In the simplest of terms, it is one’s ability to control a response to a scenario while our brain is processing the data.
Our brain’s physiology is complicated. With over 300,000 years in the making, and a trillion or so neurons all connected together, we have supposedly developed a higher level of intelligence that, again supposedly, sets us apart from all other species on the planet.
Our brains are responsible for keeping all other biological systems – like breathing, heart rate, digestion, etc., functioning on ‘autopilot’ without us having to think about it. The brain is also responsible for scanning the environment multiple times per second and keeping us safe from threats (both real and perceived). Our ‘grey matter’ also has a cool little function that allows us to do cool things like tie our shoes without having to step-by-step think about it.
However, the coolest thing about our brain is the ability to feel emotions and make decisions based on emotions, versus our counterparts in other species that make decisions based on food, protection or procreation.
This can be a blessing or a curse. The blessing is that we are able to form emotional connections, belonging and trust bonds with each other. The curse is that our emotional brains make judgments and decisions lightning-fast – milliseconds even – based on sometimes incorrect information. The ‘emotional’ decisions then set up context in our slower thinking rational or logical brain which then, can cause a response that could be described as anything but rational or logical. Just think about the last time one of your kids ‘pushed your buttons’ and you responded in a way that could make for great viewing on reality TV.
The emotional brain responds lightning fast. The rational brain is slow.
The emotional brain creates great fiction. The rational brain is supposed to see things more clearly. But… we are human and our emotions drive behaviour.
Leaders with high levels of EQ, consistently outperform leaders with lower EQ… by over 40%!
The good news? EQ can be developed. It just takes discipline and practice.
Here is the secret then to Emotional Intelligence:
A high level of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is not easy, but it can be achieved.
Robert Murray is a Vancouver, BC based Business Strategy Consultant, #1 Best Selling Author, International Keynote Speaker, and TEC Top Speaker of the Year for 2018. For further advice, insight and inspiration on how to unlock your inner leader, follow Robert on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
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