Sunday, May 20, 2007


I had a new experience this week. One I hope not to repeat. The simple version of the story is that I needed $200 in cash, and ended up at one of those non-bank ATM machines. I asked for $200, it only dispensed $100, and I managed to pull another $20 out that was stuck in the output slot. This isn't what we've come to expect from these machines... at least not after we've used them hundreds of times. This was at Costco, and it happened right next to the person at the entrance door, so she knew I didn't make this up. It took about 30 minutes to figure out what to do, none of which resulted in me having the $200 I needed.

I was chatting and joking with the Costco employee most of the time. She said to me "you sure are patient", and that is the inspiration for this post. I asked her, what would be the upside of me getting impatient? If anything that would result in people less likely to help. Moreover, that would simply hurt me; nobody else will care. She understood; the surprising thing was that she expected something else. My behavior was not the norm.

So I thought about emotional intelligence, and looked up some old articles. It turns out that the behavior I demonstrated is just one of many emotional competencies which make up "Emotional Intelligence": self awareness, understanding emotional influence on objectives, staying cool under stress. I found this reference at the "Consortium for research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations". I'm not making this up. You'd think they'd call themselves the CREIO or something. In any case it lists a variety of competencies which is significantly larger than might be intuitive. It's worth taking a look at the list and then doing a self audit to decide where you might improve.

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