In my last post, I talked about the importance of EQ or Emotional Intelligence, so this week I wanted to start a short series about the pillars of EQ. The place to start is Self Awareness, since research suggests that the better you know yourself, the better you can relate to others. This is not a new concept; thousands of years ago the oracle at Delphi was consulted for important decisions and the phrase “know thyself” was inscribed in the forecourt of the temple. Most people will tell you that they are very self aware and know themselves well. Trouble is, we don’t know what we don’t know. Not to mention, scientific research about humans is always fascinating. With that in mind, one of the basic ways to know thyself is through personality assessments. I wish all those little assessments on Facebook were accurate, but, alas, knowing what animal you were in a former life or who your perfect party partner is does not inform us terribly well. While there are many different research-based personality assessments available, none of them have the clout, the magnitude, the sheer awesomeness of the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI. Of course, I may be slightly biased as I’ve been using it since I took my first management class in college in … a while ago now.
The MBTI was popularized by Katherine Briggs and Isabel Myers to make the work of Carl Jung more accessible to the layperson. The basics of Jung’s theory is that people are hard-wired in certain preferences and can be categorized into one of several psychological types by these preferences. When combined, this yields your four-letter psychological type.
Over the next few posts, I’ll cover each of the four categories individually, but for now I’ll give you the basics by building a double-decker MBTI burger.
Jung said that the human brain has two primary functions, taking in data and making decisions on that data. Furthermore, and this is the kicker, Jung said that our brain can only do one of these AT A TIME! So Carl Jung is to blame for starting all the research that indicates that people don’t actually multi-task. We can switch back and forth quickly, but we cannot actually take in data and process it at the same time. These two functions constitute the two meat patties of our MBTI burger.
Jung called the process of taking in data the perceiving function, so that is our first patty. The second patty is making decisions based on the data and Jung refers to this as the judging function.
The bun is comprised of energy flow preferences on top and lifestyle preferences on the bottom. No, it’s not THAT kind of lifestyle preference! Jung lived in the early 1900s, well before we had a phrase like “lifestyle preference” that is common in the LGBT community!
So there you have it, the MBTI double decker burger. If you are curious about a quick assessment of your type, the website 16personalities.com offers a free assessment. If you’d like the official version with a complete report and a coaching session with me around your results, please use the form on the Work With Me page to contact me.
You can think of me as your personal Oracle at Delphi, as we work together to increase your self awareness!
As a nod to Dr. Jung, signing off with this: How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? One, but it has to really want to change.
As I am typing this, I’m sitting in a tent, listening to the rain beat down and trying to avoid the occasional drips that are sneaking past the rain fly covering our tent.
I’m here with my husband’s family, on the annual Forest Family Camping Weekend. It’s a family tradition spanning almost 20 years now. Twenty years ago, there were 10 adults and 5 small children. Now there are 10 adults and 9 nearly-grown children. Times certainly change! How could the cute little heathens that used to draw pictures on the pavement with chalk have grown into these tech-savvy millennials?
Now the “adults” go for walks, while the “young adults” go chase Pokemon. Whatever. At least they are being active out in nature! Even if they walk into the occasional tree…sigh…
So as I sit with the family for hours, I realize that this type of weekend is the perfect opportunity to practice all sorts of emotional intelligence, or EQ. IQ is a measure of intelligence, so the powers-that-be decided EQ should be a measure of emotional intelligence. I know, I know, the acronym is all wrong, but to the behavior researchers that coined the phrase, this is high-brow humor, so I’m going to give it to them.
I truly believe that any large gathering of family provides a “target-rich environment”, to quote Maverick in Top Gun. You put this many adults together with a wide variety of personalities, throw in tight quarters when everyone tries to sit under an awning to stay out of the rain, and emotions start to come to the surface.
Why is that interesting? Because this is a very accomplished family. We have 7 engineers, one Registered Nurse, one business manager, and a county sheriff. And that’s just the fully grown adults. For the “kids”, all but one are enrolled in four-year degree programs at state universities and the one is a 4.0 junior in high school. This family has the intelligence genetically coded and knows how to kick some academic butt, so it so interesting to watch the EQ play out with a group of high IQ people.
EQ is formally defined as “the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically”.
The very definition indicates that EQ is important in interpersonal relationships, yet how many of us KNOW someone who’s smart but has the people skills of a hungry alligator?
How many of us can own up to BEING that alligator?
Healthy relationships are a vital component of health. There is strong evidence that healthy relationships correlate strongly with people’s health and well-being. Conversely the health risks from being alone or isolated in one’s life are comparable in magnitude to the risks associated with cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, and obesity (Goerm, 1987; House, 1998). The stakes may be high in getting interpersonal relationships right at work, but they ratchet even higher when the people you have to deal with are your family.
Clearly it is far easier to leave a company with people you can’t get along with than it is to quit your family. We’ll see how the weekend plays out, but that part about “handle interpersonal relationships judiciously” is proving to be very entertaining so far.
Signing off with this: I heard Einstein got along well with his parents … relatively speaking