“Don’t you think if I were wrong, I’d know it?”

Don’t worry, that’s not a quote from me but the legendary Sheldon Cooper of Big Bang Theory fame.

Of course, as fans of the show know, the high level of analytical intelligence possessed by Sheldon is offset by his low level of emotional intelligence. Cue lots of comic situations from which to build one of the most successful comedy series ever.

We all know people like Sheldon; even if they’re not quite so funny.

One of my clients told me about an ex-colleague of his who was not equipped with “the skills for everyday life”.

This chap’s wife sent him off to the supermarket with a shopping list with everything on it that they needed. She listed it in order of the way the supermarket was set out to make it easier for him.

He returned home triumphantly but as the shopping was unpacked, his wife realised that there were all sorts of things that were not on the list. And about half the things that were on the list weren’t in the bags. In fact, virtually everything on the first half of the list.

Under questioning, there was a dawning realisation that our feckless friend had got distracted about halfway round the supermarket and presumably wandered off with someone else’s trolley. He then managed to go through the checkout and pay for all these items which were not on the list without even noticing. Even the nappies he purchased did not raise any alarm bells despite the couple not having any children.

The punchline to this story is that this chap was a highly intelligent individual who earned a six-figure salary plus bonuses as a programmer. Of course he did!

Intelligence comes in many forms.

As a business owner, emotional intelligence is crucial. And as I discussed with Steve and Roger in the latest mind-setting video this week, it’s something that can be developed especially as you get older and wiser. I guess age has to have some advantages.

Developing emotional intelligence enables you to see situations from someone else’s point of view.

Our natural instinct is to judge other people’s actions by our own standards. If we are a hard worker, we may be more scathing about those that aren’t. Really nice people are more likely to be conned because they assume that the party conning them is as nice as they are.

Conversely, those who are untrustworthy are less likely to be trusting of others. Have you ever had that experience of dealing with someone who even though they had never met you before, questioned your motives. That’s usually because they think that if they were in your situation, they would be taking advantage. So they assume that you are.

As a business owner, emotional intelligence is critical in building a diverse team.

Those in your team will have different reasons for being there. For some it’s a career and they want to progress in the way that you have. For others it might be a stepping stone to something else. For another group, it’s just a job that pays the bills. And for some, it might be that they enjoy the work, what your business is trying to achieve and spending time with colleagues.

Emotional intelligence helps you to identify and create win-win situations with all those groups. In fact, there’s a high correlation between those with high emotional intelligence and those with a ‘win-win mindset(as featured in our seven habits of highly effective people series last year).

In contrast, a lack of emotional intelligence is associated with prejudice in all its forms. This can lead to a very insular life and career. If you can only build bridges with people who have lots in common with you, life can be quite limiting.

But a high emotional intelligence isn’t just associated with positive attributes. Your average sociopath (which is scarily about 2% of the population) often has a high emotional IQ but uses those skills to manipulate and deceive. And some sociopaths can go through life without anyone even realising (even their spouses).

But the big question I guess is whether our experience of the past year has made us more emotionally intelligent or less. Has the slower pace of life enabled us to be more reflective and understanding? Or has the reduction in direct human contact with those outside our immediate family made us more insular?

Only time will tell.

But that time is coming. Infections are now reducing by about 25% a week as a result of lockdown 3. At the current rate of reduction, the number of positive tests per week will be below 1,000 in about 8 weeks. Hopefully an easing of lockdown will be offset by the impact of the vaccine kicking in and the third wave will be the last wave. Touch wood. Fingers crossed.

And then we can get back to being emotionally intelligent face to face instead of purely via Zoom or Teams.

Or emotionally unintelligent if that’s what we prefer.

Like Sheldon Cooper. “I can’t be impossible, I exist.” I think what you meant to say is “I give up, he’s improbable””.

Have a good weekend.

Contact me today!

Malcolm Palmer

FCA

Managing Partner

01474 853856

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