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Cats, Geese, and Emotional Intelligence | Jennifer Webb



My cat lacks Emotional Intelligence. I’m sure of it. At 3:00 am (I know because I looked at my bedside clock) my one-eyed, ring-tailed cat jumped back and forth over my body about 25 times. Occasionally he missed and landed on my chest or face, and then scooted off to resume his gymnastics.


He had to sense my annoyance. I moved him and pushed him and moved him some more. I took him out of the bedroom and put him on a chair. He made it back to my bedroom before me so I couldn’t shut him out. Same thing when I tried to put him on the back porch. Finally, I got sneaky and locked him out for a couple of hours before I got up.



There are many people out there just like my cat. Clueless when we’re doing everything within our power to show them our frustration, concern or a different emotion altogether. Let’s look at how we can help others understand the value of Emotional Intelligence and how we can ensure we remember to use it when working with others. It’s smart, it’s beneficial and using EI definitely makes it more time effective because we always get more done when we find ways to work with others.


Think geese. Did you know when geese fly together in their “V” formations, each goose provides additional lift and reduces air resistance for the goose flying behind it. When they fly in this formation the whole flock can fly about 71% farther than if each bird flew on its own. In other words, if we focused on helping rather than judging, we’d probably get a lot more done with less effort.



Geese also rotate leadership because the lead goose must expend the most energy since it’s the first to break up the flow of air that provides the additional lift for all of the others who follow behind. When the lead goose gets tired, it moves to the rear where there is the lightest resistance, and another goose moves into the leadership position. Think how effective this would be when we can get our egos out of the way and ask for help or let someone else excel while we take a break from the stress.


Geese honk at each other as their way of communicating during a long flight and scientists speculate it might also be their way of motivating those in the front to keep up their speed. All of us know the power of showing appreciation and feeling that someone believes in us and is encouraging us to be our best. We need to honk more.



Finally, geese help each other. When a goose gets sick, is shot, or injured and needs to fall out of the formation, two other geese will fall out as well and remain with the weakened goose. They stay with the injured goose to protect it from predators until the goose is able to fly again or until it dies. They then launch out on their own or find another formation to fly with until they catch up with their original group. A little kindness goes a long way.


The geese information came from an article by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff from the Miracle Distribution Center, and is an excellent reminder that if we’re going to truly succeed right now, we need to offer and ask for help.


Emotional intelligence defines and sets people apart, drawing others to them and giving them a charismatic demeanor that is both charming and credible. It’s also an increasingly rare quality to possess as people continue to communicate electronically rather than face to face, isolate themselves in their communication styles, and have lost that intuitive ability to size up people to determine what they need in order to build rapport and establish relationships. And it stands to reason if we understand how to utilize emotional intelligence in our daily lives, we’re way ahead of the game.


How to Use Emotional Intelligence More Effectively:


1. Pay attention to the cues people are giving you:

Do they need to be heard, to feel safe, to get help, to be singled out for their accomplishments? Research indicates people vote for, buy from and hire based on an intangible essence, they like or trust the person they are dealing with…it’s the chemistry!


Research also indicates businesses can grow up to 31% within nine months based on Emotional Intelligence; it’s the key ingredient that generates credibility, changes perception and fosters camaraderie and allegiance! It’s impossible to outperform faulty thinking, yet when we follow the tenets of Emotional Intelligence we can create incredible change.


Sometimes people need to feel special or important so we take a minute to listen. Maybe they need someone to air their frustration with, or maybe they need to have their idea or suggestion validated. Words to use are simple: Tell me more…sounds as if that was…, help me understand…

Work on finding a genuine interest in others. And offering help, even when it may not be in our best interest, creates trust and opportunities. It leads to better productivity, better morale, and overall better relationships.


2. Keep people safe:

Security, not feeling foolish or being embarrassed, is at the top of what most people need at work. That means knowing how and when to speak to them, not calling on them if they feel uncomfortable, and in general understanding their needs.


Eighty percent of success in life, according to Daniel Goleman, author of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence, comes from our EQ (emotional quotient), while only 20% comes from our IQ. Companies whose employees have high emotional intelligence are more successful--according to research--than companies who don’t invest in emotional intelligence; the same can be said about individuals.


3. Know how you’re coming across:

Pay attention to how people respond to you and adjust how you’re communicating if necessary. Be aware of others’ feelings and of the impact you are making each time you communicate. It costs nothing to pay attention, listen between the lines and truly understand what someone needs.


There are hundreds of books on how to motivate and inspire others, but simply paying attention to what others need, understanding what we need and being kind to ourselves is enormous. We need to remember to get our egos out of the way to work with others and let them shine. This creates an infrastructure that is absolutely unshakable. And it’s worth the effort

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