Part 3 - What is Emotional Intelligence? Social Awareness
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Posted by: Dr. Alan Zimmerman
Dr. Zimmerman's TUESDAY TIP:
"Never react emotionally to criticism.
Analyze yourself to determine whether it is justified. If it is, correct
yourself. Otherwise, go on about your business."
Norman Vincent Peale
Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
In his book,
"Working With EQ," Daniel Goleman reported a study of Harvard
graduates in the fields of law, medicine, education, and business and found
that a person's scores on an entrance exam (which is another way of testing
one's IQ) had no connection whatsoever to that person's eventual career
Indeed, just the opposite was
In many situations, the higher
a person's entrance exam scores, the lower his/her success later in life.
When you think about it, each
of those career types focus almost exclusively on intellectual ability to get
into those fields, but it was the person's Emotional Intelligence that carried
the most weight in determining who would emerge as leaders in those fields.
So that begs the
question, if Emotional Intelligence is one of the best predictors of success,
can it be taught?
Can people actually
learn to be emotionally intelligent? Yes!
I teach it all the
time ... because most people were never taught how to handle emotions such as
stress, failure, anger, low self-esteem, and a host of other emotional issues
and communication challenges.
When Pam Meehan-Smith, a Customer Service
Manager for the US Postal Service, attended my program, she said, "I came to the session believing it
would be another 'touchy-feely, feel-good' exercise.
But I got so thoroughly caught up in Dr.
Zimmerman's enthusiasm and knowledge of the subject that I couldn't help but
More importantly, I took his
skills and strategies back to the workplace to make it a MUCH better
And Peter Vetter, a Labor Relations Manager for
the US Postal Service, reported, "Dr.
Zimmerman's program got me thinking more deeply about my role in shaping my
work and personal life.
I left the
program empowered to bring out the best in others.
And it worked like magic!"
Yes, you can learn
to be emotionally intelligent.
something you're born with and it's not something you inherit.
It's something you learn.
In particular, to be emotionally intelligent,
you must master four things: 1) Self-Awareness, 2) Self-Management, 3) Social
Awareness, and 4) Relationship Management.
I've written about the first two dimensions in my last two "Tuesday
Tips," so let's go on to the third dimension of Social Awareness.
What does is it mean ... the Social Awareness of Emotional Intelligence?
In its simplest
terms, you realize that it's NOT all about me.
When you have emotional smarts, you're able to focus on others, observe
their emotions, and notice their actions and reactions.
You're able to ask questions, listen, and
learn what other people are feeling.
You're able to understand their perspective and determine what factors
influenced them for the good or the bad, even though their perspective and
their experiences might be quite different than yours.
You are aware of the other person's feelings,
needs and concerns.
In many ways, it
boils down to three sets of skills:
empathy, organizational awareness, and service orientation. My book on "Brave
Questions" deals with the empathy portion in great detail, and my
book on "The
Service Payoff" deals with the service orientation in equal
(You can find them by going to my
However, if you're a
bit short on empathy, if your spouse says "You never listen to me,"
and if you seem to be a little disconnected from the people at home or at work,
try these empathy-building exercises.
Put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to see the world from his or her point of view,
- Try to understand the pressures, responsibilities, expectations, and demands placed upon the other person,
- Say "I'd like to know more about that" if the other person sounds off inappropriately or seems a bit confusing,
- Explore the reasoning behind his or position or argument.
Of course, you may
be somewhat unclear as to how effective you are at the Social Awareness piece
of Emotional Intelligence.
2. Get some feedback on your level of Social
Anthony Mersino, the
author of "Emotional Intelligence for Project Managers: The People Skills
You Need to Achieve Outstanding Results," developed a quiz along those
I've modified the questions a bit
so it applies to everyone.
the questions and answer "yes" or "no" to each question.
Do you use sarcasm in your communications with team members, coworkers, customers or other project stakeholders?
- Do you frequently say "yes" to action items in meetings or agree to take on work ... and then regret it later?
- Do you feel the need to crack a joke or change the subject during tough conversations?
- Do you find it easier to set the record straight or vent your frustration in an e-mail rather than in person?
- Are your relationships with your team members and team leaders superficial and limited to the task at hand?
- Do you get upset or take it personally when your boss or team leader is angry?
- Do you ever find yourself dwelling on conflict with your team members or fantasizing about ways to get even?
- Do you wish you were more charismatic or had more presence as a team leader or manager?
From my point of
view, if you answered "yes" to three or more questions, you NEED to
work on your Social Awareness.
you're not sure of your answers, if you're not totally aware of your own
behavior, ask five people at home or work ... that know you very well ... to
answer the questions for you.
responses may be painful to hear, but they will also help you take the next
step towards increased Social Awareness.
Finally, don't ever
When you increase your Social Awareness, you increase your chances of
One young man had to
learn that the hard way, as my friend Palani at PAL Vision Associates told me.
He told me about a young man who went to apply for a managerial position in a
big company. He passed the initial interview, and now he was about to meet the
director for his final interview.
director discovered from his resume that the youth's academic achievements were
excellent. He asked, "Did you obtain any scholarships in school?" the
young man answered "no".
"Was it your
father who paid for your school fees?"
passed away when I was one year old.
was my mother who paid for my school fees." he replied.
"Where did your
The young man said,
"My mother worked as clothes cleaner."
The director asked
the job applicant to show him his hands.
The applicant showed his that were smooth and perfect.
So the director asked, "Have you ever
helped your mother wash the clothes?"
"Never, my mother
always wanted me to study and read more books. Besides, my mother can wash
clothes faster than me." said the young man.
The director said,
"I have a request. When you go home today, go and clean your mother's
hands, and then see me tomorrow morning."
The young man felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he
went back home, he asked his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt
strange, but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to her son.
The young man
cleaned his mother's hands slowly, with tears dripping down his face.
It was the first time he noticed that his
mother's hands were so wrinkled and so covered in bruises.
Some bruises were so painful that his mother
winced when he touched them.
This was the first
time the young man realized that it was this pair of hands that washed clothes
every day to pay for his education.
After cleaning his mother's hands, the young man quietly washed all the
remaining clothes for his mother.
night, the mother and son talked for a very long time.
The next morning,
the young and eager job applicant went to the director's office.
The director noticed the tears in the
applicant's eyes when he asked,
"Can you tell me what you learned at your house yesterday?"
The young man answered,
"I cleaned my mother's hands, and I finished cleaning all the remaining
I know now what appreciation
is. Without my mother, I would not be who I am today. By helping my mother, I
not only realized how difficult it is to get something done on your own, but I
also have come to appreciate the importance and value of helping other
The director said,
"This is what I am looking for in a manager. I want to recruit a person
who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of
others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only
goal in life.
You are hired!"
The new manager
worked very hard and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee
worked diligently and worked as a team. The company's performance improved
All because this new
manager had gained a significant portion of Social Awareness.
As a footnote, let
me tell you that a child who is protected and habitually given whatever he
wants ... develops an "entitlement mentality" and will always put
himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent's efforts. When he starts
work, he would assume that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes
a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always
blame others when things don't go his way.
A child raised this
way may be good academically, and successful for a while, but eventually he
would not feel a sense of achievement. He will grumble, be full of hatred, and
fight for me-me-me.
You can let your
child live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, and watch TV on a big
But if you want to raise Social
Awareness and Emotional Intelligence in your kids, when you are cutting grass,
let them experience it as well. After a meal, let your children wash their
plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. Let your kids know that
even though you could afford a maid, you may not have one ... because you want
your children to experience the difficulty of learning how to work with others
to get things done.
How much have you
grown past the point of "It's all about me-me-me?"
What are you doing to be more aware of and
sensitive to the people around you?
I would love to hear
your comments and feedback.
About the author:
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker,
Dr. Alan Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of
business.” His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy,
and high involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they
Click here to learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free
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Copyright© 2013 Zimmerman Communi-Care Network, Inc.
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Internet newsletter, the
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