Stinky Feet

On my recent flight to a conference in Vancouver, a nicely dressed and very polite father and son were seated next to me. Upon boarding, the father looked at me and said about his son, “My apologies for his lack of personal hygiene”. Apparently, the father thought his 12-year-old son was a little rank.

The two took their seats with the son sitting next to me. I didn’t notice the boy’s presumed lack of deodorant. Its what happened next that got me. The father took off his shoes and instantly the entire row was swimming in sweaty, foul foot funk. The plane was hot, and it was enough to make my stomach churn.

It got me thinking. We are often so attuned to other people’s behaviors, actions, words (and smells) yet we often don’t recognize them in ourselves. Was this father not self-aware enough to realize that taking off his shoes on a hot, crowded plane was a terrible idea?

In the business world we talk a lot about EQ or emotional intelligence. This is the ability of a person to identify, understand and manage their emotions and the emotions of others. People with high EQ understand how to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically and fairly.

Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack. Being highly astute in this area can account for 58% of a person’s success and is the strongest predictor of performance, according to TalentSmart who tested emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills.

In their February 2017 article for the Harvard Business Review, Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On?, Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis state that both EQ assessments and 360-degree feedback assessments are critical to a full evaluation of your EQ. But, they argue that this is just the beginning, “coaching is the most effective method for improving in areas of EI deficit. Having expert support during your ups and downs as you practice operating in a new way is invaluable.”

The good news is, emotional intelligence is a skill that can be learned and developed. Call me today and let’s talk about bringing EQ assessments, 360 feedback reviews and coaching to your organization. Don’t be the guy with the stinky feet!

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