My son is reading Harry Potter and is literally devouring it. Soon, I’m thinking, he’ll reach Book 4, which poses a little problem. Not to be a spoiler or anything in case you haven’t read it, bad things happen to good people in Book 4.
So as a parent, I’m thinking about what to do when my 7-y-old can read at 4th/5th grade level but is emotionally not ready for most material written for 4th or 5th graders. Sure, he’s smart enough intellectually but his little emotional self isn’t quite ready for what will happen in the story.
I view one role in my life as his parent to guide those decisions. The idea being that his emotional self will catch up to his intellectual self and those two can co-exist to make good decisions for himself over time. For now, he needs guidance.
But in life and at work, we don’t have parents guiding those tough decisions for us. Which means we need to bring more to the table…In particular, to know that being smart enough isn’t the entire answer. We also need to offer emotional maturity (what Daniel Goleman so eloquently labeled EQ) into the mix. Examples might include:
We need to know that it’s not just about “you” or “me” being “right”.
It’s not about accepting some feedback based on authority, title, rank and ignoring those who are advocating for the good of the total project. (I had an experience this week where someone actually told me he wouldn’t take my feedback because I lacked “authority” and he wanted to hear from “the man in charge”. After creating an audible gasp, I couldn’t think of what else to say.)
And to recognize, the cost to any relationship can’t outweigh the benefits of what one delivers. If it’s too hard to work together, too many things can get left unresolved, and that creates an overhead to any relationship and ultimately to the outcomes.
In life and at work, there’s really no parent in the mix. We ought to be able to work it through. That’s been my premise.
And, of course this means that each of us owns a certain responsible in how we show up. It represents a certain burden to show up, to be willing to give up your own ego needs to meet the needs of the entity because that matters most. It’s a “we win” mode. I know it’s not easy. But it is doable if we are committed to the act of accountability to each other as human beings, as co-creators, as creative beings.
It is doable, isn’t it? We can ask more of each other (and ourselves) to show up EQ ready?