Performance Pointers Banner

Check Out The NEW 
Penumbra website: 

Quick Links

Those who demonstrate Emotional Intelligence (EQ) understand that burden falls on them to read cues from others and adjust accordingly... 

...not the other way around. 

October 2010

I just returned from attending and speaking at the Society of Emotional Intelligence annual conference (SoEI). There were several speakers discussing the application of EQ in education, health care, business, conflict prevention and overall
well-being. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend that you attend a chapter meeting or get involved in next year's conference. One discussion point was the topic of this month's Pointer: EQ vs. Ego and dynamic between the two. Enjoy!   




 EQ or Ego?

We have all met someone who loves to say, "This is who I am, take it or leave it." Or, "You'll always know where you stand with me, I make my positions very clear", with the implication of World, Adjust to Me. All About Me
Add some hierarchical title in there (if they are VP, EVP, or a C-something) and look out, because now they feel even more justified to ask the World to do the Adjusting. There is one thing about Ego and EQ - they are mutually exclusive. When I operate from a place of Ego, I make choices that are good for me, I do things that meet my needs, and I expect others to make me comfortable. When I operate from a place of EQ, I understand that it can't be about me, and the burden is on me to read situations and people accurately in order to respond in most appropriate ways. And I get that it means that I have to be the one doing the adjusting, and that it won't always be comfortable.

Take the following scenarios:
  • The executive who doesn't attend the pre-sales meeting planning sessions, arrives the day before and wants the entire agenda changed. Ego over EQ.
  • The employee who receives a terse email from a co-worker and instead of writing an equal attack right back, makes the effort to speak to the co-worker in person and uncover the real issue. EQ over Ego.
  • The front-line employee who finds an interesting article on an innovative approach and leaves a copy of it for a senior leader with a note of suggestion. The executive chews out the front-line employee's boss for not teaching her to follow chain-of-command. Ego over EQ.
  • The senior leader who, despite political consequences, publicly takes responsibility for a bad decision. EQ over Ego.
  • The business owner who sees that the office is overwhelmed with work and jumps in to help with administrative support. EQ over Ego.
Look over this list of characteristics:

           EQ                        EGO
Great listener             Great talker
Encourager                 Doubter
Communicative           Secretive
Courageous                 Intimidating
Sense of humor           Judges others
Shows empathy           Self-centered
Decisive                      Steamroller
Takes Responsibility   Passes blame
Humble                       Arrogant
Shares Authority         Mistrusts
Transparent                Plays politics

Who would you rather be?

For more information on keynote speaking, coaching, and training services from Penumbra Group, please visit our website at
Or contact us directly at