary opportunities for self- control (i.e., “I’m so mad at that

darn dog!”) are the easiest to spot and manage. Real results

come from putting your momentary needs on hold to

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pursue larger, more important

goals. The realization of such

goals is often delayed, meaning

that your commitment to

self- management will be tested

over and over again. Those who

manage themselves the best are able to see things through

without cracking. Success comes to those who can put their

needs on hold and continually manage their tendencies.

Real results come from
putting your
momentary needs on
hold to pursue larger,
more important goals.

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What Self- Management Looks Like

Lane L., healthcare administrator
Self- management score = 93

What people who work with her say:
“Lane is the epitome of patience and understanding during
heated, emotionally- charged meetings. Others around her be-
come fully embroiled in the discussions, and Lane actively listens
and responds with knowledge and wisdom.”

“I have seen fi rst- hand how well she deals with diffi cult situations
(i.e., termination of an employee). Lane is sensitive, yet direct
and to the point. She listens patiently and sets a high standard
of conduct.”

“Lane is great one- on- one. She communicates well and thinks
on her feet. Her reaction to crisis is excellent. Her ability to
separate emotion from logic makes her a good tactical manager.
I wish there were many more of her.”

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Yeshe M., computer programmer
Self- management score = 91

What people who work with him say:
“Yeshe handles stressful and confrontational situations very well.
No matter how harshly project managers (PMs) hammer Yeshe,
he never loses his cool! This gives him a lot of credibility with
the PMs. He’s also able to work with other people whose work-
ing style he isn’t a fan of. I know going back and forth with them
can be frustrating sometimes, but Yeshe never loses his pa-

“I’ve seen Yeshe in an extremely frustrating situation where he
couldn’t get something done because other people didn’t do their
jobs. He dealt with it politely and professionally. He was able to
explain the procedure again in order to achieve the best possible
solution, even though he was upset.”

“I have never heard Yeshe speak negatively about someone who
has a different opinion or idea. A lot of talking behind people’s
backs happens around here, and he doesn’t give into the tempta-
tion, even when he feels strongly about an issue.”

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What a Lack of Self- Management
Looks Like

Jason L., information technology consultant
Self- management score = 59

What people who work with him say:
“In stressful situations, or when something goes wrong, Jason
sometimes responds too quickly, sharply, or disjointedly. I wish
Jason would take some time to cool off and slow down before
responding. He’s so emotional. I have seen his coworkers respond
in disbelief to the manner in which he communicated with them.
Jason means well but can panic when he is stressed. His reactions
trickle onto his teammates.”

“Jason should be more aware of his verbal outbursts, and how
they affect both clients and coworkers. He is not mean- spirited;
he cares a great deal about others but these verbal miscues are just
that—outbursts that need to be thought out before expressed.
These happen more when he is stressed . . . as the old commercial
says, he shouldn’t let them see him sweat so much.”

“Jason lets his emotions rule his behavior. Sometimes he acts or
speaks hurriedly. I wish he would be a bit more patient and give
the situation an opportunity to work itself out before reacting.
Many times these situations resolve themselves or aren’t quite as
urgent as he perceives, but before you know it, he’s heightened
the intensity with a fl urry of messages.”

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Mei S., regional sales director
Self- management score = 61

What people who work with her say:
“Mei needs to not be so honest. Her staff don’t need to know
about all of the bull that goes down at corporate. If certain things
upset her, she needs to learn to keep them to herself. When she
is unhappy, it sets the tone for our team. Mei tends to radiate
stress in certain situations, and as a leader, it impacts her team
negatively by creating stress and negativity rather than diffusing

“Mei has a hard time congratulating staff for their accomplish-
ments, and it comes across as jealousy. It feels like I am in com-
petition with her rather than feeling like she wants me to succeed.
I think Mei is a great sales professional, and she treats clients
well. I wish she would give her employees the same treatment.”

“Mei needs to be proactive instead of reactive. In times of crisis,
she shouldn’t reveal to everyone how stressed she is. She’s so fo-
cused and driven to personally succeed that perhaps she takes on
too much herself. She has a demanding workload managing the
West Coast Team, but she needs to hold her emotions back when
people vent about their own problems in meetings.”

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Social Awareness

As the fi rst component of social competence, social aware-

ness is a foundational skill. Social awareness is your ability

to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and un-

derstand what is really going on with them. This often

means perceiving what other people are thinking and feel-

ing even if you do not feel the same way. It’s easy to get

caught up in your own emotions and forget to consider the

perspective of the other party. Social awareness ensures you

stay focused and absorb critical information.

Listening and observing are the most important ele-

ments of social awareness. To listen well and observe what’s

going on around us, we have to stop doing many things we

like to do. We have to stop talking, stop the monologue

that may be running through our minds, stop anticipating

the point the other person is about to make, and stop think-

ing ahead to what we are going to say next. It takes practice

to really watch people as you interact with them and get a

good sense of what they are thinking and feeling. At times,

you’ll feel like an anthropologist. Anthropologists make

their living watching others in their natural state without

letting their own thoughts and feelings disturb the

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observation. This is social awareness in its purest form. The

difference is you won’t be 100 yards away watching events

unfold through a pair of binoculars. To be socially aware,

you have to spot and understand people’s emotions while

you’re right there in the middle of it—a contributing, yet

astutely aware, member of the interaction.

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What Social Awareness Looks Like

Alfonso J., pharmaceutical sales manager
Social awareness score = 9


What people who work with him say:
“Alfonso has a rare talent to be able to read the emotions of oth-
ers very well. He adjusts to different situations and manages to
build relationships with almost anyone. Good examples are din-
ners, meetings, and ride- alongs with reps.”

“Alfonso does an excellent job relating to the frustrations reps
have with other departments within our company. He is always
looking out for his reps, and has the ability to put himself in the
reps’ shoes, and ask himself what is wrong with the situation.
People become very loyal to Alfonso.”

“Alfonso recognizes emotions very effectively when it comes to
the end- of- month numbers and end- of- year numbers with his
reps, getting the most out of his team. He was great at building
relationships with the surgeons at the dinner table because he
could read how to lead the conversation without them feeling
like they were being controlled.”

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Maya S., organizational development executive
Social awareness score = 92

What people who work with her say:
“Maya has an uncanny ability to spot and address the elephant
in the room. She does a good job acknowledging other people’s
feelings when communicating diffi cult news. She refl ects how
others are feeling, and adapts her communication style to help
reach a resolution. She gets to know people on a personal level
so she can better understand their perspectives and work well
with them.”

“Maya is great in executive team meetings where she respectfully
listens to her peers and then offers her opinion. She has a sincere
interest in understanding people and offers them valuable in-
sights based on what they’re saying or doing. She is a good
team- builder who strengthens bonds within the team.”

“Maya is the most effective ‘active listener’ I have ever seen. She
is skilled at communicating the ‘context’ for her comments with
the goal of ensuring understanding. She is respectful toward oth-
ers while being able to establish her authority. Maya motivates
and inspires people. She can uplift people and put them at

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What a Lack of Social Awareness
Looks Like

Craig C., attorney
Social awareness score = 55

What people who work with him say:
“Craig needs to allow others to feel good about their ideas, even
when he has a better plan. He also needs to be more patient, and
allow them to have equally effective plans that are just different
from his plan. I would like him to seek to understand what people
are feeling and thinking and notice what evidence there is regard-
ing situations before speaking his opinion or offering solutions.”

“Craig needs to listen better. He needs to pay attention to what
is being said rather than thinking about what he wants to say. It
is usually apparent in his body language that he is not listening,
which puts people off. I also wish that he would be more accurate
when representing other people’s ideas.”

“Craig is not one to socialize. He is so focused on work and
sometimes comes across as not interested in what’s going on with
a person on that particular day. When he has new ideas (or ideas
from his former fi rm), he has a hard time explaining them so the
staff will accept them. Craig should learn to listen to others with
his ears and with his heart. He seems to have a ‘hardening of his
positions,’ and it makes him unwilling to accept other people’s
viewpoints or include their input in his decisions.”

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Rachel M., project manager
Social awareness score = 62

What people who work with her say:
“Rachel misses the non- technical currents in meetings. The
mood and evolution of opinions are lost on her. Rachel needs
to learn to absorb the non- technical, human side of meetings
and become a student of people and their feelings.”

“Rachel gets singularly focused on a particular issue and does not
see the forest for the trees. This can get frustrating for those of us
around her. She is typically oblivious to our reactions. She should
check with everyone around the table to calibrate where their
head is at before getting too enmeshed in the details of her project.
She would be better served by framing the topic in large chunks
rather than taking everyone through the details straight away.”

“Rachel can sometimes get so caught up in her own thoughts
during meetings and one- on- one conversations that she is not
really listening to either the explicit or implicit dialogue going
on. This makes her less effective because she is not actively par-
ticipating in the ongoing conversation and misses opportunities
to infl uence the direction. Rachel needs to work on considering
issues from the other person’s agenda or point of view so that she
can more effectively infl uence, or at least directly address, their
perspective. It will also help her to work on making her conver-
sations as concise and targeted as possible. People can lose inter-
est or get confused during long explanations, or when they are
unclear about the message.”

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Relationship Management

Though relationship management is the second compo-

nent of social competence, this skill often taps into your

abilities in the fi rst three emotional intelligence skills:

self- awareness, self- management, and social awareness. Re-

lationship management is your ability to use your aware-

ness of your own emotions and those of others to manage

interactions successfully. This ensures clear communication

and effective handling of confl ict. Relationship manage-

ment is also the bond you build with others over time.

People who manage relationships well are able to see the

benefi t of connecting with many different people, even

those they are not fond of. Solid relationships are some-

thing that should be sought and cherished. They are the

result of how you understand people, how you treat them,

and the history you share.

The weaker the connection you have with someone, the

harder it is to get your point across. If you want people to

listen, you have to practice relationship management and

seek benefi ts from every relationship, especially the chal-

lenging ones. The difference between an interaction and a

relationship is a matter of frequency. It’s a product of the

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quality, depth, and time you spend interacting with another


Relationship management poses the greatest challenge

for most people during times of stress. When you consider

that more than 70 percent of the people we’ve tested have

diffi culty handling stress, it’s easy to see why building qual-

ity relationships poses a challenge. Some of the most chal-

lenging and stressful situations people face are at work.

Confl icts at work tend to fester when people passively avoid

problems, because people lack the skills needed to initiate

a direct, yet constructive conversation. Confl icts at work

tend to explode when people don’t manage their anger or

frustration, and choose to take it out on other people. Re-

lationship management gives you the skills you need to

avoid both scenarios, and make the most out of every in-

teraction you have with another person.

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What Relationship Management Looks Like

Gail C., chief fi nancial offi cer
Relationship management score = 95

What people who work with her say:
“Gail has an innate ability to read people and their emotions,
and she uses what she learns to create a safe and inviting forum
for discussion. There has never been a time that Gail’s door was
not ‘open’ when I have needed her, and she always manages to
maintain a pleasant and professional manner even when her
workload is demanding. People know that they can count on
Gail and what they say to her in confi dence will be respected and
not repeated.”

“Gail is very sensitive to others and tries to make situations
better. When someone is upset, she asks just enough questions
to get a handle on the situation, and then is able to give con-
crete advice and help to the person, making them feel 100%
better. Gail makes you feel smart and confi dent when she deliv-
ers feedback, even if you’ve made a mistake. She helps her staff
improve and grow, and she sets a good example for dealing with
people assertively and speaking up.”

“Even during tough conversations, Gail is concerned about
maintaining good, comfortable relationships with all parties in-
volved. Gail fi nds out something about the other person’s inter-
ests and inquires about it when meeting, even if it appears there

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is no common ground. Gail has a fi rm handle on her own emo-
tions and almost seems to feel what you feel when she is talking
with you, which helps you feel like she relates to you and under-
stands you.”

Allister B., physician
Relationship management score = 93

What people who work with him say:
“Allister is a wonderfully patient, empathetic listener, which is
why his patients love him. He tries very hard to be nonjudgmen-
tal and gives people the benefi t of the doubt. He is the same way
with the nurses and technicians. I’ve seen Allister in situations
where his patients’ families were asking diffi cult questions, and
he was able to remain calm and answer without alienating the
family member asking the questions. He listens carefully to what
others say and never shows if he is upset or bothered by it. He
responds kindly but with authority.”

“Allister’s interaction skills are supreme. In situations that I’ve
witnessed him less than pleased with a specifi c outcome, he has
always expressed his position with thoughtful insight about his
expectations without anger or outburst. I’d describe him as di-
rect, yet free from confrontation or sounding out of control. He
is also quick to praise the staff ’s efforts and success when deserv-
ing. He is good at seeing the overall picture and then counseling
in a compassionate and realistic manner.”

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“I have never left Allister feeling anything less than 110%. He
knows when to approach an issue sensitively, and knows when
to give praise and encouragement. Allister knows his colleagues
very well, and this enables him to handle confl ict in a calm and
positive manner. He’s respected for collecting feedback before
drawing conclusions. He tries to fi nd the best way to communi-
cate with others, even when there’s an atmosphere of resistance,
confusion, or outright confl ict. His ability to empathize with
others is outstanding, and it creates positive, strong relation-

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What a Lack of Relationship Management
Looks Like

Dave M., sales manager
Relationship management score = 66

What people who work with him say:
“If Dave doesn’t see eye- to- eye with someone, he makes it appar-
ent that it’s not worth developing the relationship. I wish that he
would still dedicate the time and resources necessary to make a
win for the territory. When he feels that a certain person he is
working with may not be an ‘ally’ but someone not to be trusted,
he will be very clear about his opinion about that person. This
has a ripple effect on the people he tells, and it erodes camarade-
rie. Dave is usually effective when he gets to know people better,
and trusts that they are not a threat, but he’ll have to get over
this if he wants to keep climbing the ladder.”

“Dave can get over- excited when meeting new people and this
can be a good trait, but some people don’t respond to his enthu-
siasm, and they pull back from him. It makes it hard for them
to connect with him. I would like to see Dave work on unifying
his team, and dispel the feeling that some decisions are made
based on his personal opinion or bias. Too often, people feel as
if they’ve had their professional opinion ignored in spite of pro-
viding a solid foundation for that opinion.”

“Dave always reacts to people rather than responding to them.
To have a strong opinion is fi ne, but to dismiss others’ thoughts

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is not. He also needs to tailor his communication style to the
person. His approach is nearly always very direct, which can be
diffi cult for some people to handle.”

Natalie T., fl oor supervisor
Relationship management score = 69

What people who work with her say:
“Natalie often minimizes a person’s point of view or experience.
She justifi es bad situations by stating that it could always be
worse, you just don’t understand, or you should just get over it.
She comes across as blunt and not empathetic, particularly with
her subordinates. I want her to be more genuine in her interac-
tions with them, and show a general appreciation for others.”

“Natalie needs to stop fi nding faults in every situation. It is tiring
and de- motivating. She needs to start recognizing people’s
achievements. There is a stigma that exists that Natalie is tough,
diffi cult to work for, and unapproachable. She may achieve re-
sults, but at the expense of others.”

“I would like to see Natalie avoid making judgmental or negative
statements to her team, or others, when her statements add no
value. Helping people see what could be done different helps them
develop, but her continued negative feedback comes across as her
feeling the need to belittle people. People no longer value her
input, and at times view it as her need to be seen as superior.”

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Information travels between the rational and emotional centers of your brain much as cars do on a city street.
When you practice EQ skills, the traffi c fl ows smoothly in

both directions. Increases in the traffi c strengthen the con-

nection between the rational and emotional centers of your

brain. Your EQ is greatly affected by your ability to keep

this road well traveled. The more you think about what you

are feeling—and do something productive with that feel-

ing—the more developed this pathway becomes. Some of

us struggle along a two- lane country road, while others have

built a fi ve- lane superhighway. Whether the former or the

latter best describes you, there’s always room to add lanes.

“Plasticity” is the term neurologists use to describe the

brain’s ability to change. Your brain grows new connections

much as your biceps might swell if you started curling heavy

weights several times a week. The change is gradual, and

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the weight becomes easier and easier to lift the longer you

stick to your routine. Your brain can’t swell like your biceps

since it’s confi ned by your skull, so instead the brain cells

develop new connections to speed the effi ciency of thought

without increasing its size.

As you apply the strategies from the remaining chapters

to increase your EQ skills, the billions of microscopic neu-

rons lining the road between the rational and emotional

centers of your brain will branch off small “arms” (much

like a tree branch) to reach out to the other cells. A single

cell can grow 15,000 connections with its neighbors. This

chain reaction of growth ensures the pathway of thought

responsible for the behavior

grows strong, making it easier

to kick this new resource into

action in the future.

You’ll have to practice the

strategies repeatedly before

they’ll become your own. It can

require tremendous effort to

get a new behavior going, but

once you train your brain it be-

comes a habit. If you typically

A single cell can grow
15,000 connections
with its neighbors. This
chain reaction of
growth ensures the
pathway of thought
responsible for the
behavior grows strong,
making it easier to
kick this new resource
into action in the

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yell when you are feeling angry, for example, you have to

learn to choose an alternative reaction. You must practice

this new reaction many times before it will replace the urge

to yell. In the beginning, doing something other than yell-

ing when you are angry will be extremely diffi cult. But each

time you succeed, the new pathway is strengthened. Even-

tually the urge to yell is so small that it’s easy to ignore.

Studies have demonstrated a lasting change in EQ more

than six years after new skills were fi rst adopted.

The Emotional Intelligence Action Plan that follows

will help you to focus your efforts more effectively as you

explore and apply the EQ strategies in the remaining chap-

ters. Follow these steps to complete your Emotional Intel-

ligence Action Plan:

1. Transfer your Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ®

scores onto part one (My Journey Begins) of your

Emotional Intelligence Action Plan on page 56. Go

ahead and write right on the pages of this book.

2. Pick an EQ skill to work on. The human mind can

focus effectively on one EQ skill at a time. Even the

most ambitious people should trust that working dili-

gently on a single skill will take you far—your ability

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in other EQ skills will piggyback on your efforts. Your

feedback report from the Emotional Intelligence Ap-

praisal ® test recommends a skill for you to start with.

You may choose a skill on your own instead, but we

recommend you don’t start with relationship manage-

ment if you scored lower than 75 in all four EQ


3. Pick three strategies to begin using for your chosen

skill. Your feedback report from the Emotional Intelli-

gence Appraisal ® recommends specifi c strategies from

this book based on an analysis of your score profi le. Feel

free to choose from these recommendations, or choose

different strategies from the strategies chapter for your



4. Choose an EQ mentor. Find someone who is gifted in

your chosen EQ skill, and ask this person if he or she

is willing to offer you feedback and guidance at regular

intervals during your journey. Be certain to set up a

regular meeting time, and write this person’s name in

your action plan.

5. Keep the following in mind as you apply your cho-

sen strategies:

a. Expect success, not perfection. When it comes to

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developing new EQ skills, perfection means you

aren’t pushing yourself hard enough. You’ll need to

continue to catch yourself when your emotions get

the best of you, if you want to keep improving.

b. Practice, practice, practice. Sheer quantity of prac-

tice is the real secret to increasing your EQ skills.

Practice your EQ strategies as often as you can, in a

variety of situations, and with all types of people.

c. Be patient. When you work to improve your EQ, it

will take a few months to realize a lasting change.

Most people see measurable, enduring changes three

to six months after they begin working on a skill.

6. Measure your progress. Once you’ve made suffi cient

progress in the EQ skill you selected for part one of

your action plan, go online and take the Emotional In-

telligence Appraisal ® a second time. Complete part two

of the action plan.

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Part One – My Journey Begins

Date Completed:

List your scores from the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ®




Overall EQ:

Self- awareness:

Self- management:

Social Awareness:

Relationship Management:

Pick One EQ Skill and Three Strategies

Which of the four core emotional intelligence skills will

you work on fi rst? Circle your chosen skill in the image


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Review the strategies for the EQ skill you selected, and list

up to three that you will practice below.




My EQ Mentor

Who do you know who is gifted in your chosen EQ skill

and willing to provide feedback and advice throughout

your journey?

My EQ mentor is: ______________________________

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Part Two – How Far My Journey Has Come

Date Completed:

After you take the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ® test a

second time, list your new and old scores below.

Old New +/-

Score Score Change

Overall EQ

Self- awareness:

Self- management:

Social Awareness:

Relationship Management:

Pick a New EQ Skill and Three Strategies

Based on the results explained in your Emotional Intelli-

gence Appraisal ® feedback report, where will you focus your

skill development efforts going forward? Pick a new EQ

skill and circle it in the image below.

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Review the strategies for the EQ skill you selected, and list
up to three that you will practice below.

My New EQ Mentor

Who do you know who is gifted in your new chosen EQ

skill and willing to provide feedback and advice throughout

your journey?

My New EQ mentor is: __________________________

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– A







Simply put, to be self- aware is to know yourself as you really are. Initially, self- awareness can come across as a
somewhat ambiguous concept. There is no fi nish line where

someone is going to slap a medal on you and deem you

“ self- aware.” In addition, awareness of yourself is not just

knowing that you prefer oranges over apples or telling peo-

ple that you are a morning person instead of a night owl.

It’s deeper than that. Getting to know yourself inside and

out is a continuous journey of peeling back the layers of the

onion and becoming more and more comfortable with

what is in the middle—the true essence of you.

Your hard- wired emotional reactions to anything come

before you even have a chance to respond. Since it isn’t pos-

sible to leave your emotions out of the equation, managing

yourself and your relationships means you fi rst need to be

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aware of the full range of your feelings, both positive and


When you don’t take time out to notice and understand

your emotions, they have a strange way of resurfacing when

you least expect or want them to. It’s their way of trying to

bring something important to your attention. They will

persist, and the damage will mount, until you take notice.

Facing the truth about who you are can at times be

unsettling. Getting in touch with your emotions and ten-

dencies takes honesty and courage. Be patient and give

yourself credit for even the smallest bits of forward momen-

tum. As you start noticing things about yourself that you

weren’t previously aware of (things you aren’t always going

to like), you are progressing.

The remainder of this chapter introduces you to 15

original strategies, which were designed to help you maxi-

mize your self-awareness to create positive changes in your

life. The strategies are straightforward and packed full of

insights and examples that will help your self- awareness


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– A


1. Quit Treating Your Feelings as Good or Bad
2. Observe the Ripple Effect from Your Emotions
3. Lean into Your Discomfort
4. Feel Your Emotions Physically
5. Know Who and What Pushes Your Buttons
6. Watch Yourself Like a Hawk . . .
7. Keep a Journal about Your Emotions
8. Don’t Be Fooled by a Bad Mood
9. Don’t Be Fooled by a Good Mood, Either
10. Stop and Ask Yourself Why You Do the Things

You Do
11. Visit Your Values
12. Check Yourself
13. Spot Your Emotions in Books, Movies, and Music
14. Seek Feedback
15. Get to Know Yourself under Stress

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1 Quit Treating Your Feelings as Good or Bad
It’s human nature to want to create two simple and easy

piles of emotions: the good ones and the bad ones. For

instance, most people would automatically classify guilt as

bad. You don’t want to feel it—you might even beat your-

self up about it—and you do whatever you can to get rid

of it. Likewise, we tend to let good emotions like excitement

run wild. We pump ourselves up and feed off the energy.

The downfall of attaching such labels to your emotions

is that judging your emotions keeps you from really under-

standing what it is that you are feeling. When you allow

yourself to sit with an emotion and become fully aware of

it, you can understand what is causing

it. Suspending judgment of emotions

allows them to run their course and

vanish. Passing judgment on whether

you should or shouldn’t be feeling

what you are feeling just heaps more

judgment of
emotions allows
them to run their
course and

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– A

emotions on top of the pile and prevents the original feeling

from running its course.

So, the next time you feel an emotion begin to build,

take notice of it immediately. Refrain from putting it into

the good or bad pile and remind yourself that the feeling is

there to help you understand something


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2 Observe the Ripple Effect from Your Emotions
Consider for a moment what happens when you drop a

stone into water. The stone’s swift plummet pierces the wa-

ter’s surface, sending ripples in all directions. Your outpour-

ings of emotion are like stones that send ripples through the

people in your life. Since emotions are the primary drivers

of your behavior, it’s important you understand the effect

they have on other people.

Let’s say a manager loses his cool and berates an em-

ployee in front of the rest of the team. When the lashing

happens, it may seem that the manager’s target is the only

one whose feelings get bruised, but the ripple effect from

the manager’s explosion affects all who witnessed it. As the

rest of the team members wander back to their desks, the

others, too, feel the manager’s wrath. They go back to work

with a pit in their stomachs, each one wondering when his

or her turn will come up.

The manager thinks his tirade was good for produc-

tivity because the rant “scared people straight,” but their

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– A

fear soon settles into caution. To perform at their best, the

team members need to take risks, stretch themselves be-

yond their comfort zone, and even make some mistakes

along the way. No one on the team wants to be the man-

ager’s next target, so the team members play it safe and do

only as they are told. When the manager gets docked a year

later for leading a team that fails to take initiative, he won-

ders what’s wrong with the team.

Your emotions are powerful weapons, and continuing

to think that their effects are instant and minimal will only

do you a disservice. The key to observing the ripple effects

of your emotions is to watch closely how they impact other

people immediately, and then use that information as a

guide for how your emotions are bound to affect a wider

circle long after you unleash the emotion. To fully under-

stand the ripple effects of your emotions, you’ll need to

spend some time refl ecting upon your behavior. You’ll also

need to ask other people how they are affected by your

emotions. The more you understand how your emotions

ripple outward, the better equipped you’ll be to choose the

type of ripples that you want to create.

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3 Lean into Your Discomfort

The biggest obstacle to increasing your self- awareness is the

tendency to avoid the discomfort that comes from seeing

yourself as you really are. Things you do not think about

are off your radar for a reason: they can sting when they

surface. Avoiding this pain creates problems, because it is

merely a short- term fi x. You’ll never be able to manage

yourself effectively if you ignore what you need to do to


Rather than avoiding a feeling, your goal should be to

move toward the emotion, into it, and eventually through

it. This can be said for even

mild emotional discomfort,

such as boredom, confusion, or

anticipation. When you ignore

or minimize an emotion, no

matter how small or insignifi –

cant, you miss the opportunity

to do something productive with that feeling. Even worse,

Rather than avoiding a
feeling, your goal
should be to move
toward the emotion,
into it, and eventually
through it.

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– A

ignoring your feelings does not make them go away; it just

helps them to surface again when you least expect


To be effective in life, we all need to discover our own

arrogance—those things we don’t bother to learn about and

dismiss as unimportant. One person thinks apologies are

for sissies, so she never learns to recognize when one is

needed. Another person hates feeling down, so he con-

stantly distracts himself with meaningless activity and never

really feels content. Both people need to take the bold step

of leaning into the feelings that will motivate them to

change. Otherwise, they will continue down an unproduc-

tive, unsatisfying path, repeating the same patterns over

and over again.

After the fi rst few times you lean into your discomfort,

you will quickly fi nd that the discomfort isn’t so bad, it

doesn’t ruin you, and it reaps rewards. The surprising thing

about increasing your self- awareness is that just thinking

about it will help you change, even though much of your

focus will initially be on the things you do “wrong.” Don’t

be afraid of your emotional “mistakes.” They tell you what

you should be doing differently and provide the steady

stream of information you need to understand yourself as

life unfolds.

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4 Feel Your Emotions Physically

When you experience an emotion, electric signals course

through your brain and trigger physical sensations in your

body. The physical sensations can be as varied as your stom-

ach muscles tightening, your heart rate increasing, your

breathing quickening, or your mouth going dry. Because

your mind and body are so tightly connected, one of the

most effective ways to understand your emotions as they

are happening is to learn how to spot the physical changes

that accompany your emotions.

To better understand the physical effects of your emo-

tions, try closing your eyes the next time you have a few

moments alone. Feel how fast or slow your heart is beating.

Notice the pace of your breathing. Determine how tense or

relaxed the muscles are in your arms, legs, neck, and back.

Now, think of a couple of events from your life—one pos-

itive and one negative—that generate strong emotions.

Think through one of these events in enough detail that

you can feel your emotions stir. Take note of the physical

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– A

changes that accompany the feelings. Do they make your

breathing or heart rate change? Do your muscles grow

tense? Do you feel hotter or colder? Repeat this process

with the other event, and take note of the physical differ-

ences in the emotions from the positive and negative expe-


Closing your eyes and thinking of emotionally arousing

events is simply training for the real thing—spotting the

physical signs of your emotions on the fl y. In the beginning,

try not to think too hard—simply open your mind to no-

ticing the sensations. As you improve at this, you’ll fi nd that

you’re often physically aware of an emotion long before

you’re mentally aware of it.

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Know Who and What Pushes
Your Buttons5

We all have buttons—pet peeves, triggers, whatever you

want to call them—that, when pushed, just irritate and irk

us until we want to scream. Perhaps you have a coworker

who lives her life as if she were constantly on stage. Her

entrance into meetings is dramatic and fl aring, and she

feeds off the energy from everyone’s attention and uses that

energy to take control of the room. Her voice is louder than

most, and her contributions to the meetings are always

long- winded novels, as if she just loves to hear herself


If your modus operandi is more subtle (or you really

would like part of that stage yourself ), a person like that

may really eat at you. When you go into a meeting with

great ideas and a readiness to just sit down and get straight

to the point, a drama queen who is creating a stage in the

boardroom is bound to fl ip your switches for frustration

and rage. Even if you aren’t the type to blurt out impulsive

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– A

comments or otherwise go on the attack, your body lan-

guage may give you away, or you may fi nd yourself on the

drive home obsessing over your lingering frustration.

Knowing who pushes your buttons and how they do it

is critical to developing the ability to take control of these

situations, maintain your poise, and calm yourself down.

To use this strategy, you can’t think about things generally.

You need to pinpoint the specifi c people and situations that

trigger your emotions. Your buttons are bound to get

pushed by a wide range of people and things. It could be

certain people (like drama queens), particular situations

(like feeling scared or caught off guard), or conditions in

the environment (like noisy offi ces). Having a clear under-

standing of who and what pushes your buttons makes these

people and situations a bit less diffi cult because they come

as less of a surprise.

You can take your self- awareness a big step further by

discovering the source of your buttons. That is, why do

these people and situations irk you so much when other,

equally annoying people and situations don’t bother you at

all? Perhaps the stage hog reminds you of your sister who

got all the attention when you were younger. You lived

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many years in her shadow, vowing to never let it happen

again. Now you sit beside her clone in every meeting. No

wonder she’s a trigger for your emotions.

Knowing why your buttons are what they are opens

doors to managing your reactions to your triggers. For now,

your tasks are simple—fi nd the sources of your buttons and

jot down a list. Knowing your buttons is essential to using

the self- and relationship management strategies that come

later in the book.

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es6 Watch Yourself Like a Hawk . . .

Hawks have the distinct advantage of soaring hundreds of

feet above the ground, looking down upon the Earth and

seeing all that happens below them. The creatures on the

ground go about their lives with narrow tunnel vision, not

even realizing that the hawk is soaring above them predict-

ing their every move. Wouldn’t it be great to be the hawk,

looking down upon yourself in those sticky situations that

tend to get the better of you? Think of all the things you

would be able to see and understand from above. Your ob-

jectivity would allow you to step out from under the con-

trol of your emotions and know exactly what needed to be

done to create a positive outcome.

Even though you are not a hawk, you can still develop

a more objective understanding of your own behavior. You

can practice by taking notice of your emotions, thoughts,

and behaviors right as the situation unfolds. In essence, the

goal is to slow yourself down and take in all that is in front

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of you, allowing your brain to process all available informa-

tion before you act.

Consider an example. Let’s say you have a teenage son

who is more than two hours late for his Friday night curfew.

You’re sitting in a living room chair in the dark, waiting for

him to stroll through the door and offer another creative

explanation for why he’s late and wasn’t answering his

phone. The more you sit there thinking about your son’s

disregard for your authority and the hours of sleep he’s just

robbed you of, the more your blood boils. Before long,

you’ve forgotten the real reason you’re so upset— you’re

worried about his safety. Sure, you want him to obey the

rules, but it’s the thought of him out there acting recklessly

that’s keeping you up.

Watching yourself like a hawk in this situation requires

taking advantage of this calm before the storm. You know

your anger is going to rumble to the surface the moment

his weak excuses tumble from his mouth, and you also

know he’s more likely to follow your rules if you can get

him to see and feel your concern. This is the moment when

you need to consider what this situation looks like from

above. You realize your brooding is just fanning the fl ames

of your anger. You remember that he’s a good kid who’s

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been acting too much like a typical teenager lately. You

know your anger isn’t going to make him change; it hasn’t

worked thus far. The bigger picture now in clear view, you

decide to explain the rationale for his punishment and why

you are so upset, rather than just fl y off the handle. When

he fi nally comes slithering into the house, knocking the

lamp off the end table in the darkness, you’re grateful you

can see the whole picture and not just what’s in front of


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7 Keep a Journal about Your Emotions
The biggest challenge to developing self- awareness is ob-

jectivity. It’s hard to develop perspective on your emotions

and tendencies when every day feels like a new mountain

to climb. With a journal, you can record what events trig-

gered strong emotions in you and how you responded to


You should write about time spent at work and home—

nothing is off limits. In just a month, you’ll begin to see

patterns in your emotions, and you’ll

develop a better understanding of your

tendencies. You’ll get a better idea of

which emotions get you down, which

pick you up, and which are the most

diffi cult for you to tolerate. Pay careful

attention to the people and situations that push your but-

tons, triggering strong emotions. Describe the emotions

you feel each day, and don’t forget to record the physical

sensations that accompany the emotions.

The biggest
challenge to
developing self-
awareness is

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In addition to helping you see yourself more clearly,

writing down your emotions makes your tendencies much

easier to remember, and the journal serves as a great refer-

ence as you raise your self- awareness.

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8 Don’t Be Fooled by a Bad Mood

We all succumb to them every now and then—those

down- in- the- dumps moods where nothing seems to be

going our way. When you feel this way, your low mood puts

a dark cloud over every thought, feeling, and experience

you have. The tricky thing about your brain is that, once a

negative mood takes over, you lose sight of what’s good in

your life, and suddenly you hate your job, you’re frustrated

with family and friends, you’re dissatisfi ed with your ac-

complishments, and your optimism about the future goes

out the window. Deep down, you know that things aren’t

as bad as they seem, but your brain just won’t hear it.

Part of self- awareness is knowing what you’re going

through even if you can’t totally change it. Admit to your-

self that your bad mood is hanging a cloud over everything

you see, and remind yourself that your moods are not per-

manent. Your emotions change all the time, and low moods

will pass if you allow them to.

When you’re stuck in a down mood, it’s not a good

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time to make important decisions. You’ll have to remain

aware of the mood and understand it if you hope to keep

it from leading you to make mistakes that will only pull you

down further. Not only is it OK to refl ect upon recent

events that may have brought on the mood, but this is also

a good idea—as long as you don’t dwell on them for too

long—because often that’s all it takes to get the mood to


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9 Don’t Be Fooled by a Good Mood, Either
Bad moods and negative emotions are not the only ones

that cause trouble. A good mood can deceive your thinking

just as much as a bad one. When you are feeling excited and

really happy, it’s easy to do something that you’ll regret.

Consider this familiar scenario: your favorite store is

having a once- a- year sale with markdowns of up to 75%.

You rush into the store on the day of the sale and end up

buying all sorts of things that you’ve always wanted but

can’t really afford (at least not all at once). The rush and

exhilaration of your purchases carry you through the week

as you show off the goods to your friends and family and

let them in on the fabulous deals you got. When your

credit card bill arrives at the end of the month, it’s another


Foolish spending is not the only mistake you can make

while riding the high of a great mood. The excitement and

energy you enjoy during a good mood paint a rosy picture

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of all you encounter. This leaves you far more likely to make

impulsive decisions that ignore the potential consequences

of your actions. Stay aware of your good moods and the

foolish decisions these moods can lead to, and you’ll be able

to enjoy feeling good without any regrets.

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10 Stop and Ask Yourself Why You Do the Things You Do
Emotions come when they will, not when you will them to.

Your self- awareness will grow abundantly when you begin

seeking out the source of your feelings. Get in the habit of

stopping to ask yourself why surprising emotions rumbled

to the surface and what motivated you to do something out

of character. Emotions serve an important purpose—they

clue you into things that you’ll never understand if you

don’t take the time to ask yourself why.

Most of the time, it really is that easy, but when you are

left to your own devices, the days can just whiz by with

little time to contemplate why you do what you do. With

a little practice, you can trace your emotional reactions

back to their origins and understand the purpose of your

emotions. The surprising thing about this strategy is that

just paying attention to your emotions and asking yourself

good questions like these are enough to help you improve.

Can you remember the fi rst time you reacted like this and

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with whom? Are there similarities between then and now?

Can anyone evoke this reaction in you or only specifi c peo-

ple? The better you understand why you do the things you

do, the better equipped you’ll be to keep your emotions

from running the show.

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11 Visit Your Values

The plates of life are constantly spinning above you. You

juggle projects at work, never- ending meetings, bills, er-

rands, emails, phone calls, text messages, chores, meals,

time with friends and family—the list goes on. It takes

great amounts of attention and focus to keep the plates

from crashing to the ground.

Maintaining this balancing act keeps your attention

focused outward, rather than inward and on yourself. As

you run around struggling to check your daily “to dos” off

your list, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s really important to

you—your core values and beliefs. Before you know it, you

fi nd yourself doing and saying things that deep down you

don’t feel good about or believe in. This could mean you

fi nd yourself yelling at a coworker who made a mistake,

when you normally fi nd such hostility unacceptable. If yell-

ing at your colleagues runs contrary to the beliefs you wish

to live your life by, catching yourself (or being caught)

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doing it is bound to make you uncomfortable and even

unfulfi lled.

The trick here is to take the time to check in with your-

self and jot down your core beliefs and values. Ask yourself,

what are the values that I wish to live my life by? Take a sheet

of paper and separate it into two columns. List your core

values and beliefs in the left column and anything that

you’ve done or said recently that you aren’t proud of in the

right column. Is what you value in alignment with the

manner in which you conduct yourself? If not, consider

alternatives to what you said and did that would have made

you proud of yourself, or at least more comfortable.

Repeating this exercise somewhere between daily and

monthly will be a huge boost to your self- awareness. Before

long, you’ll fi nd yourself thinking of the list before you act,

which will set the stage for making choices you can live


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Check Yourself12
Self- awareness is generally an internal process, but there are

a few instances in which the outside holds the clues you

need to understand what’s going on inside. Without ques-

tion, how you feel is refl ected in how you look. Your facial

expressions, posture, demeanor, clothes, and even your hair

all say important things about your mood.

Physical appearance is more straightforward—what you

wear sends a pretty clear, established message about how

you feel. For example, wearing old sweatpants and ratty

T- shirts and having disheveled hair every day tells the world

you’ve given up, while overdressing for every occasion and

never missing your weekly haircut lets people know you are

trying too hard. Your demeanor also says a lot about your

mood, but the message often gets twisted. If you’re meeting

someone for the fi rst time and you’re feeling insecure about

how you’ll be received, like many people, you may tend to

be aloof and a bit standoffi sh or get overzealous.

When you fi nd yourself in similar situations, it’s

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important to notice your mood and consider its infl uence

upon your demeanor. Is the look that you are projecting to

the world one that you have chosen, one that your mood

created, or one that you tend to lean on by default? Cer-

tainly, what you project refl ects how you feel, and it’s up to

you to understand it. Taking a moment here and there to

check yourself will allow you to understand your mood

before it sets the tone for the rest of your day.

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13 Spot Your Emotions in Books, Movies, and Music
If you’re having trouble looking within to spot your

emotional patterns and tendencies, you can discover the

same information by looking outside yourself at the

movies, music, and books that you identify with. When

the lyrics or mood of a song resonate with you, they say

a lot about how you feel, and when a character from a

movie or book sticks in your head, it’s probably because

important aspects of his or her thoughts and feelings

parallel your own. Taking a closer look in these mo-

ments can teach you a lot about yourself. It can also

provide a great tool for explaining your feelings to other


Finding your emotions in the expressions of artists al-

lows you to learn about yourself and discover feelings that

are often hard to communicate. Sometimes you just can’t

fi nd the words to say what you are feeling until you see it

in front of you. Listening to music, reading novels,

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watching fi lms, and even looking at art can act as a gateway

into your deepest emotions. Take a closer look the next

time one of these mediums grabs your attention—you

never know what you’ll fi nd.

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14 Seek Feedback

Everything you see—including yourself—must travel

through your own lens. The problem is, your lens is tainted

by your experiences, your beliefs, and, without question,

your moods. Your lens prevents you from ever obtaining a

truly objective look at yourself, on your own. Often, there

is a big difference between how you see yourself and how

others see you. This chasm between the way you view your-

self and the way others view you is a rich source of lessons

that will build your self- awareness.

Self- awareness is the process of getting to know yourself

from the inside out and the outside in. The only way to get

the second, more elusive perspective is to open yourself up

to feedback from others, which can

include friends, coworkers, mentors,

supervisors, and family. When you ask

for their feedback, be sure to get spe-

cifi c examples and situations, and as

you gather the answers, look for

Self- awareness
is the process of
getting to know
yourself from the
inside out and
the outside in.

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– A

similarities in the information. Others’ views can be a real

eye- opener by showing you how other people experience

you. Putting the perspectives together helps you see the en-

tire picture, including how your emotions and reactions

affect other people. By mustering the courage to peer at

what others see, you can reach a level of self- awareness that

few people attain.

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15 Get to Know Yourself under Stress
The mountain of stressors in your life is constantly grow-

ing. Every time your stress tolerance rises to new heights,

you—or those around you—push and push until you take

on more. All of the high- tech gadgets at your disposal aren’t

helping, either. If anything, they just seem to speed up your

life. If you are like most people, you already recognize some

of the warning signs that pop up when stress is looming.

The question is: do you heed their warning?

You will benefi t tremendously from learning to recog-

nize your fi rst signs of stress. The human mind and body—

at least when it comes to stress—have voices of their own.

They tell you through emotional and physiological reac-

tions when it’s time to slow down and take a break. For

example, an upset stomach can be a sign that nervousness

and anxiety are overwhelming your body. The indigestion

and fatigue that follow are your body’s way of taking some

time off to rest. For you, intense stress and anxiety may

create an upset stomach, while for others the physical signs

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can be a pounding headache, canker sores, or their backs

going out. Your self- awareness in times of stress should

serve as your third ear to listen to your body’s cries for help.

Your body speaks volumes when you push it too hard. Take

the time to recognize these signals and recharge your emo-

tional battery before your stress causes permanent damage

to your system.

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Self- management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to actively choose what you say and do.
On the surface, it may seem that self- management is sim-

ply a matter of taking a deep breath and keeping yourself

in check when emotions come on strong, and while it’s true

that self- control in these situations is a sizeable piece of the

pie, there’s far more to self- management than putting a

cork in it when you’re about to blow up. Your eruptions

are no different from a volcano—there is all sorts of rum-

bling happening beneath the surface before the lava starts

fl owing.

Unlike a volcano, there are subtle things you can do

each and every day to infl uence what is happening beneath

the surface. You just need to learn how to pick up on the

rumbling and respond to it. Self- management builds upon

a foundational skill— self- awareness. Ample self- awareness

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is necessary for effective self- management because you can

only choose how to respond to an emotion actively when

you’re aware of it. Since we’re hard- wired to experience

emotions before we can respond to them, it’s the one- two

punch of reading emotions effectively and then reacting to

them that sets the best self- managers apart. A high level of

self- management ensures you aren’t getting in your own

way and doing things that limit your success. It also ensures

you aren’t frustrating other people to the point that they

resent or dislike you. When you understand your own emo-

tions and can respond the way you choose to them, you

have the power to take control of diffi cult situations, react

nimbly to change, and take the initiative needed to achieve

your goals.

When you develop the ability to size yourself up quickly

and grab the reins before you head in the wrong direction,

it keeps you fl exible and allows you to choose positively

and productively how to react to different situations. When

you don’t stop to think about your feelings—including

how they are infl uencing your behavior now, and will con-

tinue to do so in the future—you set yourself up to be a

frequent victim of emotional hijackings. Whether you’re

aware of it or not, your emotions will control you, and

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– M

you’ll move through your day reacting to your feelings with

little choice in what you say and do.

The remainder of this chapter presents 17 specifi c strat-

egies—things you can start doing today—that will help you

manage your emotions to your benefi t. Each simple strat-

egy is targeted to an important element of the self-

management skill. This carefully crafted set has been honed

through many years of testing with people just like you,

and are proven methods for increasing your self- management


As you master each of the strategies and incorporate

them into your daily routine, you will develop an increased

capacity to respond effectively to your emotions. Of course

no matter how skilled you become in managing your emo-

tions there are always going to be situations that push your

buttons. Your life won’t morph into a fairy tale devoid of

obstacles, but you will equip yourself with everything you

need to take the wheel and drive.

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1. Breathe Right
2. Create an Emotion vs. Reason List
3. Make Your Goals Public
4. Count to Ten
5. Sleep On It
6. Talk To a Skilled Self-Manager
7. Smile and Laugh More
8. Set Aside Some Time in Your Day for Problem

9. Take Control of Your Self-Talk
10. Visualize Yourself Succeeding
11. Clean Up Your Sleep Hygiene
12. Focus Your Attention on Your Freedoms Rather than

Your Limitations
13. Stay Synchronized
14. Speak to Someone Who is Not Emotionally Invested

in Your Problem
15. Learn a Valuable Lesson from Everyone You

16. Put a Mental Recharge into Your Schedule
17. Accept That Change is Just around the Corner

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– M

Breathe Right1
If you’re like most people, you breathe in short, shallow

breaths throughout the day that don’t fully contract your

diaphragm to fi ll your lungs—and you don’t even know it.

What’s to stop you? It’s not like you are suffering from the

lack of oxygen . . . or so you think. Your lungs are built to

provide precisely the amount of air your body needs for all

of your organs to function effectively. When you take shal-

low breaths—which is any breath that fails to make your

stomach protrude outward from the infl ux of air—you

aren’t giving your body the full amount of oxygen it


Your brain demands a full 20 percent of your body’s

oxygen supply, which it needs to control basic functions

like breathing and sight and complex functions like think-

ing and managing your mood. Your brain dedicates oxygen

fi rst to the basic functions, because they keep you alive.

Whatever oxygen remains is used for the complex func-

tions, which keep you alert, focused, and calm. Shallow

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breaths deprive your brain of oxygen, which can lead to

poor concentration, forgetfulness, mood swings, restless-

ness, depressed and anxious thoughts, and a lack of energy.

Shallow breathing handicaps your ability to self- manage.

The next time you are in a stressful or emotional situ-

ation, focus on taking slow deep breaths, inhaling through

your nose until you can feel your stomach swell outward

and grow tight, and then exhaling gently and completely

through your mouth. As you exhale, go ahead and push

that breath out until you have completely emptied your

lungs. If you want to make sure that you are breathing cor-

rectly, place one hand upon your sternum (the long, fl at

bone located in the center of your chest) and the other

hand upon your stomach as you take in breaths. If the hand

on your stomach is moving more than the hand on your

sternum as you exhale, then you know that you’re getting

enough oxygen and fully infl ating your lungs. If you prac-

tice this proper breathing technique, it will grow comfort-

able enough that you can do it in the presence of other

people without them noticing, which is handy for when

you fi nd yourself in the middle of a diffi cult conversation.

Anytime you choose to breathe right and fl ood your

brain with oxygen, you’ll notice the effects immediately.

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– M

Many people describe the sensation as one of entering a

calmer, more relaxed state where they have a clear head.

This makes breathing right one of the simplest yet most

powerful techniques that you have at your disposal to man-

age your emotions. In addition to engaging your rational

brain on the spot, breathing right is a great tool for shifting

your focus away from intruding, uncomfortable thoughts

that are hard to shake. Whether you are overcome by anxi-

ety and stress because of a looming deadline, or fi xated on

negative thoughts and feelings about something that hap-

pened in the past, making yourself breathe right calms you

down and makes you feel better by powering up your ra-

tional brain.

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Create an Emotion vs.
Reason List2

You may not always realize it, but there are many times

when you allow your emotions to sway you in one direction

while your rational mind is tugging at your shirt to go an-

other way. Whenever you fi nd your mind having a battle of

the brains (emotional vs. rational), it’s time to make a list

that distinguishes the emotional side of the argument from

the rational one. The list will allow you to clear your mind,

use your knowledge and take into account the importance

of your emotions without letting them take control.

Creating an Emotion vs. Reason list is simple. Draw a

straight line down the middle of a page to make two col-

umns. In the left column write what your emotions are

telling you to do, and in the right column what your rea-

son is telling you to do. Now, ask yourself two important

questions: Where are your emotions clouding your judg-

ment, and where is your reason ignoring important cues

from your emotions? Your emotions will create trouble if

you let them lead you around without any reason, but your

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– M

rational thoughts can be just as problematic if you try to

operate like a robot that is without feeling. Your feelings

are there whether you acknowledge them or not, and the

Emotion vs. Reason list forces you to get in touch with

them by putting them down on paper.

So, the next time a sticky or stressful situation gives you

grief, grab a sheet of paper and give yourself a few quiet

moments to organize your thoughts and make your list.

With the list in front of you, it will be much easier to see

whether you should allow the emotional or rational sides of

your thinking to have more say in your decision.

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Make Your Goals Public3

Much of self-
management comes
down to motivation,
and you can use the
expectations that other
people have of you as
a powerful force to get
you up off the
proverbial couch.

Walking your talk is hard, especially when life is always

throwing you curveballs. Sometimes, the biggest letdowns

are private ones—when we fail to reach a goal or do what

we set out to do. There is no more powerful motivator to

reach your goals than making them public. If you clearly

tell other people what you are setting out to accomplish—

be it friends, family or a spouse—their awareness of your

progress creates an incredible sense of accountability.

Much of self- management comes down to motivation,

and you can use the expectations that other people have of

you as a powerful force to get

you up off the proverbial couch.

If your boss assigns a project or

your running partner meets you

every morning at 5 a.m. sharp,

you’re simply more likely to do

something when other people

are involved. Select those

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– M

people whom you know will actually pay attention to your

progress. When you share your goals with someone, ask

him or her to monitor your progress and hold you account-

able. You may even give them the power to dole out reward

or punishment, such as the university professor we know

who pays his colleagues $100 anytime he misses a deadline

on a research article. As you can imagine, he is the rare

individual who hardly ever misses a deadline!

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Count to Ten4
You can thank your kindergarten teacher for this one! It

was way back then sitting on the classroom rug with your

legs crossed that you learned one of the most effective

strategies for turning the temperature down when your

emotions are running hot. Adulthood has a funny way

of making us lose sight of some simple, yet profound,

strategies for self- control.

All you have to do is this: When you feel yourself get-

ting frustrated or angry, stop yourself by taking in a deep

breath and saying the number one to yourself as you exhale.

Keep breathing and counting until you reach the number

ten. The counting and breathing will relax you and stop

you from taking rash action long enough to regain your

composure and develop a more clear, rational perspective

of the


Sometimes, you might not even reach ten. For example,

if you are in a meeting and someone abruptly interrupts

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– M

esEven if you don’t make
it to double digits,
you’ll stop the fl ow of
frustration and anger
long enough to cool
down your overheated
limbic system and give
your rational brain
some valuable time to
catch up.

you to blurt out something ridiculous that rubs you raw,

you are unlikely to sit there silently while you breathe your

way to ten. Even if you don’t make it to double digits, you’ll

stop the fl ow of frustration and anger long enough to cool

down your overheated limbic system and give your rational

brain some valuable time to catch up.

When your counting needs

to be more subtle, there are lots

of great ways to hide it from

others. Some people will actu-

ally bring a beverage with them

to every meeting they attend.

This way, whenever they feel as

though they may blurt out

some emotionally charged state-

ment, they take a drink. No

one expects them to talk when they are drinking. So they

have the time they need to calm down (and count if neces-

sary), organize their thoughts, and plan something to say

that’s more constructive.

Reacting quickly and without much thought fans the

fl ames burning in the emotional brain. Since a snappy

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comeback usually leads to a heated exchange where barbs

are thrown back and forth, it’s easy to fi nd yourself in the

midst of a full- blown emotional hijacking. When you slow

things down and focus on counting, it engages your ratio-

nal brain. You can then regain control of yourself and keep

your emotions from running the show.

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– M

Sleep On It5
In the timeless classic, War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy wrote that

the two strongest warriors are time and patience. The power

of these warriors comes from their ability to transform situ-

ations, ease pain, and provide clarity. Sometimes situations

that require our patience can feel so uncomfortable, dissat-

isfying, and rife with anxiety that we jump to action just to

alleviate the internal turmoil. But more often than not, giv-

ing yourself that extra day, week, or month to digest the

situation before moving forward is all you need to stay in

control. And sometimes, while you’re waiting, things may

surface that make your decision that much easier to make.

Time helps you to self- manage because it brings clarity

and perspective to the thousands of thoughts that go swim-

ming through your head when something is important. Time

also helps you to gain control of emotions that you know

would lead you in the wrong direction if you were to let them

drive. It’s that simple. All you need to do is force yourself to

wait for the dust to settle before you make a move.

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Talk To a Skilled Self- Manager6
Role models come in all shapes and sizes, and they infl u-

ence our lives in ways that are hard to predict. One of the

most powerful ways to learn self- management is to seek out

skilled self- managers to learn their tricks.

Most people’s weaknesses in emotional intelligence are

simply the product of skills that don’t come naturally to

them. In the case of people who are gifted in an emotional

intelligence skill, they are usually very aware of what it is

they do well, which makes it easy for you to learn from


First, fi nd a person whom you consider to be a master

self- manager. If you don’t feel that you can spot a skilled

self- manager on your own, you can always have someone

take the test that comes with this book. Offer to take your

self- management whiz out for lunch or coffee, explain that

you are seeking improvement in this skill, and ask him or

her to review the self- management section of this book be-

fore the meeting. During the meeting share your specifi c

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– M

goals for improved self- management, and ask what tactics

he or she relies on to self- manage so well. Be sure to share

the emotions and situations that give you the most trouble.

You’re bound to learn some unique and effective ways to

manage yourself that you would have otherwise never been

exposed to. Before you leave the meeting, write down the

best tips and choose a couple that you can begin trying im-

mediately. Ask your self- management whiz if the two of

you can meet again after you’ve had a chance to try the

suggestions out.

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Smile and Laugh More7
Did you know that when you laugh and smile, your face

sends signals to your brain that you are happy? Your brain

literally responds to the nerves and muscles in your face to

determine your emotional state. So what does this mean for

self- management? When you’re stuck on a frustrating or

distressing thought, forcing yourself to smile counteracts

the negative emotional state. If you work in customer ser-

vice, or any time you need to look upbeat when you’re re-

ally not up for it, making yourself throw on a large,

legitimate smile (where your cheeks push upwards) will

trick your mind into feeling the mood you need for the


French university researchers measured the power of a

smile by having two groups of subjects read the same com-

ics page from the newspaper. One group of subjects was

instructed to hold a pencil in their teeth while reading

(which activates the muscles used in smiling), while the

other group held the pencil with their lips (which does not

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– M

. . . it’s nice to
know you have
an out when you
need to put on a
happy face.

activate the muscles used in smiling). Those who were un-

knowingly “smiling” found the cartoons far more humor-

ous and had a better time while reading them than people

in the group that weren’t smiling.

You can also use smiling and laughter to lift your mood

by watching a show or reading a book

that you know you fi nd funny. This

can feel like an odd choice when you’re

feeling down, but it’s a great way to

override the negative emotions and

clear your head, especially if your down

mood is paralyzing your judgment. Smiling and laughter

won’t eliminate feeling down, and they shouldn’t—every

mood has its purpose—but it’s nice to know you have an

out when you need to put on a happy face.

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Set Aside Some Time in Your
Day for Problem Solving


You experience hundreds of emotions every day, some of

which you are not even aware. You spend your day bounc-

ing around from feeling to feeling, which can lead to mak-

ing some decisions at inopportune times.

Think back through some of your recent decisions, and

you’ll likely fi nd that the decisions you made while hurry-

ing through your day were seldom as effective as those made

with some planning and clear thinking. The only way to

ensure that you have the right space to make good decisions

is to set aside some time in your schedule for problem solv-

ing. Just keep it simple. A 15-minute period each day where

you turn off your phone, walk away from your computer,

and take time to just think, is a great way to ensure your

decisions aren’t muddled by your emotions.

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– M

Take Control of Your Self- Talk9
Research suggests the average person has about 50,000

thoughts every day. Sound like a lot? It doesn’t stop there.

Every time one of those 50,000 thoughts takes place, chem-

icals are produced in your brain that can trigger reactions

felt throughout your body. There is a strong relationship

between what you think and how you feel, both physically

and emotionally. Because you are always thinking (much

like breathing), you tend to forget that you are doing it. You

likely don’t even realize how much your thoughts dictate

how you feel every hour of every single day.

It’s impossible to try and track every single thought you

have to see if it’s having a positive or negative infl uence on

your emotional state. The thoughts that are most infl uen-

tial are those where you literally talk to yourself. Though

you might not realize you have these thoughts, we all have

an internal voice inside our head that affects our perception

of things. We tell ourselves to keep quiet, we congratulate

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ourselves on a job well done and we reprimand ourselves

for making poor decisions. Our thoughts are “talking” to

us every day, and this inner voice is called “ self- talk.”

With thoughts, the primary vehicle for regulating your

emotional fl ow, what you allow yourself to think can rum-

ble emotions to the surface, stuff them down underground,

and intensify and prolong any emotional experience. When

a rush of emotion comes over you, your thoughts turn the

heat up or down. By learning to control your self- talk, you

can keep yourself focused on the right things and manage

your emotions more effectively.

Much of the time, your self- talk is positive and it helps

you through your day ( “I’d better get ready for the meeting”

or “I’m really looking forward to going out to dinner to-

night”). Your self- talk damages your ability to self- manage

anytime it becomes negative. Negative self- talk is unrealis-

tic and self- defeating. It can send you into a downward

emotional spiral that makes it diffi cult to get what you want

from life.

What follow are the most common types of negative

self- talk with the keys to taking control of them and turn-

ing them around:

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– M

1. Turn I always or I never into just this time or some-

times. Your actions are unique to the situation in front

of you, no matter how often you think you mess up.

Make certain your thoughts follow suit. When you start

treating each situation as its own animal and stop beat-

ing yourself up over every mistake, you’ll stop making

your problems bigger than they really are.

2. Replace judgmental statements like I’m an idiot

with factual ones like I made a mistake. Thoughts

that attach a permanent label to you leave no room for

improvement. Factual statements are objective, situa-

tional, and help you to focus on what you can change.

3. Accept responsibility for your actions and no one

else’s. The blame game and negative self- talk go hand

in hand. If you are someone who often thinks either it’s

all my fault or it’s all their fault you are wrong most the

time. It is commendable to accept responsibility for

your actions, but not when you carry someone else’s

burden. Likewise, if you’re always blaming others, it’s

time to take responsibility for your part.

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Visualize Yourself Succeeding10
This is another strategy that at fi rst glance may appear too

simple to be effective, but it packs a powerful punch. Learn-

ing to self- manage well requires a lot of practice. Yet, many

of the situations that pose the greatest diffi culty for you

don’t come up all that often. So, you’ll have a hard time

forming the neural pathways needed to make your new

skills habitual . . . unless you learn to visualize.

Your brain has a diffi cult time distinguishing between

what you see with your eyes and what you visualize in your

mind. In fact, MRI scans of people’s brains taken while

they are watching the sun set are virtually indistinguishable

from scans taken when the same people visualize a sunset

in their mind. The same brain regions are active in both


Visualizing yourself managing your emotions and be-

havior effectively is a great way to practice your new skills

and make them into habits. For this to work, you might

want to do your visualization in a room that’s free from

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– M

distractions, as you’ll need to immerse yourself fully in the

scenes playing out in your head. A great time to visualize

is before you go to bed at night. Just close your eyes and

visualize yourself in situations where you have the most

diffi culty managing yourself. Focus on the details of each

situation that make it so hard for you to remain in control;

concentrate on the sights and sounds you would experi-

ence if you were actually there until you literally feel the

same emotions. Next, picture yourself acting the way you’d

like to (i.e. calming your nerves and proceeding confi –

dently during a big presentation, dealing with someone

who pushes your buttons without losing your cool, etc.).

Imagine yourself doing and saying the right things and

allow yourself to feel the satisfaction and positive emotions

that come from this. Not a bad way to end the day, don’t

you think? Use this strategy nightly and incorporate new,

challenging situations as they surface.

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Clean Up Your Sleep Hygiene11
Self- management requires patience, fl exibility, and alert-

ness, which are the fi rst things to go when you don’t get a

good night’s sleep. Getting more sleep at night will proba-

bly help you manage yourself better, but not necessarily.

The critical factor for an alert, focused, and balanced mind

is the quality of your sleep, and for quality sleep you need

good sleep hygiene.

While you sleep, your brain literally recharges, shuffl ing

through the day’s memories and storing or discarding them

(which causes dreams), so that you wake up alert and

clear- headed. Your brain is very fi ckle when it comes to

sleep. It needs to move through an elaborate series of cycles

for you to wake feeling rested. You can help this along and

improve the quality of your sleep by following these steps

for good sleep hygiene:

1. Get twenty minutes of morning sunlight. Your eyes

need at least twenty minutes of pre- noon sunlight

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– M

(cloudy days are fi ne) to reset your inner clock, which

makes it easier to fall asleep in the evening. The light

can’t be fi ltered by windows or sunglasses. So, take the

glasses off and crack your car windows on the way to

work, or fi nd some time to get outdoors before lunch-


2. Turn off the computer at least two hours before bed-

time. The light of a computer screen right in front of

your face late at night is similar enough to sunlight that

it tricks your brain, making it diffi cult to fall asleep and

disruptive to the quality of your sleep.

3. Keep your bed for sleeping. The best way to check out

the moment you hit the mattress is to avoid working or

watching television in bed. Save your bed for sleep and

your body will respond.

4. Avoid caffeine, especially in the p.m. Caffeine has a

six-hour half- life. Have a cup of joe at eight a.m., and

you’ll still have 25 percent of the caffeine in your body

at eight p.m. Caffeine keeps you from falling asleep and

is extremely disruptive to the quality of your sleep. It’s

best avoided all together, or at least taken in small

amounts and only before noon.

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Focus Your Attention on Your
Freedoms, Rather than Your

Life isn’t fair . . . there’s nothing you can do about it . . . it isn’t

up to you. Moms and dads tend to beat these mantras into

their children’s heads as if there were some secret Mommy

and Daddy Handbook that instructed them to do so. What

your folks forgot to explain is that you always have a choice—

a choice in how you respond to what’s before you. Even when

you can’t do or say anything to change a diffi cult situation,

you always have a say in your perspective of what’s happen-

ing, which ultimately infl uences your feelings about it.

Many times you can’t change a situation or even the

parties involved, but that doesn’t mean it’s time for you to

give up. When you fi nd yourself thinking that you have no

control, take a closer look at how you are reacting to the

situation itself. Focusing on restrictions is not only demor-

alizing—it helps negative feelings surface that confi rm your

sense of helplessness. You must take accountability for what

you have control over, and focus your energy on remaining

fl exible and open- minded in spite of the situation.

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– M

Stay Synchronized13
FBI agents spend much of their time trying to fi gure out

whether suspects are lying. They study body language, voice

infl ections, and eye contact. The biggest clue that someone

is lying occurs when synchrony—body language that matches

the emotions being expressed—is absent.

Synchrony is also an important tool for effective

self- managers. When you are doing a good job of managing

your emotions, your body language will fi t the emotional

tone of the situation. When you can’t keep your body lan-

guage in check, it is a clear sign that your emotions are

getting the best of you.

When a commercial airliner crash- landed safely in New

York’s Hudson River in 2009, the pilot, Chelsea “Sully”

Sullenberger, saved every soul onboard by making sure the

plane hit the water at the exact angle and speed needed to

avoid breaking up upon impact. To accomplish this, he

silenced the alarm bells going off in his head and the fear

he was feeling. He kept his composure by directing his

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attention away from fear and onto landing the plane. He

kept his emotions from taking the controls, even though he

knew the chances for survival were slim.

On most days, you won’t be crash- landing airplanes,

but, if you’re like most people, you’ll have moments where

your emotions are getting the better of you. To keep your-

self synchronized, direct your attention away from your

emotions and on to the task at hand.

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– M

Speak to Someone Who is Not
Emotionally Invested in Your

When problems arise, your brain is constantly thinking,

constantly sorting and analyzing information to decide the

best course of action. The problem is, the only information

your brain has to go on is what you’ve given it—what you’ve

seen before and what’s happening now. The way our minds

are structured, it’s far too easy to get stuck in a single train

of thought. Allow this to happen and you’re severely limit-

ing your options.

It’s no wonder that it can be such a relief to talk to

someone when you are feeling confused or emotional about

a situation. Not only is it helpful to talk to someone who

cares about how you are feeling, but new perspectives open

up additional avenues for you to explore.

When a diffi cult situation surfaces, seek out someone

whom you trust and feel comfortable with who is not per-

sonally affected by your situation. Use this person as a

sounding board for what you’ve experienced and what you

are thinking and feeling about the troubling situation.

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Their unique perspective will help you to see things differ-

ently, and expand your options.

Choose your third party wisely. The people you invite

to help you shouldn’t have a vested interest in the situation.

The more your “counselors” are personally affected by the

situation, the more their perspectives are going to be tainted

by their own needs and feelings. The opinions of people

directly affected by your situation will only muddy the wa-

ters for you and should be avoided at all costs. You should

also avoid someone you know will simply agree with you.

While their support feels good, it keeps you from seeing the

entire picture. Sitting down with a potential devil’s advo-

cate may irk you in the moment, but you’ll fare far better

having seen things from a unique perspective.

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– M

Learn a Valuable Lesson from
Everyone You Encounter15

Think back to a time when a conversation immediately put

you on the defensive. There you were, forcefully gripping

your sword and shield, ready to do battle. Maybe someone

criticized you, or a colleague disagreed with you strongly,

or perhaps someone questioned your motives. As odd as it

may sound, in moments like these you are missing out on

a valuable opportunity to learn from other people. Ap-

proaching everyone you encounter as though they have

something valuable to teach you—something that you will

benefi t from—is the best way to remain fl exible,

open- minded, and much less stressed.

You can do this with pretty much any situation that

happens in your life. Let’s say you are driving to work and

someone cuts you off and then swerves around a corner and

motors off in another direction. Even this inconsiderate

jerk has something to teach you. Perhaps you need to learn

to have more patience with irritating people. Or it may

make you grateful that you are not in such a hurry. It is

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much more diffi cult to get angry, defensive, and stressed

when you are trying to learn something from the other


The next time you fi nd yourself caught off-guard and

on the defensive, embrace this opportunity to learn some-

thing. Whether you learn from the other person’s feedback,

or just from how they are behaving, keeping this perspec-

tive is the key to keeping yourself in control.

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– M

Put a Mental Recharge into
Your Schedule16

The physical benefi ts of exercise are obvious, and there al-

ways seems to be someone—a doctor, a friend, an article—

reminding us that we need to do it more. What most

people don’t realize is how critical exercise and other relax-

ing and recharging activities are to the mind. If you want

to become an adept self- manager, you need to give your

mind a fi ghting chance, and a lot of this, surprisingly, comes

down to how you treat your body.

When you take time out of your day to get your blood

fl owing and keep your body healthy, it gives your mind an

important break—the most signifi cant rest and recharge

you can give your brain beyond sleep. While intense phys-

ical activity is ideal, other more relaxing and equally in-

vigorating diversions can also have a great effect on your

mind. Yoga, massage, gardening or a stroll through the

park are all relaxing ways to give your mind a breather.

These activities—though none more so than vigorous ex-

ercise—release chemicals in your brain like serotonin and

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endorphins that recharge it and help to keep you happy

and alert. They also engage and strengthen areas in your

brain that are responsible for good decision- making, plan-

ning, organization, and rational thinking.

For most of us the biggest challenge in implementing

this strategy is fi nding the time to squeeze these things into

our day. They tend to tumble down our priority list as

work, family, and friends monopolize our days. If you rec-

ognize recharging your mind for what it is—a maintenance

activity that’s as important to your brain as brushing your

teeth is for your mouth—it’s easier to schedule it into your

calendar at the start of the week, rather than waiting to see

if you fi nd the time. If you want to improve your

self- management skills, implementing this strategy will be

well worth the effort.

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– M

Accept That Change is Just
around the Corner17

. . . admit to yourself
that even the most
stable, trusted facets
of your life are not
completely under your

None of us is born with a crystal ball that predicts the

future. Since you can’t foresee every change and every ob-

stacle that life throws in your path, the key to navigating

change successfully is your perspective before changes even


The idea here is to prepare for change. This is not so

much a guessing game where you test your accuracy in an-

ticipating what’s next, but rather thinking through the con-

sequences of potential changes

so that you aren’t caught off

guard if they surface. The fi rst

step is to admit to yourself that

even the most stable, trusted

facets of your life are not com-

pletely under your control.

People change, businesses go through ebbs and fl ows, and

things just don’t stay the same for long. When you allow

yourself to anticipate change—and understand your options

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if changes occur—you prevent yourself from getting bogged

down by strong emotions like shock, surprise, fear and dis-

appointment when changes actually happen. While you’re

still likely to experience these negative emotions, your ac-

ceptance that change is an inevitable part of life enables you

to focus and think rationally, which is critical to making the

most out of an unlikely, unwanted or otherwise unforeseen


The best way to implement this strategy fully is to set

aside a small amount of time either every week or every

other week to create a list of important changes that you

think could possibly happen. These are the changes you’ll

want to be prepared for. Leave enough room below each

change on your list to write out all the possible actions you

will take should the change occur. And below that, jot

down ideas for things that you can do now to prepare for

that change. What are the signs that you can keep an eye

out for that would suggest the change is imminent? Should

you see these signs, is there anything you can do to prepare

and soften the blow? Even if the changes on your list never

come to fruition, just anticipating change and knowing

what you’d do in response to it makes you a more fl exible

and adaptive person overall.

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Have you ever had a coworker approach you, and with-out you saying anything, he understood what kind of
day you were having and where your mind was wandering?

He knew you must have come from a meeting with so- and- so

because he could “see it” all over your face. He knew it was

probably time to let you vent, instead of asking for that favor

he had in mind. He must have picked up on something.

Or how about that waitress who seems to “just know”

what each of her customers need: one couple is in their own

world and prefers to be alone; another couple welcomes

some fresh conversation from a new person, while another

table wants professional and polite service, minus the small

talk. Everyone’s sitting at a table to eat and drink and be

served, and yet there’s so much below the surface that makes

each table unique. How does she quickly size up these tables

and know their needs?

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Both this perceptive coworker and the waitress have a

high level of social awareness, a skill they use to recognize

and understand the moods of other individuals and entire

groups of people. Though these two may be seasoned vet-

erans at this, it is a skill that they most likely learned and

practiced over time.

Instead of looking inward to learn about and under-

stand yourself, social awareness is looking outward to learn

about and appreciate others. Social awareness is centered on

your ability to recognize and understand the emotions of

others. Tuning into others’ emotions as you interact with

them will help you get a more accurate view of your sur-

roundings, which affects everything from relationships to

the bottom line.

To build your social awareness skills, you will fi nd your-

self observing people in all kinds of situations. You may be

observing someone from afar while you’re in a checkout

line, or you may be right in the middle of a conversation

observing the person to whom you are speaking. You will

learn to pick up on body language, facial expressions, pos-

tures, tone of voice, and even what is hidden beneath the

surface, like deeper emotions and thoughts.

One of the intriguing things about building an acute

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sense of social awareness is that emotions, facial expres-

sions, and body language have been shown to translate

across many different cultures. You can use these skills

wherever you are.

The lens you look through must be clear. Making sure

you are present and able to give others your full attention

is the fi rst step to becoming more socially aware. Looking

outward isn’t just about using your eyes: it means tapping

into your senses. Not only can you fully utilize your basic

fi ve senses, but you can also include the vast amount of

information coming into your brain through your sixth

sense, your emotions. Your emotions can help you notice

and interpret cues other people send you. These cues will

give you some help in putting yourself in the other person’s


The 17 strategies in this section will help you tackle the

obstacles that get in your way and provide you with a help-

ing hand when the going gets tough. You can only attend

to so much, so it’s critical to pick up on the right signals.

These proven social awareness strategies will help you do

just that.

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1. Greet People by Name
2. Watch Body Language
3. Make Timing Everything
4. Develop a Back- Pocket Question
5. Don’t Take Notes at Meetings
6. Plan Ahead for Social Gatherings
7. Clear Away the Clutter
8. Live in the Moment
9. Go on a 15-minute Tour
10. Watch EQ at the Movies
11. Practice the Art of Listening
12. Go People Watching
13. Understand the Rules of the Culture Game
14. Test for Accuracy
15. Step into Their Shoes
16. Seek the Whole Picture
17. Catch the Mood of the Room

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1 Greet People by Name

Maybe you’ve been named after a special relative or family

friend, or maybe you have a nickname that abbreviates your

long last name. Whatever the story is behind your name,

it’s an essential part of your identity. It feels so good when

people use your name and remember it.

Greeting someone by name is one of the most basic and

infl uential social awareness strategies you can adopt. It’s a

personal and meaningful way

to engage someone. If you have

a tendency to withdraw in so-

cial situations, greeting some-

one by name is a simple way to

stick your neck out; using

someone’s name breaks down

barriers and comes across as warm and inviting. Even if you

are a social butterfl y, greeting people by name is a strategy

to live by.

Enough said about the value of greeting by name. Now

Whatever the story is
behind your name, it’s
an essential part of
your identity. It feels so
good when people use
your name and
remember it.

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let’s talk about following through. If names are usually on

the tip of your tongue, you claim to be “great with faces,

but not names,” or you can’t seem to remember anyone’s

name 30 seconds after you hear it—make this the month

to practice saying, “Hello, [name],” to someone each time

you enter a room and to those you’re introduced to. Re-

membering a person’s name is a brain exercise—practice

may be required. If a name sounds unusual to you, ask the

person to spell it for you so you can picture the name writ-

ten. This will help you remember it later. Be sure to use the

person’s name at least twice during the conversation.

Greeting people by their names not only acknowledges

them as the essence of who they are, but also allows you to

remain connected to them in more than just a superfi cial

way. By making it a goal to remember someone’s name

when you meet or greet him or her, you are focusing your

mind, which will only increase your awareness in social


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2 Watch Body Language

Ask professional poker players what they study most care-

fully about their opponents, and they will tell you they look

for small changes in behavior that indicate a player’s confi –

dence in his hand.

They check posture, eye movement, hand gestures, and

facial expressions. The confi dent player with bravado is

often the bluff, while the quiet hand is the royal fl ush wait-

ing to sneak up from behind. For professional poker play-

ers, reading body language is a matter of winning or going

home empty- handed. Acute social awareness skills literally

make or break them.

It’s just as important for us to become expert readers of

body language; we’ll know how people are really feeling and

can plan an appropriate response. To get a complete read

from a person, do a head- to- toe body language assessment.

Start with the head and face. The eyes communicate more

than any other part of the human anatomy. You can get a

lot of information from them, but be careful not to stare.

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Maintained eye contact can show if a person is trustworthy,

sincere, or caring. Shifty eyes or too much blinking can

suggest deception. People whose eye movements are relaxed

yet attentive to the person they are conversing with are

more sincere and honest.

Next, look at the person’s smile. Is it authentic or

forced? Researchers can tell the difference. They look for a

crinkle of skin in the corner of the eyes, and if it is not

there, the smile is probably fake. Authentic smiles change

rapidly from a small facial movement to a broad open ex-


Once you’ve fi nished with the face, move to the shoul-

ders, torso, and limbs. Are the shoulders slouched or held

naturally upright? Are the arms, hands, legs, and feet calm

or fi dgety? The body communicates nonstop and is an

abundant source of information, so purposefully watch

body language during meetings, friendly encounters, and

fi rst introductions. Once you tune into body language, its

messages will become loud and clear, and you’ll soon notice

cues and be able to call someone’s bluff.

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3 Make Timing Everything

You’ve probably heard the phrase “timing is everything” to

explain hundreds of situations and scenarios. When dealing

with people and their emotions, timing really is everything.

You don’t ask for a raise when business is not going well,

you don’t try to correct someone who feels threatened by

you, and you don’t ask for a favor when someone is under

a lot of stress or angry.

To practice your timing as it relates to social awareness,

start working on your timing with asking questions. The

goal is to ask the right questions at the right time with the

right frame of mind, all with your audience in mind.

Just think about how it would go over if you were talk-

ing with a colleague who is venting about her spouse. She

is concerned about her marriage, and is showing more emo-

tion than ever. As a response, you blurt out the question,

“Have you thought about what ideas you have for the proj-

ect proposal yet?” She stares at you blankly and is

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blindsided by your question. Her face drops. The conversa-

tion is


In this case, the timing, the question, and the frame of

mind were wrong. You asked the right question at the right

time for you; but the time and frame of mind of the other

person were way off. Remember, this isn’t about you—it’s

about the other person. An appropriate question at that

time for her frame of mind would have been, “Is there any-

thing I can do for you?” Most likely, she would’ve appreci-

ated your concern, and calmed down. At that point, you

could’ve gently asked your question, most likely acknowl-

edging that the timing was still a little off.

As you practice your timing, remember that the key to

social awareness is focusing on others, instead of on your-

self, so that you can be more effective.

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4 Develop a Back- pocket Question
Sometimes conversations just don’t go as planned. Either

the other person isn’t talking as much as you expected, or

you are getting one- word answers. A 10-second chunk of

silence feels like an eternity; you cringe because it is so

awkward. You need to pull something out of your back

pocket fast. How about a handy back- pocket question?

A back- pocket question is what you use just in case to

bail you out of any awkward silence or uncomfortable mo-

ment. This social awareness strategy buys you time so you

can get to know someone better and shows the other person

that you are interested in his or her thoughts, feelings, and

ideas. It can be something like: “What do you think about

[fi ll in blank]?” Pick from a handful of issues that require

some explanation like work or current events, but avoid

politics, religion, and other potentially sensitive areas.

The versatile conversationalist knows exactly when to

pull out his or her back- pocket question—the conversation

needs a kick start, and you’re just not ready to give up yet.

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It may feel like an abrupt subject change. Don’t worry; if it

injects life into the conversation, you’ve done well. If there’s

still dead air, it might be time to politely include someone

else in the conversation or excuse yourself to refi ll your


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5 Don’t Take Notes at Meetings

It’s been hammered into our heads that if we want to be

successful, we need to learn to juggle a hectic workload

and take on more and more. With multi- tasking, the

more you can juggle, the more successful you are, right?

Wrong. Multi- tasking actually sacrifi ces your quality of

work, as the brain is simply incapable of performing at a

high level in multiple activities at once.

Let’s say you’re in a meeting where several ideas are

being shared. Pros and cons of each idea are tossed about

the room. Though the notes are being captured on fl ip-

charts, you prefer to take your own so you don’t miss any

details. As you fi nish your last thoughts, suddenly Oscar’s

voice shifts abruptly from an even tone to one that’s clearly

annoyed. A terse exchange between Oscar and Melinda

ensues. You review your notes and can’t fi nd the cause of

this shift. What just happened? You missed critical de-


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By having your head focused on your tablet and your

hand scribbling away, you miss the critical clues that shed

some major light on how others are feeling or what they

may be thinking. Someone who wants the whole story

and complete picture observes others without the distrac-

tion of phones, typing, or writing. Instead, he or she

simply observes. Remember, the main goal of social aware-

ness is to recognize and understand how others are think-

ing and feeling. To do this, you need to focus on other


A great place to observe others is at meetings. There’s

already a captive audience, and

usually there’s minimal distrac-

tion with email and phone—

but there’s the mighty pen. At

your next meeting, don’t take

notes. Instead, look at each per-

son’s face and notice his or her

expressions. Make eye contact

with whoever is speaking. You

will feel more engaged and focused on others, and pick up

on things that pen and paper surely miss.

By having your head
focused on your tablet
and your hand
scribbling away, you
miss the critical clues
that shed some major
light on how others are
feeling or what they
may be thinking.

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Note- taking certainly has its value. But it doesn’t have

to be your modus operandi, either. If you need to take notes

for practical purposes, temporarily stop at intervals to prac-

tice observation.

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6 Plan Ahead for Social Gatherings
Picture yourself leaving a dinner party. You can’t believe you

forgot to bring the bread. You spent at least 10 minutes at

the party beating yourself up over it, and another 15 taking

ribbing from your breadless yet good- natured friends. As

you put your keys in the ignition, you suddenly remember

that you wanted to get Jack’s business card to call him about

a marketing venture, but the “bread incident” got you off

track. Then there’s Kate. She seemed down throughout din-

ner. Why didn’t you ask her about it when you were


You planned to attend this dinner, but did you plan for

it? Planning ahead for an event can be your saving grace,

whether the event’s a dinner party or a meeting for work.

If you walk through the door with a plan, you free up your

mental energy and brainpower so you can focus on the

present moment.

The next time you RSVP for an event, in your next

breath remind yourself to plan. On an index card, list who

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is going to be at the event and list any talking points or to

do’s. Don’t be shy—carry the list with you!

Now let’s replay the former party scenario, but this time

with your plan on paper and in tow. After you arrive, you

give the host that promised loaf of bread. Check. You spot

Jack in the kitchen, and move toward him to fi t in a quick

chat and request that business card. Check. With that done,

you notice that Kate is off—she looks somber. You notice

right away, not as an afterthought while you drive home.

You immediately address the alarm in your brain and pull

Kate aside to see if she needs to talk. She appreciates your

concern, smiles, and shares her story. With that, you both

return to the group and enjoy the meal in front of you.

A bit of planning will not just prepare you for the event;

planning will also help you enjoy the event more because

you’ll be less stressed and more present while you’re there.

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7 Clear Away the Clutter

To be socially aware, you must be socially present and re-

move distractions—especially the ones inside your head.

These internal distractions are much like clutter in your

garage or closet—there’s useful stuff in there, but it’s

crowded and hard to get to what you need. The solution:

clear away the clutter.

There are a few culprits that are worthy of spring clean-

ing. First, we all have conversations and chatter going on

inside our heads; we talk to ourselves constantly. We’re so

busy having these internal chats that we tune the outside

world out—which is counterproductive to social awareness.

The second culprit is a process where we form our responses

while the person we’re talking with is still in fact talking.

This, too, is counterproductive—it’s tough to listen to

yourself and the other person fully.

To clean up this internal clutter, there are some simple

steps to follow. When you are in a conversation, don’t inter-

rupt the other person until he or she is completely fi nished.

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Next, to squelch the voice that is planning your response,

it’s important to catch yourself in the act; and when you do,

stop yourself and clear away the clutter. Now refocus your-

self on the person’s face and words. If you need to, physi-

cally lean toward the speaker to focus your body into the

conversation. This awareness proves you’re making progress

because, at one time, you didn’t realize this pattern ex-


Remind yourself that you are in the conversation to

listen and learn something, not to wow the other person

with your insightful remarks. As you continue to be aware

of your clutter and clear it, you’ll become better at quiet-

ing your inner thoughts, and your listening skills will


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8 Live in the Moment

There’s no one better at living in the moment than a child.

A child does not think about what happened yesterday or

what he’s going to do later today. In the moment, he is

Superman, and while he is fi ghting the bad guys, nothing

else in the world exists.

Adults, on the other hand, worry about the past (Oh, I

should not have done that) and stress about the future (How

am I going to handle this tomorrow?). It’s impossible to focus

on the present while the future and the past loom. Social

awareness requires that you live in the moment as naturally

as a child does, so you can no-

tice what’s happening with oth-

ers right now.

Make being in the present

moment a habit; it will only lift

your social awareness skills.

Starting this month, if you are

at the gym, then be at the gym.

Remember, planning
the future and
refl ecting on the past
are valuable exercises,
but doing this
throughout your day
interferes with what is
in front of you—your


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If you are at a meeting, be at the meeting. Wherever you

are, be as present as possible so that you see the people

around you and experience life in the moment. If you

catch yourself being somewhere else mentally, snap back to

the present. Remember, planning the future and refl ecting

on the past are valuable exercises, but doing this through-

out your day interferes with what is in front of you—your


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9 Go on a 15-minute Tour

Didn’t someone say that life is about the journey, not the

destination? To become socially aware, we need to remem-

ber to enjoy the journey and notice people along the way.

When you are focused only on getting to the next meeting,

starting your next class period, seeing the next patient,

making it to all your client sites, or hurrying to send an

email, you’re missing all of the people between Points A

and B.

To commit some time to the journey, take some time

to walk around where you work and notice your surround-

ings. Going on a short tour will help you get in tune with

other people and their emotions, and refocus your atten-

tion on some of the smaller yet critical social clues that exist

right under your nose.

During any workday, take just 15 minutes to observe

things you’ve never noticed before. Things to look for in-

clude the look and feel of people’s workspaces, the timing

of when different people move around the offi ce, and which

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people seek interaction versus those who stay at their desks

all day.

After your fi rst observation tour, select a different day

to tour your workspace for moods. Other people’s moods

can provide you with critical hints about how things are

going both individually and collectively. Notice what peo-

ple may be feeling or how they make you feel when you

drop by to talk briefl y. Also observe the overall mood in the

offi ce or the school, patient care area, manufacturing

fl oor—whatever your work area looks like. Focus intently

on what you see, hear, and pick up on in other people.

Schedule 15 minutes to tour your workplace twice a

week for a month. On the days you tour, be sure to avoid

making too many assumptions or conclusions—just simply

observe. You’ll be amazed at what you see along the way.

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Watch EQ at the Movies10
Hollywood. It’s the entertainment capital of the world

known for glitz, glamour, and celebrity. Believe it or not,

Hollywood is also a hotbed of EQ, ripe for building your

social awareness skills.

After all, art imitates life, right? Movies are an abundant

source of EQ skills in action, demonstrating behaviors to

emulate or completely avoid. Great actors are masters at

evoking real emotion in themselves; as their characters are

scripted to do outrageous and obvious things, it’s easy to

observe the cues and emotions on- screen.

To build social awareness skills, you need to practice

being aware of what’s happening with other people; it

doesn’t matter if you practice using a box offi ce hero or a

real person. When you watch a movie to observe social

cues, you’re practicing social awareness. Plus, since you are

not living the situation, you’re not emotionally involved,

and the distractions are limited. You can use your mental

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energy to observe the characters instead of dealing with

your own life.

This month, make it a point to watch two movies spe-

cifi cally to observe the character interactions, relationships,

and confl icts. Look for body language clues to fi gure out

how each character is feeling and observe how the charac-

ters handle the confl icts. As more information about the

characters unfold, rewind and watch past moments to spot

clues you may have missed the fi rst time. Believe it or not,

watching movies from the land of make- believe is one of

the most useful and entertaining ways to practice your so-

cial awareness skills for the real world.

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11 Practice the Art of Listening

This sounds basic, almost too basic to mention, but listen-

ing is a strategy and a skill that is losing ground in society.

Most people think they are good listeners, but if adults

played “the Telephone Game” today, how accurate would

the fi nal message be? Listening requires focus, and focus

isn’t easy because we’re stretched in several directions.

Listening isn’t just about hearing words; it’s also about

listening to the tone, speed, and volume of the voice. What

is being said? Anything not being said? What hidden mes-

sages exist below the surface? You may have sat through a

speech or presentation where powerful words were chosen,

but the tone, speed, or volume didn’t match the power of

the words. Instead, these likely matched the speaker’s frame

of mind.

Here’s the strategy to practice: when someone is talking

to you, stop everything else and listen fully until the other

person is fi nished speaking. When you are on a phone call,

don’t type an email. When your son asks you a question,

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put your laptop down and look at him while you respond.

When you’re eating dinner with your family, turn off the

TV and listen to the conversation around the table. When

you’re meeting with someone, close the door and sit near

the person so you can focus and listen. Simple things like

these will help you stay in the present moment, pick up on

the cues the other person sends, and really hear what he or

she is saying.

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12 Go People Watching

Sometimes all you want to do is just sit back and watch the

world go by—or, in this case, people. Sit back at a table at

your local coffee shop and just observe all the people going

in and out with their grande, non- fat, extra- hot lattes or the

couples walking hand- in- hand on the street: you are actu-

ally engaging in one of the most effective social awareness

strategies yet.

When you take the time to observe, you will notice

people reveal their moods. Watch how people interact with

each other in the line at the local coffee shop, grocery store,

or other public places: these are great practice arenas. You

will see people looking at shelves in stores, and the pace at

which they move. You can keep a safe distance and use this

as a trial run in spotting the body language or nonverbal

cues to tip you off to what people are feeling or thinking.

People watching is a safe way for you to pick up on

signals, observe interactions, and fi gure out underlying mo-

tivations or emotions without entering into the interaction

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yourself. Being able to identify moods and emotions of oth-

ers is a huge part of social awareness, and often, these are

things that fl y under your radar. So, in the next week, head

out to your local coffee shop, grab a beverage that strikes

your fancy, and get comfortable—because it’s the perfect

place to work on social awareness.

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13 Understand the Rules of the Culture Game
Social awareness extends beyond just picking up on another

person’s emotional cues. Let’s say you start a new job at a

company. To be successful, you will need to learn how

things are done in this company’s culture. You are assigned

to share an offi ce with Lac Su. To be successful with Lac,

you’ll also need to learn how Lac’s cultural and family back-

ground infl uences his expectations of you as an offi ce mate.

You can’t interpret his actions or reactions until you learn

Lac’s rules of the game.

Rules? Much of doing and saying the right things in

social situations comes from understanding the rules of the

culture game. Our world is a melting pot of vastly different

cultures. These cultures interact, live, and conduct business

with each other according to very specifi c rules. There is no

way around it, and it is a requirement to learn how to be-

come emotionally intelligent across cultures.

The secret to winning this culture game is to treat

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others how they want to be treated, not how you would

want to be treated. The trick is identifying the different

rules for each culture. To make matters even more compli-

cated, the rules you should be watching for and mastering

include the rules not only of ethnic culture but also of fam-

ily and business culture.

How do you go about mastering multiple sets of rules

at once? The fi rst step is to listen and watch even more and

for a longer period of time than you would with people

from your own culture. Collect multiple observations and

think before you jump to conclusions. Consider yourself

new in town, and before you open your mouth and insert

your foot, observe other people’s interactions. Look for

similarities and differences between how you would play

the game versus how others are playing it.

Next, ask specifi c questions. This may require talking

in settings outside meetings or on the sidelines. Many cul-

tures, both business and ethnic, value social interaction

around meals before getting down to business. There is wis-

dom in this approach because social interaction raises social

awareness for both parties and prepares them for playing by

the rules of the game.

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14 Test for Accuracy

Even the most socially aware people have off- days or situa-

tions they can’t quite read. Maybe there’s so much interfer-

ence and activity with people or the room that it’s diffi cult

to get a good reading in the midst of the hectic pace. Or

perhaps these socially aware people are almost sure they

know what’s going on but need some validation of their

observations. In these cases, there’s a social awareness strat-

egy to get the answers you need: just ask.

Just ask? Remember, there’s no such thing as a silly ques-

tion. Whether you’re a novice or an expert in social aware-

ness, we all need to confi rm social observations at some

point. The best way to test your accuracy is to simply ask if

what you’re observing in people or situations is actually

what’s occurring.

Maybe you have run into Steve at work and noticed

that he has a sullen look on his face with his head hang-

ing low and his eyes never looking up from the ground.

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You ask how he is doing, and he says he is doing “just

fi ne.”

Your evidence is telling you otherwise—he says he’s

fi ne, but he doesn’t appear to be fi ne. In this moment,

ask a refl ective question to clarify what you are seeing.

Say something like, “It looks like you are feeling down

about something. Did something happen?” Simply stat-

ing what evidence you see (it looks like you are feeling

down) and asking a direct question (did something hap-

pen?) is a refl ective statement at its best. You will likely

hear whatever he wants you to know for now; but you’ve

reached out to Steve and let him know that you are


Another type of question that tests for accuracy fo-

cuses on unspoken messages—or what wasn’t necessarily

said. Since people don’t always openly and directly say

how they feel about something, they’ll drop hints. If you

feel comfortable asking, this is a great opportunity to

see if you picked up on the hints and what you think

they meant. You will also have the opportunity to catch

your mistakes if you’ve jumped to conclusions or missed

a cue.

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Testing your observations for accuracy will ultimately

give you a keener understanding of social situations, and

help you pick up on cues that usually fl y under the radar.

If you don’t ask, you’ll never be sure.

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15 Step into Their Shoes

Actors do this all the time—they walk in characters’ shoes

for a living. Actors channel the same emotions and feelings,

embodying the minds and motivations of the characters.

It’s how actors with great, healthy upbringings are able to

play the most convincing, dysfunctional characters—and

vice versa. After actors’ work is complete, instead of com-

plaining about the process, they often report that they come

to appreciate the characters they inhabit—even if it’s the

bad guy.

Walking in the shoes of another is social awareness at

its best—and it’s not just for actors. It’s for all of us who

want to gain perspective and a deeper understanding of

others, improve our communication, and identify prob-

lems before they escalate. If you don’t think you need this,

when was the last time you thought, I wish I had known

that Jane felt that way. If you’re wishing, it’s already too late;

wouldn’t it be more useful to catch Jane sooner in the situ-


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To practice this strategy, you need to ask yourself ques-

tions that start with, “If I were this person . . .” Let’s say

you’re in a meeting and someone puts Jim on the spot,

questioning decisions he made on a project that had issues.

If you were the one who had to answer the question, your

tendencies would put you on the defensive. But, remember,

this isn’t about you—it’s now about Jim. Put away your

own beliefs, emotions, thinking patterns, and tendencies—

it’s about experiencing this situation as Jim. Ask yourself, If

I were Jim, how would I respond to this question? To answer

this, use your previous history with Jim to help you under-

stand him: how he’s reacted in similar situations in the past,

how he deals with being put on the spot, how he handles

himself in groups and one- on- one. How did he act, and

what did he say? This is all critical information.

How do you know if you’re on target? If you’re comfort-

able with Jim and the timing is right, approach him after

the meeting and test your thoughts. If you’re not comfort-

able with Jim, practice using another situation with some-

one else and test your thoughts. The more you practice and

get feedback, the more comfortable you’ll become in the

shoes of others.

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Seek the Whole Picture16
Since we see ourselves through our own rose- colored glasses,

chances are we’re seeing only part of the picture. If you had

the opportunity, would you be willing to see yourself

through the eyes of those who know you best? Looking

outward and seeking this feedback are key to social aware-

ness, because this gives us the chance to see how others view

us—to see the whole picture.

Taking advantage of this opportunity requires courage

and strength to invite your fans, as well as your critics, to get

down to the nitty- gritty and honestly share their percep-

tions of you. What if they’re wrong? What if they’re harsh?

What if they’re right?

Regardless of the answers, their perceptions matter be-

cause others’ opinions of you infl uence you and your life.

For example, if people think you are passive in meetings

when you simply need time to think before speaking, their

perceptions begin to shape what opportunities are offered

to you. Soon your boss is passing you over for chairing a

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committee because you are perceived as passive instead of


The best method for seeing how others perceive you is

simple and powerful. For matters of EQ, you can send a

360-degree survey that asks you and other people questions

about your self- awareness, self- management, social aware-

ness, and relationship management skills. The result is a

complete picture of your own and others’ perceptions. Be-

lieve it or not, what others say about you is usually more

accurate than what you think about yourself. Nonetheless,

whatever these perceptions are, becoming aware is impor-

tant so you know how they will shape you.

Muster some of that strength and gather other people

to help you out in understanding yourself a bit more

through their eyes. Other than becoming a fl y on the wall

or videotaping yourself, this is what it takes to see yourself

in action through the eyes of others.

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17 Catch the Mood of the Room

Once you’ve mastered reading the cues and emotions of

other people, you’re ready to read an entire room. It may

sound daunting, but it’s what you’ve already learned about

social awareness—just on a larger scale.

Essentially, there are two ways to pick up the mood of

an entire room. First, you can rely solely on your gut in-

stincts. Emotions are contagious, meaning they spread from

one or two people until there’s

a palpable and collective mood

that you will feel at some level.

For example, imagine walking

into a room of 125 entrepre-

neurs who are networking and

sharing their ideas. It’s pretty

likely that there would be ex-

citement and positive energy there, and it wouldn’t take

long to become aware of it. You’d hear their voice levels and

tones, and see the focused and interested posture and body

Emotions are
contagious, meaning
they spread from one
or two people until
there’s a palpable and
collective mood that
you will feel at some

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language. Now imagine walking into a room of 125 people

waiting to be chosen for jury duty. The room is quiet; peo-

ple are trying to distract themselves with reading material,

music, and anything else to pass the time. Even though it’s

our civic duty to attend, hardly anyone wants to be there.

The two moods are like night and day.

Here’s how you can catch the mood of the room. When

you enter the room, scan it and notice whether you feel and

see energy or quiet, subdued calm. Take notice of how peo-

ple are arranging themselves—alone or in groups. Are they

talking and moving their hands? Are some more animated

than others? What is your gut telling you about them?

Another way to read the mood of the room is to bring

along a more experienced guide, much like you would on

an African safari. Your guide should be a socially aware

expert willing to show you the ropes when it comes to tap-

ping into your instincts and picking up the room’s mood.

Shadow your guide and listen to what he feels and sees. Ask

what he senses and what clues gave the mood away. Eventu-

ally, you should be the one to take the lead. Size up the

room and share and compare your thoughts with your

guide. Through this exercise, you will soon pick up on

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observations like your guide does, in time doing so on your


Human nature and behavior may not be that far from

what happens on the open African savannah. The sooner

you can hone your ability to spot safety, concern, or shifts

in moods in group settings, the more skilled you will be in

maneuvering through the social wilds of your life.

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Most people have a spring in their step and put their best foot forward when they are in a new relation-
ship (work or otherwise), but they stumble and lose their

footing trying to maintain relationships over the long term.

Reality soon sets in that the honeymoon phase is offi cially


The truth is, all relationships take work, even the great

ones that seem effortless. We’ve all heard this, but do we

really get it?

Working on a relationship takes time, effort, and

know- how. The know- how is emotional intelligence. If you

want a relationship that has staying power and grows over

time, and in which your needs and the other person’s needs

are satisfi ed, the fi nal EQ skill—relationship manage-

ment—is just what the doctor ordered.

Thankfully, these relationship management skills can

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be learned, and they tap into the three other EQ skills that

you’re familiar with— self- awareness, self- management, and

social awareness. You use your self- awareness skills to notice

your feelings and judge if your needs are being satisfi ed.

You use your self- management skills to express your feelings

and act accordingly to benefi t the connection. Finally, you

use your social awareness skills to better understand the

other person’s needs and feelings.

In the end, no man is an island; relationships are an

essential and fulfi lling part of life. Since you are half of any

relationship, you have half of the responsibility of deepen-

ing these connections. The following 17 strategies will help

you work on what’s critical to making relationships work.

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1. Be Open and Be Curious
2. Enhance Your Natural Communication Style
3. Avoid Giving Mixed Signals
4. Remember the Little Things That Pack a Punch
5. Take Feedback Well
6. Build Trust
7. Have an “ Open- door” Policy
8. Only Get Mad on Purpose
9. Don’t Avoid the Inevitable
10. Acknowledge the Other Person’s Feelings
11. Complement the Person’s Emotions or Situation
12. When You Care, Show It
13. Explain Your Decisions, Don’t Just Make Them
14. Make Your Feedback Direct and Constructive
15. Align Your Intention with Your Impact
16. Offer a “ Fix- it” Statement during a Broken

17. Tackle a Tough Conversation

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1 Be Open and Be Curious

We can imagine a few readers thinking, “Oh brother, I

have to be open and curious with people at work? Can I

just work on my projects and what I was hired to do,

minus the touchy- feely stuff?” Actually, establishing, build-

ing, and maintaining relationships are all part of your

job—even if you work with just one other person. Main-

taining relationships may not be on your job description

and may not have even been discussed, but for you to be

successful, being open and curious is absolutely, unequivo-

cally part of your job.

Let’s explore what “open” means in terms of relation-

ship management. Being open means sharing information

about yourself with others. You can use your self- management

skills to choose how open you are and what you share, but

know that there’s a benefi t to opening up that may help you

with your choices: when people know about you, there’s

less room for them to misinterpret you. For example, if you

are particularly sensitive about showing up fi ve minutes

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early to meetings, and get annoyed when people stroll in at

the very beginning of the meeting or even a little late, some

people might interpret you as being uptight and rigid. If

you shared with these same people that you were in the

Marines for the fi rst years of your career, your coworkers

would understand and maybe even appreciate your sense of

timing and courtesy. Who knows, your punctuality might

even rub off!

Being an open book on your end isn’t the whole story

with managing a relationship—you also need to be inter-

ested in the other person’s story as well. In other words, you

need to be curious. The more you show interest in and

learn about the other person, the better shot you have at

meeting his or her needs and not misinterpreting them.

When you ask questions, draw from your social aware-

ness skills to choose an appropriate setting and time. Be

inquisitive in your tone—similar to how Santa Claus asks

a child what he’d like for Christmas. The opposite tone is

judgmental—think of someone who’s ever asked you a

question like, “Why on earth did you buy a motorcycle?”

or “You majored in philosophy? What did you plan to do

with THAT?”

When you ask questions and this person opens up, you

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will not only learn information that will help you manage

the relationship, but the other person will also appreciate

the interest shown in him or her. If you are beginning a new

relationship, in an established one, or even if you’re in a

rough patch, take a few minutes out of your day to identify

a few relationships that need some attention, and make

time to be open and curious with these people.

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2 Enhance Your Natural Communication Style
Whether it’s putting your two cents in when others are

talking to you or shying away from a disagreement, your

natural communication style shapes your relationships.

Now you have the opportunity to use your self- awareness,

self- management, and social awareness skills to shape your

natural style.

At the top of a page in a journal, describe what your

natural style is. You can call it whatever you would like.

Think about how your friends, family, and colleagues ex-

perience your style. Is it direct, indirect, comfortable, seri-

ous, entertaining, discreet, controlled, chatty, intense,

curious, cool, intrusive? You name it because you’ve likely

heard about it more than once.

On the left side of the paper, jot down the upsides of

your natural style. These are the things people appreciate

about how you interact with them. On the right side, list

the downsides or things that have created confusion, weird

reactions, or trouble.

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Once your list is complete, choose three upsides that

you can use more to improve your communication. Next,

choose three downsides, and think about ways you can ei-

ther eliminate, downplay, or improve them. Be honest with

yourself about what you will or won’t do. If you need help

fi guring out what will give you the biggest results, just ask

your friends, coworkers, and family for their suggestions.

Making your plan public will also build in accountability

that can help you make a lasting improvement in your re-


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3 Avoid Giving Mixed Signals

We all rely on stoplights to safely direct us through intersec-

tions dozens of times each week. When the stoplights aren’t

working, and the lights either blink to proceed with caution

or are out altogether, the intersection transforms into an

every-man- for- himself situation. People are confused; and

when it’s their turn to cross, they gingerly look all ways

before moving ahead. With functioning stoplights, we have

confi dence in the system because it’s clear what we do—

stop on red, and go on green. It’s the same for signals that

we send to the people in our relationships.

Feelings express truth, and they have a way of rising to

the surface through our reactions and body language, de-

spite the words we choose. Telling your staff in a muted

voice and frowning face that they did a great job on the

product launch doesn’t match up; the words and the body

language are mixed. People trust what they see over what

they hear.

Even if you’re a good self- manager, your emotions rise

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to the surface. You experience many emotions every day,

and your brain can’t sort through every single one. When

you talk with someone, you may be saying one thing that’s

on your mind as your body reacts to an emotion you expe-

rienced minutes ago.

You confuse and frustrate others when you say one

thing and your body or tone say another. Over time, this

confusion will cause communication

issues that will affect your relation-

ships. To resolve the mixed signal

issue, use your self- awareness skills to

identify your emotions, and use your

self- management skills to decide which feelings to express

and how to express them.

Sometimes it might not be appropriate to match your

signals. Let’s say you become angry in a meeting and can’t

really show your emotion at that moment. Just put your

anger on the back burner for the moment, but don’t disre-

gard the feeling forever. Choose a time when you can ex-

press your anger: when it doesn’t work against you but

instead produces the most positive results. If your emotion

is strong enough and you can’t put off expressing it, your

best bet is to explain what’s happening (i.e., “If I seem

People trust
what they see
over what they

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distracted, it’s because I can’t stop worrying about a phone

call that went awry this morning”).

For the next month, pay close attention to matching

your tone and body language to what you are really trying

to say. Take mental note of those moments when you tell

someone that you are feeling fi ne, but your body, tone, or

demeanor is sending drastically different signals. When you

catch yourself sending a mixed signal, readjust to match it

or explain it.

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4 Remember the Little Things That Pack a Punch
It’s pretty obvious on any news channel, reality show, sit-

com, or newspaper that today’s media feed off the idea that

courtesy appears to be diminishing in modern society. With

the decline of good manners, there are fewer expressions of

appreciation. These days, in both personal and work- related

relationships, there are far too few “please’s,” “thank you’s,”

and “I’m sorry’s” being expressed.

Most workers will say that they never get thanked for

their contributions at work but yet will agree that hearing

“thank you,” “please,” or even “I’m sorry” can have a posi-

tive impact on morale.

Think about how often you really say “thank you,”

“please,” or “I’m sorry” when it is needed; if you don’t use

them often, it could be due to lack of time or habit, or

maybe even a bruised ego. Begin to make a habit of incor-

porating more of these phrases into your relationships. Or,

rather, please make it a habit to use more of these phrases

during your day. Thank you.

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5 Take Feedback Well


Feedback is a unique gift. It’s meant to help us improve in

ways that we perhaps cannot see on our own. Since you

never know exactly what you are going to receive, however,

feedback is sometimes like opening up a present and look-

ing inside to fi nd a pair of tiger- striped socks with red se-


The element of surprise can catch us off guard, so we

need to use our self- awareness skills to prepare ourselves for

that moment. What do I feel when I am on the spot and

surprised? How do I show it? With that awareness, move on

to your self- management skills: what response should I


To help you receive feedback well, let’s break it down.

First, consider the source of your feedback. This person

probably has a relevant perspective—he or she knows you

and has seen your performance—and has an interest in see-

ing you improve.

As you receive feedback, turn on your social awareness

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skills to listen and really hear what is being said. Ask clarify-

ing questions and ask for examples to better understand the

person’s perspective. Whether you agree with what was said

or not, thank the person for his or her willingness to share,

because it takes almost as much grace to give feedback as it

does to receive it.

After you receive the feedback, use your self- management

skills to decide your next steps; don’t feel pressured to rush

into action. Time can help you absorb the underlying point,

sort out your feelings and thoughts, and help you to decide

what to do about the feedback. Remember the Emotion vs.

Reason list?

Receiving feedback is probably the hardest part of the

process. Once you decide what to do with the feedback,

follow up with plans. Actually making adjustments will

show the person who gave you feedback that you value his

or her comments. Take the person’s feedback seriously and

try what he or she suggested. There may be no better way

to solidify your relationship with him or her.

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6 Build Trust


Have you ever been asked to “practice” trust? The exercise

looks like this: you have a partner, and you stand about fi ve

feet in front of the person with your back facing him. You

close your eyes, and on a count of three, you fall backward

toward the person so that he can catch you. When you’re

caught, everyone enjoys a laugh and is thankful neither

person wiped out. If only trust were a matter of good,

strong arms and steady balance.

An unknown author said, “Trust is a peculiar resource;

it is built rather than depleted by use.” Trust is something

that takes time to build, can be lost in seconds, and may be

our most important and most diffi cult objective in manag-

ing our relationships.

How is trust built? Open commu-

nication; willingness to share; consis-

tency in words, actions, and behavior

over time; and reliability in following

through on the agreements of the

“Trust is a
resource; it is
built rather than
depleted by

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relationship, just to name a few examples. It’s ironic that,

for most relationships, a certain level of trust needs to be

present in order for you to develop trust.

To build trust, use your self- awareness and self-

management skills to be the fi rst to lay some of yourself on

the line and share something about you. Remember, you

should share parts of yourself at a time; don’t feel like you

have to be a complete open book up front.

To manage your relationships, you need to manage

your trust of others, and their trust level of you is critical to

deepening your connection with others. Cultivating rela-

tionships and building trust take time. Identify the rela-

tionships in your life that need more trust, and use your

self- awareness skills to ask yourself what is missing. Use

your social awareness skills to ask the other person what

needs to happen to build trust—and listen to the answer.

Asking will show you care about the relationship, which

will help to build trust, and deepen the rela


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Have an “ Open- door” Policy7


Here’s a quick history lesson that you may remember: the

Open Door policy originated in 1899 when the United

States feared it would lose its trading privileges in the East.

The United States declared an “ open- door policy,” allowing

all trading nations access to the Chinese market.

Access: it’s an important word that sums up the

open- door concept. Access has moved swiftly beyond trad-

ing agreements and into the workplace. Today, a true

open- door policy allows any employee to talk to anyone at

any level, fostering upward communication through direct

and easy access to everyone below.

Ask those around you if you should adopt an open- door

policy to better manage your relationships. If you need to

be more accessible and show people they can have unsched-

uled, informal conversations with you, then adopting this

policy might be right up your alley.

Keep in mind you don’t have to stretch yourself too

thin by being there for everyone at anytime; you simply

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have to communicate your policy and then stick to it. Use

your self- awareness skills to identify how the policy works

for you, and manage yourself to make it work. Ongoing

observations of others, also known as social awareness,

should help you determine how it’s working, too.

Remember, increasing your accessibility can only im-

prove your relationships—it literally opens the door to

communication, even if it’s virtual (by email or phone).

People will feel valued and respected because of the time

you’re giving them; and you get the opportunity to learn

about others. At the end of the day, the policy’s a win for

you and a win for others.

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8 Only Get Mad on Purpose


“Anyone can become angry—that is easy. But to be angry

with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time,

for the right purpose, and in the right way, this is not


We can thank Greek philosopher Aristotle for those

words and enduring insight into managing our emotions

and relationships. If you can master this one, consider

your EQ journey a success. Anger is an emotion that

exists for a reason—anger is not an emotion to stifl e or

ignore. If you manage it properly and use it purpose-

fully, you can get results that enhance your relationships.


Think of the football coach who gets straight to the

point at halftime. His stern feedback grabs his players’

attention and focuses them for the second half. The

team returns refreshed, refocused, and ready to win; in

this case, the coach managed his emotions to motivate

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others to action. Expressing anger in appropriate ways

communicates your strong feelings and reminds people

of the gravity of a situation. Expressing anger too much

or at the wrong times desensitizes people to what you

are feeling, making it hard for others to take you se-


Using a strong emotion like anger to benefi t your rela-

tionships will take time to master, because hopefully you

don’t have daily opportunities to practice. There’s a lot of

behind- the- scenes preparation for this strategy, starting

with becoming aware of your anger.

Use your self- awareness skills to think about and defi ne

your varying degrees of anger—from what annoys you a

little to what sends you off the deep end. Write these down

and choose words that are specifi c and then write examples

to explain when you feel this way. Determine when you

should show your anger based on the criterion that if it’s

shared it will actually improve the relationship somehow.

To make your choices, use your social awareness skills to

think about the other people involved and their re-


Remember, relationship management is about making

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choices and acting with the goal of creating an honest, deep

connection with others. To do this, you need to be honest

with others and with yourself, which sometimes means

using anger with a purpose.

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9 Don’t Avoid the Inevitable

You and Marge work in the same shipping and receiving

department. She gets under your skin; if you could press a

button to ship her to another department, it would’ve been

done fi ve years ago. The problem is, no such button exists,

and there’s no chance of change. To add fuel to the fi re,

your boss has just given you and Marge a large project to

work on together. She suggests meeting for lunch to talk

about the next steps, and you generate a fast list of reasons

why you can’t make it. You have offi cially brushed Marge

off. Now what? You’re still at square one (that’s what), and

you still have the project and have to fi gure out how to

work together.

This is when relationship management skills are abso-

lutely necessary, because though you might not choose a

friendship with this person, you and Marge are now re-

sponsible for the same project. Here’s a basic strategy to

work with Marge: do not avoid her or the situation. Accept

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it and make the choice to use your EQ skills to move for-

ward with her.

You’ll need to watch your emotions, and make deci-

sions about how to manage those emotions. Since you’re

not in this alone, conjure up your social awareness skills to

bring Marge into the fold and put yourself in her shoes.

Meet with her to learn about what experience she has to

offer and her preferences for working with you on this proj-

ect. Observe her body language to see how she responds to

you; maybe you frustrate her just as much! This may hurt

a little, but you may actually lay the groundwork for a

working relationship.

Next, share your preferences for managing the project

and come to an agreement. You won’t need to tell Marge

you don’t care for her—instead, you can share that you’d

prefer to work independently on separate parts of the proj-

ect and meet along the way to ensure you’re both on track.

If Marge agrees, your work process has been hammered

out. If she doesn’t agree, it’s time to apply more

self- management and social awareness skills until you reach

an agreement.

If you get frustrated along the way (and chances are you

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will), ask yourself why and decide how to manage yourself.

Loop back with Marge at your next meeting, and remind

yourselves about the goal of the project. At the end of the

project, fi nd a way to acknowledge what you both accom-

plished together.

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10 Acknowledge the Other Person’s Feelings
If you’re known for being terrible with relationships, then

this EQ strategy may be a great place to start getting better.

Let’s say that, one morning, you’re pulling into your com-

pany’s parking lot, and you see your coworker Jessie holding

back tears as she exits her car next to you. You ask her if

she’s OK, and she’s not. You respond with, “Well, work will

get it off your mind. See you inside.” Then you wonder

why she avoids you for the rest of the day.

One key to managing relationships is leaning into your

own discomfort and taking a moment to acknowledge, not

stifl e or change, other people’s feelings. “I’m sorry you’re

upset; what can I do?” shows Jessie that if crying is what’s

going to help her, then you’d be willing to fi nd her a tissue.

Simple acts like this one acknowledge emotions without

making them a big deal, marginalizing them, or dismissing

them. Everyone has a right to experience feelings, even if

you might not feel the same way. You don’t have to agree

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with the way people are feeling, but you do have to recog-

nize those feelings as legitimate and respect them.

To help you validate someone’s feelings, let’s use Jessie’s

example. Using your social awareness skills, listen to her

intently and summarize what you’ve heard back to her. Not

only does it show great listening skills, but it also shows that

you’re adept at relationship management because you

reached out to show you cared, and took an interest in her.

You’ll end up with a better connection with a now- calm

Jessie—and all it took was some time to pay attention and

notice her feelings.

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Complement the Person’s
Emotions or Situation11

If you calmly phone your utility company to have an incor-

rect fee removed from your monthly bill, you would assume

that the customer service representative would be helpful,

friendly, and courteous with your request.

Let’s say you make the same phone call, but this time

you’re in a terrible mood. You’re feeling testy, agitated, and

annoyed at the error. You’ve been on hold for 10 minutes,

which doesn’t help. When the customer service rep talks to

you, he can hear it in your voice. When he speaks, he

sounds serious, as if he wants to resolve this quickly. You

appreciate the professionalism and service, check this prob-

lem off your list, and move on. This customer service rep is

skilled at picking up on cues and adapting to them to give

fast, hassle- free service—which benefi ts the customer and

the company as well. And his high EQ makes him promot-

able and marketable.

What he did exactly is a strategy in relation ship man-

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agement that requires social awareness skills—listening,

being present, putting yourself in the shoes of the other

person, identifying where someone is emotionally, and

choosing an appropriate and complementary response. This

last piece, choosing a complementary response, doesn’t re-

quire you to match or mirror emotions; it wouldn’t make

sense for the customer service rep to use the same impatient

approach you did—that would infuriate you as the cus-

tomer. Mirroring emotions would also make coworkers and

friends recoil. The complementary response always says you

recognize what the other person feels and you think it’s


To practice complementing emotions in your relation-

ships, think about one or two emotional situations you’ve

experienced where there wasn’t a lot of gray area and there

was at least one other person present. How did the other

person respond to you? Did his or her response help or

hurt your mood? Was the person able to complement your

emotional state? Once you can answer these questions, it’s

your turn to focus on complementing other people’s emo-

tions in the situations they face. Give yourself a week or

two to be at the ready for the people in your closest

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relationships—the people at work or home. Tell yourself

your role is to notice their moods and to be there for your

coworkers and family members in a helpful way. Whether

you are excited or concerned for them, you will show that

you are sensitive and care about what they are going


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12 When You Care, Show It

Here’s a true story for aspiring high- EQ managers across

the globe. One morning, I groggily went up in the elevator

of my offi ce building to start yet another day. It had been

a long night the day before; I had stayed late so I could fi n-

ish some projects for my boss. When I got to my cubicle, I

saw that there was a fresh black- and- white cookie and a

card that said, “Thanks for fi lling in the black and whites.”

It was from my boss. She was always such a busy person,

juggling home and work. I was fl oored to see that she had

found a few minutes to slip into a bakery on behalf of my

sweet tooth, and get into the offi ce early to put a cookie on

my chair. I just about cried at her thoughtfulness.

Talk about the simple things that go a long way. That

cookie motivated me to work even harder, and I did so

happily and with fi erce loyalty.

We hear this story in many forms, but the strategy is

always the same. There are people who do great work

around you every day. When you care, show it. Don’t

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hesitate or put it off until next week. Do something this

week or even today. Things as simple as a greeting card or

something else inexpensive, yet meaningful, that sums up

how you feel are all you need to make an impact and

strengthen a relationship.

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13 Explain Your Decisions, Don’t Just Make Them
It’s frightening to be in a place you’re not familiar with and

be completely in the dark. Case in point—have you ever

planned to go camping but got to the site in the dark? It’s

hard to get your bearings, you’re setting up a tent in the

dark, and because you’re in the wilderness, it’s just eerily

quiet and black. You go to bed with one eye open and hope

for the best.

The next day, you wake up tired and unzip your tent,

and you’re amazed at the beauty around you: water, moun-

tains, tree- lined trails, and cute little animals abound.

There’s nothing to be afraid of—you soon forget last night’s

anxieties, and you move about your day. What were you so

worried about, anyway?

The only difference between these two scenarios is

light—it’s the same place, and you’re with the same people

with the same gear. This is what people experience when

decisions are made for them. When you are in the dark,

intentionally or not, about upcoming layoffs, contract

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negotiations, and the like, you may as well be setting up

camp in blackness. If there are layoffs that increase your

workload or change your shift, you’ll fi nd out when the

pink slips are handed out. If taxes are changed, you’ll see it

on your paycheck. No recourse, no trial period. It’s a done


That’s a tough pill to swallow because we’re not chil-

dren or dependents; we’re adults. To support an idea, we

need to understand why the decision was made.

When you use your EQ to manage relationships, keep

this in mind. Instead of making a change and expecting

others to just accept it, take time to explain the why behind

the decision, including alternatives, and why the fi nal

choice made the most sense. If you can ask for ideas and

input ahead of time, it’s even better. Finally, acknowledge

how the decision will affect everyone. People appreciate this

transparency and openness, even though the decision may

negatively impact them. Transparency and openness also

make people feel like they are trusted, respected, and con-

nected to their organization—instead of being told what to

do and kept in the dark.

If you have a habit of making decisions quickly and

independently, you’re likely very personally competent.

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Though old habits die hard, since they’re ingrained in your

brain’s wiring, it’s time to rewire and add social competence

to your decision- making repertoire.

First, you’ll likely have to spot your upcoming deci-

sions. Take out your calendar to look over the next three

months to identify which decisions will need to be made

by then. Now work backward and see who will be impacted

by these decisions. Make a complete list of who will be af-

fected by each decision and plan on when and where you

will talk together about each, including the details that ex-

plain why and how each decision will be made. If you have

to invite people to a special meeting for just this purpose,

so be it. As you plan your agenda and your words, use your

social awareness skills to put yourself in the shoes of others,

so you can speak to your audience before and after you

make the decision as they would expect and hope.

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14 Make Your Feedback Direct and Constructive
Think about the best feedback you ever received. It wasn’t

something you necessarily wanted or expected, but it made

a difference in your behavior going forward. The feedback

may have shaped your overall performance, or how you

deal with a particular situation, or even your career. What

made the feedback so good?

If you are responsible for giving feedback, there are sev-

eral guidebooks to walk you through the process, making

sure it’s within legal and human resources guidelines. Sit

down, we have some news: following legal guidelines isn’t

what makes feedback a performance- or person- changing

experience; infusing EQ know- how into your feedback,

though, is what does.

Here’s how to think about feedback and EQ—giving

feedback is a relationship- building event that requires all

four EQ skills to be effective. Use your self- awareness skills

to identify your feelings about the feedback. Are you com-

fortable with the process? Why or why not? Next, use your

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self- management skills to decide what

you’ll do with the information you

just learned about yourself from an-

swering the above questions. For ex-

ample, if you’re anxious about giving

feedback about phone etiquette be-

cause you don’t want people to think you’re eavesdropping,

how exactly are you going to get beyond this anxiety to

confi dently give feedback? It’s up to you, but don’t ignore

the feedback because of your discomfort.

Next, use your social awareness skills to think of the

person who’s receiving the feedback. Remember, feedback

is meant to address the problem, not the person. How does

the person need to hear your message so it’s clear, direct,

constructive, and respectful? Constructive feedback has two

parts: sharing your opinion and offering solutions for

change. Let’s take Todd: he’s very direct—sugarcoating his

need to make phone etiquette improvements will insult

him. But if sugarcoating hard news is in his improvement

plan, consider sharing feedback with and without the sugar

so he can hear the difference and learn from it.

Jenni, on the other hand, is sensitive. Since this is a

relationship- building experience, keep Jenni in mind when

Giving feedback
is a relationship-
building event
that requires all
four EQ skills to
be effective.

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planning her feedback. Using softeners such as “I think,”

or “I believe,” or “This time” to begin a statement may

soften the blow. Instead of “Your report is terrible,” use “I

believe there are parts of your report that could use revi-

sions. May I walk you through some suggestions?” Here,

offering suggestions for improvement is helpful—not pre-

scriptive. At the end, ask the person for his or her thoughts,

and thank the person for his or her willingness to consider

your suggestions.

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15 Align Your Intention with Your Impact
Let’s say you’re in a staff meeting and the next topic on the

agenda is to fi gure out why some key deadlines are being

missed. After some back- and- forth, it’s looking like Ana

might be partially to blame—and the room is getting tense.

In an honest attempt to lighten the mood, you say some-

thing like, “Geez, Ana—looks like maybe taking those lon-

ger lunches is fi nally catching up to you!”

Instead of laughs, there’s dead silence. You don’t under-

stand what you did wrong, and you later tell Ana, “I was

only kidding,” but she seems put off. These are the famous

last words of someone who had good intentions, but the

result, or impact, was not aligned. And it’s too late.

Or think about the results- driven manager who has

good intentions about guiding her staff toward achieving

higher goals. She’s so focused on success that she becomes

entrenched in the work (doing most of it herself or pushing

everyone to do it her way)—completely missing how to

manage the work through others. Her staff deems her a

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hard- driving micromanager who doesn’t share knowledge,

and all she intended was for the team to learn from her and

be successful. Yet again, intentions were good, but they had

the opposite impact. Relationships are now tarnished, and

the manager can’t fi gure out why her staff resents her.

If you fi nd that you spend time smoothing things over

to repair a relationship, or you are unsure about what’s

going wrong in your relationships, know that these situa-

tions are avoidable. With the help of your awareness and

management skills, making small adjustments will make all

the difference.

To align your words and actions with your intent, you

need to use your social awareness and self- management

skills to observe the situation and the people in it, think

before you speak or act, and make an appropriate and sen-

sitive response. Do a quick analysis. Think of a situation

where the impact of what you said or did was not what you

intended. On a piece of paper, describe the incident, your

intentions, your actions, and the impact—the end result or

reaction of others. Next, write what you didn’t realize in the

situation—and fi ll in what you understand now in hind-

sight, including missed cues, what you learned about your-

self, and others. Finally, answer what you could have done

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differently to keep your intent and impact aligned. If you’re

not sure, ask someone who was involved in the situation.

In Ana’s case, you didn’t realize it was the wrong mo-

ment for that joke. It singled her out publicly. Next time,

you’ll lighten the mood by poking fun at yourself, not

someone else. The results- driven manager didn’t realize

what motivated her staff members. She didn’t give them

space and time to learn and grow on their own. To better

manage your relationships, it’s critical to spot misalign-

ments before you act, so that your actions match your im-

pact with your good intentions.

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16 Offer a “ Fix- it” Statement during a Broken Conversation
Airline agents. They are often the bearer of unavoidably bad

news in person—weather delays, delays due to mechanical

repairs, lost luggage, overbooking. The list goes on and on.

Airline agents attempt to repair your broken experience

with fi x- its or tools—like rebooking and vouchers—to

problem solve and address the ultimate goal to get you to

your destination.

It’s probably safe to assume that we’ve all had conversa-

tions where we could use a fi x- it. A simple discussion breaks

into a disagreement or gets stuck going around in circles.

In these broken conversations, past mistakes may get

brought to the surface, regretful comments are made, and

blame is present. No matter who said what, or who “started

it,” it’s time to refocus and fi x it. Someone needs to step

back, quickly assess the situation, and begin repairing the

conversation with a fi x- it.

To do this, you need to let go of blame and focus on

the repair. Do you want to be right, or do you want a

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resolution? Use your self- awareness skills to see what you

are contributing to the situation; self- manage to put your

tendencies aside and choose the high road. Your social

awareness skills can help you identify what the other person

brought to the table or feels. Looking at both sides will help

you fi gure out where the interaction

broke down, and which “ fi x- it” state-

ment is needed to begin the repairs.

Fix- it statements feel like a breath of

fresh air, are neutral in tone, and fi nd

common ground. A “ fi x- it” statement

can be as simple as saying, “This is

hard,” or asking how the person is feeling. Most conversa-

tions can benefi t from a fi x- it, and it won’t do any harm if

you feel the conversation breaking down.

This strategy will help you maintain open lines of com-

munication when you’re upset, and with conscious effort

and practice, you will be able to fi x your broken conversa-

tions before they become damaged beyond repair.

Fix- it statements
feel like a breath
of fresh air, are
neutral in tone,
and fi nd
common ground.

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17 Tackle a Tough Conversation

“Why did I get passed over for the promotion?” your staff

member Judith asks with a slightly defensive tone, a

wounded posture, and a quivering voice. This is going to

be a tough one. The news leaked out early about Roger’s

promotion before you could speak with Judith. You value

Judith and her work, but you’ll need to explain that she’s

not ready for the next level yet. That’s not the hardest

part of this conversation—damage control is another


From the boardroom to the break room, tough conver-

sations will surface, and it is possible to calmly and effec-

tively handle them. Tough conversations are inevitable;

forget running from them because they’re sure to catch up

to you. Though EQ skills can’t make these conversations

disappear, acquiring some new skills can make these con-

versations a lot easier to navigate without ruining the rela-


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1. Start with agreement. If you know you are likely to

end up in a disagreement, start your discussion with the

common ground you share. Whether it’s simply agree-

ing that the discussion will be hard but important or

agreeing on a shared goal, create a feeling of agreement.

For example: “Judith, I fi rst want you to know that I

value you, and I’m sorry that you learned the news from

someone other than me. I’d like to use this time to ex-

plain the situation, and anything else you’d like to hear

from me. I’d also like to hear from you.”

2. Ask the person to help you understand his or her

side. People want to be heard—if they don’t feel heard,

frustration rises. Before frustration enters the picture,

beat it to the punch and ask the person to share his or

her point of view. Manage your own feelings as needed,

but focus on understanding the other person’s view. In

Judith’s case, this would sound like, “Judith, along the

way I want to make sure you feel comfortable sharing

what’s on your mind with me. I’d like to make sure I

understand your perspective.” By asking for Judith’s

input, you are showing that you care and have an inter-

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est in learning more about her. This is an opportunity

to deepen and manage your relationship with Judith.

3. Resist the urge to plan a “comeback” or a rebuttal.

Your brain cannot listen well and prepare to speak at

the same time. Use your self- management skills to si-

lence your inner voice and direct your attention to the

person in front of you. In this case, Judith has been

passed up for a promotion that she was really interested

in, and found out about it through the grapevine. Let’s

face it—if you’d like to maintain the relationship, you

need to be quiet, listen to her shock and disappoint-

ment, and resist the urge to defend yourself.

4. Help the other person understand your side, too.

Now it is your turn to help the other person understand

your perspective. Describe your discomfort, your

thoughts, your ideas, and the reasons behind your

thought process. Communicate clearly and simply;

don’t speak in circles or in code. In Judith’s case, what

you say can ultimately be great feedback for her, which

she deserves. To explain that Roger had more experi-

ence and was more suited for the job at this time is an

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appropriate message. Since his promotion was leaked to

her in an unsavory way, this is something that requires

an apology. This ability to explain your thoughts and

directly address others in a compassionate way during

a diffi cult situation is a key aspect of relationship man-


5. Move the conversation forward. Once you under-

stand each other’s perspective, even if there’s disagree-

ment, someone has to move things along. In the case of

Judith, it’s you. Try to fi nd some common ground

again. When you’re talking to Judith, say something

like, “Well, I’m so glad you came to me directly and

that we had the opportunity to talk about it. I under-

stand your position, and it sounds like you understand

mine. I’m still invested in your development and would

like to work with you on getting the experience you

need. What are your thoughts?”

6. Keep in touch. The resolution to a tough conversation

needs more attention even after you leave it, so check

progress frequently, ask the other person if he or she is

satisfi ed, and keep in touch as you move forward. You

are half of what it takes to keep a relationship oiled and

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running smoothly. In regard to Judith, meeting with

her regularly to talk about her career advancement and

promotion potential would continue to show her that

you care about her progress.

In the end, when you enter a tough conversation, pre-

pare yourself to take the high road, not be defensive, and

remain open by practicing the strategies above. Instead of

losing ground with someone in a conversation like this, it

can actually become a moment that solidifi es your relation-

ship going forward.

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When TalentSmart® released the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ®, EQ was still taking root in the minds of
business leaders, other professionals, and anyone who sim-

ply wanted to lead a happier and healthier life. By measur-

ing their EQ and showing them how to improve in one

swoop, the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal ® quickly became

the vehicle that enabled people to turn their newfound

emotional mastery into strengthened relationships, better

decisions, stronger leadership, and ultimately, more success-

ful organizations. At TalentSmart®, we’ve watched hun-

dreds of thousands of people from the top to the bottom of

organizations take the journey to higher EQ.

The fi eld of EQ skill development has truly blossomed

since then, and we’ve taken special interest in tracking the

changing landscape all along the way. What we’ve found in

our studies has sometimes startled and often encouraged us.

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What remains constant throughout our discoveries is the

vitally important role EQ skills play in the quest to lead a

happy, healthy, and productive personal and professional

life. More specifi cally, our research sheds new light on the

battle of the sexes, the generational divide, the quest for

career advancement and higher- paying jobs, as well as clue-

ing us in on which countries are primed for future success

in an increasingly global economy. All offer hope for those

looking to increase their EQ skills.

Here’s what we found . . .

The Poles Are Melting: EQ Then and Now

At the end of 2008, we took a good look at how the collective

EQ of the U.S. population had changed since 2003. While

we weren’t surprised to see those we tested and taught im-

prove their EQ, we were intrigued to watch the EQ scores of

newbies increase with each passing year. And the increase

continued, year after year after year—the EQ scores of those

we’d never tested or taught made a slow and steady climb.

We discovered a substantial increase in the emotional intel-

ligence of the U.S. workforce between 2003 and 2007.

Skeptics might be tempted to look at the graph and

think, What’s the big deal? That’s just a four- point increase in

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fi ve years! But think of the impact a seemingly small tem-

perature increase—say one or two degrees—has upon our

ecosystem. The same is true with human behavior in the

workplace, where the frozen poles of low emotional intel-

ligence are starting to melt.

Once we take a closer look at the specifi c changes the

broad gains in EQ have created, the real power of the trans-

formation comes to light. In the last fi ve years, we’ve seen

the percentage of people who are highly attuned to their

own emotions and to the emotions of other people rise

from 13.7% to 18.3%. During that same period, the per-

centage of people with a poor understanding of how anxi-

ety, frustration, and anger infl uence their behavior has

dropped from 31.0% to 14.0%. When you apply these

proportions to the 180 million people in America’s

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workforce, it means that 9 million more people today than

in 2003 almost always keep their cool during heated con-

fl icts; 9 million more people actually show that they care

about their co- workers and customers when they suffer

hard times; and 25 million fewer people are painfully obliv-

ious to the impact their behavior has on others.

What makes this discovery so special is that prior to

taking the test, very few, if any, of the people in our sample

had ever received formal emotional intelligence training.

Yet their average EQ scores steadily increased from year to

year. It’s as if the people who intentionally practice emo-

tionally intelligent behaviors are infecting others who may

have never even heard of the concept. Emotional

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intelligence skills—much like emotions themselves—are

contagious. That means that our EQ skills are highly de-

pendent on the surrounding people and circumstances. The

more we interact with empathetic people, the more empa-

thetic we become. The more time we spend with other

people who openly discuss emotions, the more skilled we

become at identifying and understanding emotions. That

is precisely what makes emotional intelligence a learned

skill, rather than some unalterable trait bestowed only upon

a lucky few at birth.

But that’s where the good times end. In 2008—for the

fi rst time since we began tracking it—collective emotional

intelligence dropped, underscoring just how susceptible to

change these skills truly are.

Federal economists pinpointed December 2007 as the

71060_03.indd 22971060_03.indd 229 4/7/09 10:41:31 AM4/7/09 10:41:31 AM


start of the United States’ worst economy in 70 years, which

means that 2008 did not see a single day without recession.

The relapse in emotional intelligence skills between 2007

and 2008 is the product of economic woes. Hard times of

any kind—fi nancial, familial, or job- related—create more

intense and often prolonged negative emotions that ulti-

mately result in stress. In addition to the physical costs of

stress, such as weight gain and heart disease, stress also taxes

our mental resources. Under stress- free conditions, we can

consciously devote extra effort to staying calm and collected

during the trials and tribulations of everyday life. We are

more confi dent in our abilities to handle unexpected events,

and we allow our minds to overcome troublesome matters.

Unmanaged stress, however, consumes much of those men-

tal resources. It reduces our minds to something like a state

of martial law in which emotions single- handedly dictate

behavior, while our rational capacities are busy trying to

turn lemons into lemonade. Suddenly, a little setback in

your project at work that would have been no big deal in

relatively prosperous times feels more like a catastrophe

than a minor nuisance. For many people, their EQ skills

desert them at precisely the time when they need these skills

the most—under stress. Only those with well- trained and

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almost second- nature EQ skills can effectively weather the


This stress seems to be having a signifi cant impact on

our collective emotional intelligence. We went from 18.3%

of people being highly skilled in emotional intelligence in

2007 to only 16.7% in 2008.

In other words, we lost 2.8 mil-

lion highly skilled soldiers in

the battle for a more emotion-

ally intelligent society. That is

2.8 million people who could

In other words, we lost
2.8 million highly
skilled soldiers in the
battle for a more
emotionally intelligent

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have been guideposts showing others the way to more emo-

tionally intelligent behaviors, but are instead struggling to

keep their own skills sharp.

The Battle of the Sexes: EQ and Gender

Sheila began her career as a fi nancial consultant specializing

in healthcare at a multi national consulting fi rm. It only

took a few years of dazzling clients and garnering rave re-

views from upper management before she was eventually

snatched up by her current employer—a large regional

healthcare system in the Midwest. Still in her early 30s,

Sheila is already an assistant vice president on the fast track

to a C- level appointment. Her past and current superiors

unanimously agree that Sheila is “smart,” yet there is some-

thing else—something they can’t quite put a fi nger on.

Early in Sheila’s consulting career, after watching her defuse

tense situations with clients time and again, her former

manager summed up the secret to Sheila’s success: She just

“gets people.”

In 2003, we found some stark contrasts between the

EQ skills expressed by men and those found in women like

Sheila. Women outperformed men in self- management,

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social awareness, and relationship management. In fact,

self- awareness was the only EQ skill in which men were

able to keep pace with women.

But times have changed, and so have men.

As the graph shows, men and women are still neck and

neck in their ability to recognize their own emotions—just

as in 2003. But men have caught up in their ability to man-

age their own emotions. Chalk this change up to nothing

more than shifting social norms.

This evolution of cultural mores benefi ts men. Men

are now encouraged to pay their emotions some extra

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thought, which goes a long way toward clearer thinking.

Not surprisingly, we found that a full 70% of male leaders

who rank in the top 15% in decision- making skills also

score the highest in emotional intelligence skills. In con-

trast, not one single male leader with low EQ was among

the most skilled decision makers. Although this seems

counterintuitive, it turns out that paying attention to your

emotions is the most logical way to make good decisions.

So instead of feeling like time spent addressing angst or

frustration is somehow a sign of weakness, men are now

free to get a stronger handle on their emotions in the name

of sound judgment.

It’s Lonely at the Top

Considering the mountains of literature about EQ, you’d

think corporate executives would be pretty smart about it.

As we revealed in our Harvard Business Review article,

“Heartless Bosses,” our research shows that the message still

isn’t getting through. We have measured EQ in half a million

senior executives (including 1,000 CEOs), managers, and

line employees across industries on six continents. Scores

climb with titles, from the bottom of the corporate ladder

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upward toward middle management. Middle managers

stand out, with the highest EQ scores in the workforce. But

up beyond middle management, there is a steep downward

trend in EQ scores. For the titles of

director and above, scores descend

faster than a snowboarder on a black

diamond. CEOs, on average, have the

lowest EQ scores in the workplace.

A leader’s primary function is to

get work done through people. You might think, then,

that the higher the position, the better the people skills. It

appears the opposite is true. Too many leaders are

CEOs, on
average, have
the lowest EQ
scores in the

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promoted because of what they know or how long they

have worked, rather than for their skill in managing oth-

ers. Once they reach the top, they actually spend less time

interacting with staff. Yet among executives, those with the

highest EQ scores are the best performers. We’ve found

that EQ skills are more important to job performance than

any other leadership skill. The same holds true for every

job title: those with the highest EQ scores within any

position outperform their peers.

The Generational Divide: EQ and Age

The mass exodus of Baby Boomers from the workplace has

already begun. According to the U.S. Offi ce of Personnel

Management, between 2006 and 2010, Boomer retirement

will have robbed American companies of nearly 290,000

full- time experienced employees.

Silver hair, pension funds, and personal memories of

the Kennedy assassinations are not the only things our

struggling economic engine will lose when Boomers settle

into the quiet life. Boomers hold the majority of top leader-

ship roles in the workplace, and their retirement creates a

leadership gap that must be fi lled by the next generations.

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The question is whether or not the Boomers’ successors are

up to the challenge.

We wanted to fi nd out. We broke EQ scores down into

the four generations in today’s workplace—Generation Y

(18–30 years old), Generation X (31–43 years old), Baby

Boomers (43–61 years old), and Traditionalists (62–80

years old). When we looked at each of the four core EQ

skills separately, a huge gap emerged between Boomers and

Gen Y in self- management. In a nutshell, Baby Boomers

are much less prone to fl y off the handle when things don’t

go their way than the younger generations.

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It may not appear that this should create any real cause

for concern. After all, retirement has been a fact of life ever

since FDR signed the Social Security Act. The generation

that designated Dennis Hopper as its unoffi cial spokesman

proved capable of fi lling the superhuman- sized work boots

of the Greatest Generation. So how hard can it be for the

leaders- in- waiting to replace the Easy Rider Generation?

Without well- honed self- management skills, it might

be a lot harder than we think. Of course, while Gen Y’s

approach may be different from the Boomers’ approach,

many would argue that it isn’t any worse. Actually, when

you consider how knowledgeable and technically profi cient

Gen Yers are, they might even have a leg up on their prede-

cessors in the Information Age. However, it should be clear

by now that there is a lot more to leadership than being a

walking Wikipedia. So, if Gen Yers can’t manage them-

selves, how can we expect them to manage, much less lead,


At TalentSmart®, we went round and round debating

the possible explanations for this chasm in self- management

skill between the experienced and youthful. One possibility

seemed that coming of age with too many video games,

instantaneous Internet gratifi cation, and doting parents has

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created a generation of self- indulgent young workers who

can’t help but wear their emotions on their sleeve in tense

situations. However, we weren’t convinced.

When we looked at the data from another angle, the

picture became clearer. Self- management skills appear to

increase steadily with age—60 year olds scored higher than

50 year olds, who scored higher than 40 year olds, and so

on. That means the younger generation’s defi cient

self- management skills have little to do with things we can’t

change like the effects of growing up in the age of iPods and

MySpace. Instead, Gen Xers

and Gen Yers just haven’t had as

much life in which to practice

managing their emotions.

That’s good news, because prac-

tice is something Gen Yers can

get. Reversing the hands of time

to go back and change their up-

bringing might be tricky.

This discovery says as much about the malleable nature

of EQ as it does about the differences between generations.

With practice, anyone can—and many people do—become

more skilled at picking up on emotions and managing

. . . the younger
generation’s defi cient
self- management skills
have little to do with
things we can’t change
like the effects of
growing up in the age
of iPods and MySpace.

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them. Developing those skills takes time, but a little con-

scious effort can cut that time down to a fraction of how

long it would ordinarily take. One of Gen Y’s signature

traits is its enormous capacity to soak up new information

and to acquire new skills. That means it’s almost entirely up

to each individual to do the legwork necessary to speed up

the development pace of his or her EQ. For members of

Gen Y, the option is to either let years of experience run

their course (waiting until their 50s to master their emo-

tions) or to take their development into their own hands.

If Gen Yers choose to, they can start now. By the time Gen

Yers reach their 30s, they can be poised to lead like seasoned


With Boomers retiring sooner rather than later, talented

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twenty- somethings not only can prepare themselves for

leadership roles today: the Gen Yers must. Those Gen Yers

who take the time and the effort to train themselves to resist

the temptation to speak when it won’t help a situation, and

to keep the lines of communication open even when upset,

will be the ones who are tapped to fi ll the vacant leadership

positions in tomorrow’s organizations. Along with those

positions will come not only better pay but also the ability

to make the changes Gen Yers so desperately want to see in

the world around them.

China’s Secret Weapon: EQ and Culture

“Made in China” just doesn’t mean what it used to. Manual

labor by the country’s 1.3 billion citizens was long consid-

ered its sole competitive advantage in the global economy.

While American business has turned a blind eye to the Chi-

nese laborer, the country’s burgeoning skilled workforce

now stands as the biggest competitive threat to American

business today. How did this happen?

Forget that Wal- Mart imports $25 billion annually in

goods from China—that’s old news. Today, China has the

knowledge workers needed to take hold of sectors like

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fi nance, telecommunications, and computing. Surprised?

You shouldn’t be. In 2004, Chinese computer giant Lenovo

paid $1.25 billion to buy IBM. In 2005, U.S. investors

scrambled to get in on the biggest IPO of 2005, a Chinese

bank with $521 billion in assets. That IPO marked the fi rst

major Chinese fi nancial institution to offer shares overseas,

and despite its tremendous size, it’s only the third-largest

bank in China. Even though the balance of economic power

has not totally shifted, it’s no secret that China is America’s

single largest creditor. The sleeping giant has indeed been


A few years ago, TalentSmart® researchers decided to

see what role EQ was playing in China’s colossal transition

from cheap supplier to knowledge leader. We spent the

summer of 2005 measuring the EQ of 3,000 top executives

in China. Our unexpected fi ndings illustrate the secret in-

gredients of China’s economic success, and a serious threat

to America’s ability to compete in the global marketplace:

discipline. American executives averaged 15 points lower

than Chinese executives in self- management and relation-

ship management.

The Chinese executives who participated in the study

were homebred talent. All 3,000 were nationals from the

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public and private sectors who took the Emotional Intelli-

gence Appraisal ® test in Chinese. The executives’ scores in

self- awareness and social aware-

ness, though a few points higher

than the U.S. sample, were sta-

tistically similar to those of U.S.

executives. This means execu-

tives in both countries have a

similar awareness of emotions in

themselves and others, but Chinese executives use this aware-

ness to their benefi t—and actions speak louder than words.

American executives
averaged 15 points
lower than Chinese
executives in self-
management and

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Chinese execs are living the qualities that Americans

permit HR to put into the company competency model.

American leaders like how these behaviors look on paper,

but they don’t tend to walk their talk. Lip service seems to

be all the energy U.S. execs are willing to spend on seeking

feedback, working together as a team, getting to know their

peers, and following through on commitments.

Making business personal is nothing new in China. Ex-

ecutives ordinarily schedule dinner meetings with their staff

to talk about business trends, career aspirations, and family.

People expect their leaders to set an eminent example in

how they make decisions, connect with others, and im-

prove. There is genuine shame in not fulfi lling these duties

because people really care.

The implications for the rest of the world are clear: pay

attention to managing emotions or suffer the consequences.

Whether for countries trying to protect their existing com-

petitive advantage in the global economy or for those na-

tions whose stars are rising, the link between EQ and

economic prosperity cannot be overestimated. China seems

to have a slight advantage here because of the culture in

which Chinese execs were raised. If you grow up in a cul-

ture where emotional outbursts and careless self- gratifi cation

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are not only discouraged but are also considered personally

shameful, such an upbringing is going to affect the way you

manage yourself and others. As we discussed earlier, EQ is

very susceptible to cultural infl uence. The question here is

whether that culture promotes or prohibits emotionally in-

telligent behaviors.

There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “Give a man a

pole, and he’ll catch a fi sh a week. Tell him what bait to use,

and he’ll catch a fi sh a day. Show him how and where to fi sh,

and he’ll have fi sh to eat for a lifetime.” The fl ipside to that

proverb is that the man or woman without a pole, without

bait, and without knowledge of the how and the where runs

a serious risk of famine. Similarly, emotionally ignorant

people with little understanding of how and where emo-

tions affect their lives will have an exceedingly diffi cult time

reeling in success. On the other hand, those who use the

right tools and strategies for harnessing their emotions put

themselves in a position to prosper. That same truth applies

to individuals, organizations, and even entire countries.

Closing Thoughts: EQ and the Future

While the sum total of these fi ndings is encouraging, these

discoveries also act as a stern warning. The steady, fi ve- year

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rise in EQ—and unexpected dip in 2008—as well as the

climb in men’s EQ skills show that emotional intelligence

is a skill set that can be learned—and unlearned. Just as you

can work hard to lose weight over the summer only to pack

those pounds on again over the winter holidays, you can

sharpen your EQ skills only to see them go dull again. That

is precisely why we recommend reading this book and re-

viewing these skill development strategies at least once a


You wouldn’t expect to forever master the game of golf

or playing the piano after practicing for six months and

then quitting, would you? The same is true with EQ skill

development. If you let up and stop consciously practicing

these skills, somewhere down the road you will almost cer-

tainly allow tough circumstances to overpower you. You

will slide right back into those old bad habits. These

hard- earned skills can be lost almost as easily as they were

gained, and with them the higher pay, stronger relation-

ships, and better decisions you’ve come to enjoy.

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Discussing EQ will help you bridge the learning- doing gap. Use these questions to start a meaningful dialogue
and build your understanding of how the four EQ skills

apply in daily living.

1. How many members in the group were familiar with

the term “emotional intelligence” before reading Emo-

tional Intelligence 2.0?

2. For those who had never heard of EQ before, what’s the

most important thing you discovered after reading

Emotional Intelligence 2.0?

3. For those who were familiar with EQ before reading the

book, what’s the most important thing you discovered?

4. Have you felt an emotional hijacking similar to Butch

Connor’s during his run- in with the shark?

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5. What are the physical symptoms you experience with

emotion? An example might be your face turns red

when you’re angry.

6. What are the few fundamental changes you might like

to make now that you know change can happen at a

physical level? What would you like to train your brain

to do?

7. What’s one experience that stands out for you in

learning to recognize or manage your emotions? What

about learning to recognize what other people are


8. In your job, how are emotions dealt with? Is there any-

thing covered in the book that will help you in the next

six months at work? How about next week?

9. How are EQ skills visible in current events today? Dis-

cuss politicians, celebrities, athletes, etc.

10. Can you think of any historical fi gures or events that

were infl uenced by either poor management or excel-

lent management of emotions?

11. Only 36% of people are able to identify their emotions

accurately as they happen. Why do you suppose this is

the case? How might someone get better at this?

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Groups that decide to take the online Emotional Intel-

ligence Appraisal ® test before meeting can bring their

results and discuss them as follows.

12. Without sharing specifi c numbers, which EQ skill score

was your highest?

13. Which EQ skill score was your lowest? Which strategies

will you practice to improve this skill?

14. What will make practicing EQ skills most challenging

for you?

15. What would you like to know from the other people in

the group about how they:

• Work on being more self- aware?

• Self- manage?

• Read feelings or emotions in other people?

• Manage relationships?

16. Consider the following fascinating fi ndings and discuss

them as a group:

• EQ tends to increase with age.

• The biggest EQ gap between Baby Boomers and Gen-

eration Y (Millenials) is in their self- management


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• Women and men have the same average self- awareness

score, while men score higher in self- management and

women score higher in social awareness and relation-

ship management.

• CEOs and other senior executives, on average, have

the lowest EQ scores in the workplace.

71060_03.indd 25071060_03.indd 250 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM



The story of Butch Connor’s shark attack comes from a highly entertaining
book of true stories edited by Paul Diamond, Surfi ng’s Greatest Misadventures:
Dropping In on the Unexpected, (Seattle: Casagrande Press, 2006). Online at: Another account of the incident from
Demian Bulwa (2004, May 31). Surfer goes toe- to- toe with shark. The San
Francisco Chronicle.

W.L. Payne coined the term emotional intelligence: “A study of emotion: De-
veloping emotional intelligence: Self integration; relating to fear, pain and de-
sire.” Doctoral thesis, The Union Institute, Cincinnati, OH (1988).

Seminal emotional intelligence research contributing to the term’s spread in
popularity: from Yale University: Jack Mayer, et al., “Perceiving affective con-
tent in ambiguous visual stimuli: A component of emotional intelligence.”
Journal of Personality Assessment, 54 (1990). A second study linking emotional
intelligence to success: Jack Mayer and Peter Salovey, “The intelligence of emo-
tional intelligence.” Intelligence, 17 (1993). A third linking it to well- being:
J. Mayer and A. Stevens, “An emerging u nderstanding of the refl ective (meta)
experience of mood.” Journal of Research in Personality, 28 (1994).

Gibbs, Nancy (1995, October 2). The EQ Factor. Time magazine.

Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book,
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005).

71060_03.indd 25171060_03.indd 251 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM


The feelings table has been reproduced and modifi ed with the permission of
Julia West. The original table from her website for science fi ction writers is
located at

Emotional hijacking is a term fi rst introduced in a book by Daniel Goleman,
Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, (New York: Bantam,

The tendency of low EQ individuals to catch up to their colleagues’ higher
scores after an EQ skill development initiative is from Neil M. Ashkanasy, “The
case for emotional intelligence in workgroups” Symposium presentation at the
annual conference of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology
(April, 2001).

Emotional intelligence subsuming 33 other leadership skills is seen in Travis
Bradberry, Self-Awareness: The Hidden Driver of Success and Satisfaction, (New
York: Putnam, 2009).

The connection between EQ and job performance and the tendency for high
performers to be high in EQ is from Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, The
Emotional Intelligience Quick Book, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005).

The link between EQ and annual salary is seen in Tasler, N. and Bradberry, T.,
“EQ = $” TalentSmart Update (2009). Available online at http://www.talent

The emotional intelligence model grouping the four skills ( self- awareness,
self- management, social awareness, and relationship management) into the
larger categories of personal and social competence is from Goleman, Boyatzis,
and McKee, Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence,
(Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2002).

71060_03.indd 25271060_03.indd 252 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM


The link between self- awareness skills and job performance is seen in Travis
Bradberry, Self- Awareness: The Hidden Driver of Success and Satisfaction, (New
York: Putnam, 2009).

More than 70% of the people we tested have diffi culty handling stress comes
from Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, The Emotional Intelligence Quick Book,
(New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005).

The importance of putting your needs on hold to get results is seen in Ayduk,
O. & Mischel, W., “When Smart People Behave Stupidly: Reconciling incon-
sistencies in social- emotional intelligence.” Chapter in Why Smart People Can
Be So Stupid, Edited by Robert J. Sternberg, (New Haven: Yale University Press,

Studies of brain plasticity: T. P. Pons, et al., “Massive cortical reorganization
after sensory deafferentation in adult macaques, Science (252). N. Jain, (1997),
“Deactivation and reactivation of somatosensory cortex is accompanied by re-
ductions in GABA straining, Somatosens Mot. Res, 8 (347-354). D. Borsook, et
al. (1998), “Acute plasticity in the human somatosensory cortex following am-
putation, NeuroReport, 9 (1013-1017). Katri Cornelleson (2003), “Adult brain
plasticity infl uenced by anomia treatment.” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience,
15 (3).

Studies from The Harvard Medical School examining changes in brain struc-
ture: B.A. van der Kolk. “The body keeps the score: Memory and the emerging
psychobiology of post traumatic stress.” Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 1, 253-
265 (1994), and B.A. van der Kolk et al., “Dissociation, somatization, and
affect dysregulation: the complexity of adaptation of trauma.” American Journal
of Psychiatry, 153, 83-93 (1996).

The benchmark study demonstrating changes in EQ six years after an EQ skill
development initiative is seen in Richard Boyatzis, et al. in Innovation in Profes-
sional Education: Steps on a Journey from Teaching to Learning, (San Francisco:
Jossey- Bass, 1995).

71060_03.indd 25371060_03.indd 253 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM


Self- management strategy #3, Make Your Goals Public, considers research from
Francis Hesselbein et al. The Leader of the Future, (San Francisco: Jossey- Bass,

Self- management strategy #7, Smile and Laugh More, discusses the benefi t of
smiling according to fi ndings from: Soussignan, R. (2002). Duchenne smile,
emotional experience, and autonomic reactivity: A test of the facial feedback
hypothesis. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2, 52-74.

Self- management strategy #9, Take Control of Your Self- Talk, discusses the
number of thoughts an average person has in one day according to fi ndings
from: The National Science Foundation (

The importance of self talk in managing your emotions is seen in: Fletcher, J.E.
(1989). “Physiological Foundations of Intrapersonal Communication.” In
Roberts & Watson (Eds.), Intrapersonal Communication Processes, (188-202).
New Orleans: Spectra. Grainger, R.D. (1991). “The Use—and Abuse—of
Negative Thinking.” American Journal of Nursing, 91(8), 13-14. Korba, R.
(1989). “The Cognitive Psychophysiology of Inner Speech.” In Roberts &
Watson (Eds.), Intrapersonal Communication Processes, (217-242). New Or-
leans: Spectra. Levine, B.H., Your Body Believes Every Word You Say: The Lan-
guage of the Body/Mind Connection, (Boulder Creek: Aslan, 1991).

Self- management strategy #10, Visualize Yourself Succeeding, discusses the
power of visualization according to fi ndings from: Kosslyn, S. M.; Ganis, G.;
Thompson, W. L. (2007). Mental imagery and the human brain. In: Progress
in Psychological Science Around the World, Vol. 1: Neural, Cognitive and Devel-
opmental Issues, Jing Q., Rosenweig M. R., d’Ydewalle G., Zhang H., Chen
H.-C., Zhang K., ed. (New York: Psychology Press), 195–209.

Strategy #2, Watch Body Language discusses research on reading emotions,
facial expressions, and body language from Dr. Paul Ekman, Emotions Revealed:
Recognizing Faces and Feelings to Improve Communication and Emotional Life,
(New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2007).

71060_03.indd 25471060_03.indd 254 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM


Relationship management strategy #4, Remember the Little Things That Pack
a Punch, discusses the research regarding the decline of manners in America
and employee opinions about manners in the workplace according to fi ndings
from: Public Agenda Research Group, reported on, April 3,
2002 and ABCNEWS/World Tonight Poll, May 1999.

For research on repairing conversations, John Gottman and Robert W. Leven-
son, “A Two-Factor Model for Predicting When a Couple Will Divorce: Ex-
ploratory Analyses Using 14-Year Longitudinal Data,” Family Process 41 (2002):

Data on EQ and job title from Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, The Emo-
tional Intelligence Quick Book, (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2005) and Travis
Bradberry and Jean Greaves (December, 2005). “Heartless bosses,” The Har-
vard Business Review.

71060_03.indd 25571060_03.indd 255 4/7/09 10:41:32 AM4/7/09 10:41:32 AM


The authors are the cofounders of TalentSmart®, a global think
tank and consultancy that serves more than 75% of

Fortune 500 companies and is the world’s leading provider
of emotional intelligence tests and training.

TalentSmart® offers free emotional intelligence resources,
including articles, whitepapers, and a newsletter covering

the latest in workplace learning at:

If you’d like more information on the Emotional Intelligence
Appraisal ®, including the technical manual and answers to

frequently asked questions, visit:

If you’re interested in learning more about EQ, or are looking
for tools to assist you in teaching others about EQ, review the

resources on the remaining pages and contact us at:

(toll free, US & Canada callers)



Visit us on the web at:

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MSA 501 – The Emotionally Intelligent Organization

Evaluation Rubric

Assignment: Self-Assessment (100 points)

Student Name:


Met requirements

Met most

Met some

Did not meet


25 points
Information is very
organized with well-
constructed paragraphs
and subheadings.
Author relates all
paragraphs together in
a meaningful way.

20 points
Information is
organized with well-
paragraphs. Author
relates some
paragraphs together in
a meaningful way.

15 points
Information is
organized, but
paragraphs are not
well-constructed. .
Author relates few
paragraphs together in
a meaningful way

10 points
The information
appears to be

Amount of Information

25 points
All topics are addressed
from the introductory
paragraph and all
questions were
answered. The student
meets the page
number requirement.

20 points
All topics are addressed
from the introductory
paragraph and most
questions were
answered. The student
meets the page
number requirement.

15 points
Few topics are
addressed from the
introductory paragraph
and few questions
were answered. The
student did not meet
the page number

10 points
Very few topics are
addressed from the
introductory paragraph
and very few questions
were answered. The
student did not meet
the page number

Quality of Information

25 points
Information clearly
relates to the main
topic. It includes an
introductory paragraph
and 4-6 supporting
details and/or
examples. The author
provides a summary at
the end of the paper

20 points
Information clearly
relates to the main
topic. It includes an
introductory paragraph
and 2-3 supporting
details and/or
examples. The author
provides a summary at
the end of the paper.

15 points
Information clearly
relates to the main
topic but limited details
in the introduction. 1-2
details and/or
examples are given.
The author provides a
summary at end of the

10 points
Information has little or
nothing to do with the
main topic. Paragraphs
have run-on sentences
with no coherent
meaning or


20 points
All sources
(information and
graphics) are accurately
documented in the
desired format.

15 points
All sources
(information and
graphics) are accurately
documented, but a few
are not in the desired

10 points
All sources
(information and
graphics) are accurately
documented, but many
are not in the desired

5 points
Some sources are not


5 points
No grammatical,
spelling or punctuation

4 points
Almost no
grammatical, spelling
or punctuation errors

3 points
A few grammatical,
spelling, or punctuation

1 point
Many grammatical,
spelling, or punctuation


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