Have you heard of the term "emotional intelligence"? My first introduction was in Daniel Goleman's book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can be more important than I.Q. Goleman describes emotional intelligence as "managing feelings so that they are expressed appropriately and effectively, enabling people to work together smoothly toward their common goals." Now, Goleman's book is focused on how EI effects the work place but there is a place that I think is left unstudied but it can teach us a lot about people: The Playground. [youtube f0pP1q77lWU]
Every playground in America will have these three types of kids:
1. The dare devil- The thought of the dare devil is, "Whatever it takes, I need your attention. I will not stop until I have it" (like the kid in the video). This kid is the one who climbs on the outside of the massive playground set. He might even call out a fart before he rips one and then jumps off the top without so much as giving a thought to who or what he may land on.
2. The bully- The bully is always first. He/she will push a much smaller child out of the way if they want to hit the slide first. If someone beats the bully to the experience first the bully with throw a fit as if he/she has been wronged. They say, "Why wasn't the other person aware that everything is about me!"
3. The aware- These are the children with a high level of EI. Not only are they aware of the other kids trying to play but they pay no attention to the dare devil's need for attention nor do they punch the bully in the face...the first time. These kids are aware of others around them and control their own emotions to better the experience for everyone.
Now take anyone of these kids and fast forward them 25 years. You work with them. You volunteer with them. You go to church with them. They are still around you. The dare devil can't understand why they are not at the top of your priority list and take it so personally when your attention is somewhere else. The bully acts offended if you took action on something without them and then guilts or threatens you. But then there is the aware, these folks are powerful weapons within the organization or team. People enjoy being part of their team. They show up, do their work, and they make the work place or team better; both in a sense of work and team chemistry.
So who are you? How often are you aware of the emotions of others as well as yourself? Better question: Were you a jerk-face on the playgournd? There's a strong chance you still are a jerk-face.