The rules of emotional intelligence
A not-insignificant number of Understandably found this newsletter as a result of some of my articles on emotional intelligence at Inc.com. One of my big influences on this subject is my colleague Justin Bariso, an American writer in Germany who is the author of the book EQ Applied, and who has just launched an emotional intelligence course called, The Rules of Emotional Intelligence.
I invited Justin to do an interview here about writing, emotional intelligence, and how the fact that he’s an expat drove him to dive deeply into the subject to begin with. Video of our chat is embedded below, but I thought we’d start with an excerpt.
The rules of emotional intelligence
by Justin Bariso
(as told to Bill Murphy Jr.)
The reason why I'm in Germany is that my wife's from here, and so we moved here when we started a family. I've been here for about 11 years. Grew up in Virginia, moved to New York as an adult, and spent 13 years there.
I miss certain things about New York and about the States, but I really like it over here. The only thing was I didn't have a job over here when we first arrived.
So, I had to figure out what to do. I started off working with German executives and managers.
Germans speak pretty good English, but there's a lot of communication miscues, emotional miscues because they're super-direct. There were always problems as they did business with the U.S. and Britain; putting their foot in their mouth, saying things the wrong way because of the language barrier.
It's like: OK, let's work on that. How can you communicate better? It's not just your message, but how are people going to receive that message.
That turned my consulting into consulting on emotional intelligence—although I didn't call it “emotional intelligence” at the time. It was more like sharing the managerial training I'd gotten: I'd spent 13 years working for a great nonprofit in New York, and we got a lot of training about how to be a good manager, how to show empathy at work, how to build relationships, and how to manage relationships.
I started writing too, and researching, and looking for, "what's the scientific research to back this up?" And I started to realize that a lot of this fell under this umbrella of emotional intelligence. So then, I started researching emotional intelligence.
I read Daniel Goleman’s book, Emotional Intelligence, which I loved. I read a bunch of other stuff, but I felt like there was this gap, which is showing what emotional intelligence looks like in real life.
For example, I remember one of my first articles back in 2015 was about a company-wide email from Howard Schultz, the Starbucks CEO at the time. It was right after what they called the “Great Fall of China,” when more than $1 trillion was quickly wiped from the Asian markets.
A lot of people lost money, and Schultz just wrote this email to all employees saying look, a lot of people are going to be coming into Starbucks today who just lost a lot of money. Treat them extra nice today.
I was like: OK, that's an example of practical emotional intelligence. So, I started doing more and more of those types of posts. And that really took off. There was a gap, in that there weren't a lot of people talking about it like that.
I got a lot of responses from readers, which started conversations. You learn so much from your audience, and it taught me the questions I wanted to explore even more. And that turned into a book, eventually, and a much deeper dive into the subject.
To me, emotional intelligence is a framework. It's just a way to refer to these things.
We're emotional creatures. We make decisions many times based on emotions, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Emotions are good, too. So it's just a matter of bringing them into balance. That's what it comes down to.
So, when I talk about emotional intelligence, that's what I'm talking about: Learning how to understand and manage those emotions. Then you can break it down further.
It just kind of gives a common vocabulary, and that's why I found so much value.
The course now is called the Rules of Emotional Intelligence. There are 24 rules. This is stuff that either I've been using from the years when I was managing the nonprofit, or things that I've learned through research from writing for Inc., that I then practiced as a consultant/coach. (I don't do that anymore, but for years, I did do that.)
A lot of it is from principles of psychology that I got from my own research and then tested it out, and some of it is from project management principles. But they're simple constructs. How can we make this as easy as possible so that people can actually put these principles to work in their life?
An example, which is a 3-question rule, which I learned from comedian Craig Ferguson. He says that before you say anything, you have to ask yourself three questions:
Does this need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does this need to be said by me, now?
He jokes that it took him three marriages to learn that lesson. But I started using this in my daily life, and I use it at work and in work meetings. It's a simple rule that takes a few seconds, and I use it, I kid you not, almost every single day in my life.
I’d love to hear what you think in the comments. Also, Justin’s course normally runs $199, but he offered a 50% for readers here; just use code UNDERSTANDABLY.
(Note: This is not a paid advertisement or an affiliate deal or anything; I don’t get any cut of this. I just think Justin is an interesting writer, and readers might be interested in what he has to say and teach.)
7 other things worth knowing today
Hurricane Ian crashed into Florida on Wednesday as one of the strongest storms in U.S. history, a Category 4 behemoth that within hours left more than 1.8 million customers without power. At ground zero around Fort Myers, officials were only beginning to get a sense of the structural damage left by Ian’s powerful winds and 12-foot storm surge. (TampaBay.com (plus 2nd link that should be continually updated)
How the 5:1 ratio (5 positive interactions for every negative one) leads to healthy marriages and relationships, according to the Gottman Institute. (Fatherly)
Fast Company took its website offline after a hacker apparently breached internal systems and sent a racist push notification through Apple News to iPhone users. "We are investigating the situation and have suspended the feed and shut down FastCompany.com until we are certain the situation has been resolved.” (Washington Post)
NYT reporters apparently sleuthed out that MacKenzie Scott (formerly Bezos) may have quietly separated from her new husband. But honestly, I'm more here for the reaction of other reporters characterizing the Times's work as using "the same [skills that] make you a crazy ex-girlfriend (or boyfriend)." (NYT, Twitter)
British TV channels are in a battle with the monarchy over who controls the historic record of Queen Elizabeth II’s commemorations, after Buckingham Palace insisted broadcasters could only retain an hour of footage for future use. The concern is that the royal veto will be used to scrub mildly embarrassing moments from the historic record ... including when King Charles was irritated by the presence of a pen on a table, and a shot showing another royal "checking his watch while observing the Queen lying in state." (The Guardian)
NASA successfully slammed a spacecraft directly into an asteroid on Monday night, in a huge first for planetary defense strategy (and a move straight out of a sci-fi movie). The $300 million craft launched into space in Nov. 2021 on a one-way mission to test the viability of kinetic impact: In other words, can NASA navigate a spacecraft to hit a (hypothetically Earth-bound) asteroid and deflect it off course? (Answer: yes.) (NPR)
Hard to believe this Australian person could be a fugitive for very long, given his "distinctive face tattoos" including the word BEAST in large letters. (News.com.au)
Thanks for reading. Photo credit: Pixabay. See you in the comments—and on YouTube. Happy birthday Dad!
A corollary to Craig Ferguson’s, from I don’t know who: “if I don’t say this now, will I regret it later?
I checked out the photo of “The Beast”, though I can’t seem to download it here. It’s one of those “dumbest criminal” photos. “Look at me” faces. The only way he can escape capture is to hide in a hole somewhere. Good luck with that.