10 Questions to Determine if You're Emotionally Intelligent
September 5, 2022
Any good entrepreneur knows, “supply and demand” is a fundamental business principle.  Simply put, you would much rather be selling band aids to someone who is bleeding in the middle of nowhere instead of selling ice to an Eskimo living in Alaska.

It’s a basic principle.  First and foremost, there needs to be a demand for the service or product you have to offer.  If there is a demand, it then becomes a matter of supply.

Are you wondering what this has to do with emotional intelligence?  Well here’s the thing…

This fundamental business principle is why leaving a thriving career in management consulting to develop a program on emotional intelligence was a risky move on my part.  When it comes to emotional intelligence and Leaders in the workplace, there is not an obvious and widespread demand.  Yet.

I don’t believe this is because all Leaders in the workplace are already emotionally intelligent.  To the contrary.  I actually believe this is because a lot of Leaders in the workplace think they are already emotionally intelligent because they don’t know any better.  They are unaware of their lack of skills.

And this is where something called the Four States of Competency comes into play.

The Four Stages of Competency
In psychology there are four stages of competency that represent the process of progressing from incompetence to competence with respect to a specific skill.

First Stage:  Unconscious Incompetence
The first stage is Unconscious Incompetence.  This is the stage when an individual is completely unaware of the fact that they are unskilled in a particular area.  For example, imagine yourself at a dinner party.  You and your significant other start chatting with another couple.  The guy who you’re talking to, let’s call him George, goes on and on talking about himself.  It’s a one-way monologue.  After you listen politely for about 15 minutes or so, you are able to “escape” and move on.  Minutes later you look across the room and see George has enthusiastically cornered another couple and you guessed it – George is happily talking on and on about himself again.

Fast forward to later that evening when George is in the car driving home with his wife.  When he says “Wow!  That was a great party!  Everybody loved me!”  This is an example of someone who is Unconscious and Incompetent.  George is lacking in social skills (that’s the incompetency) and he is totally unaware of it (that’s the unconscious part).

Second Stage:  Conscious Incompetence
The second stage in the Four Stages of Competency is Conscious Incompetence.  This is where someone is aware (they are conscious) that they are unskilled (in other words incompetent) in something.  Back to the example with George.  Let’s say George has had a bit of an awakening.  Maybe his wife pointed some things out that left him questioning whether people really enjoy hearing him tell all his stories.  Or perhaps he and his wife aren’t getting invited to as many social events and he’s wondering if this is because of him.  Depending on the skill, this can be a very uncomfortable stage.  After all, knowing you’re unskilled in something isn’t very much fun.

Third Stage:  Conscious Competence
The third stage is Conscious Competence.  This is when an individual can show up skillfully if they make a conscious effort.  In George’s case, at the next dinner party, if he makes a conscious effort to talk a little less about himself and ask others more about themselves, he’ll be demonstrating a degree of competency with respect to his social skills.

Fourth Stage:  Conscious Competence
The fourth and final stage is Unconscious Competence which is when a skill becomes second nature to someone.  They just know how to do something without even giving it much thought.  George may never advance his social skills to stage four, but you’ve certainly encountered someone who has.  Someone with strong social skills is generally liked, is relaxed in two-way conversation, and can strike a good balance between talking and listening to others.

That’s the basic explanation of the Four Stages of Competency.  But what does this have to do with emotional intelligence and supply and demand?

Unconscious Incompetent Leaders
There are a lot of Leaders who are Unconscious and Incompetent when it comes to engaging with emotions.  They don’t know what they don’t know.  And this is one of the main reasons why the demand for professional development in the area of emotional intelligence isn’t commonplace yet among Leaders.  The demand is just beginning to emerge.

Those Leaders who are choosing to become informed about emotions are ahead of the crowd and are the Leaders who are getting a head start.  They are the early adopters and will reap the benefits in the form of performance, reputation, respect, and their ability to lead diverse teams.

Do you think you are emotionally intelligent?  If so, what criteria are you using to answer this question?  Spoiler alert, your position of authority, salary, and where you sit in your organization’s hierarchy may have nothing to do with it.

10 Questions
To help you answer the question, I’ve put together a list of ten other questions you can use to determine if you are Unconscious and Incompetent when it comes to emotional intelligence.  If most of your answers are “No” I hope you won’t be offended.  Instead, I hope you will recognize emotional intelligence as an enormous opportunity for your future growth.

  1. Do you know the specific reasons why each of your emotions activate?
  2. Do you know the difference between Jealousy & Envy and why it matters in the workplace?
  3. Do you know how to recognize a shaming remark?
  4. Do you encourage your team members to openly express their strong emotions in a manner that supports problem solving and decision criteria?
  5. Do you know how to leverage Anger so this powerful emotion can work to your organization’s advantage when it comes to innovation and creativity?
  6. Do you know when it’s okay for your team members to feel Guilty and how to use this emotion effectively when giving a team member performance feedback?
  7. Do you know emotions are contagious and what you can do as a Leader to minimize the distractions and damage when this happens?
  8. Do you know how to recognize “unnecessary drama” and “needless suffering” caused by people with weak emotional intelligence?
  9. Do you know how to talk about emotions without crossing the line into a therapy-like conversation?
  10. Do you know how to effectively leverage emotions to help navigate healthy conflict?

If you’ve answered “No” to most of these questions, you are probably in the Unconscious and Incompetent stage.  If that’s the case, there’s one last question to ask yourself. “Do you want to be an early adaptor or a laggard when it comes to emotional intelligence?”

If you’re interested in becoming an early adaptor, consider participating in my upcoming 12-Week Empowered by Emotions program (www.EmpoweredByEmotions.com/Program).  It starts the week of September 12th.  It’s purposefully designed as a highly interactive learning experience and there’s no risk involved.  It’s simple.  Within the first four weeks of the program, if you’re not learning new and valuable knowledge and skills, simply ask for your money back.  No hassle.  No problem.

More likely, however, is the probability you’ll be blown away by what you learn as you join the growing number of Leaders who are becoming Empowered by Emotions.  I hope you’ll join us!