Red Green Repeat Adventures of a Spec Driven Junkie

Debrief: Emotional Intelligence

I want to internalize parts of a training I had on Emotional Intelligence by writing a post on it. I will share a summary of the key learnings and by that I hope you will also gain insight into understanding Emotional Intelligence more to start your journey in learning about it. The total time it would take for you to read this article is about six minutes.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Bacchanal: A Faun Teased by Children,ca. 1616–17 source and more info


My company has fantastic training and I took this opportunity to attend Building Emotional Intelligence by Carolyn Stern from EIExperience.

Carolyn was in the marketing industry previously and after learning about emotional intelligence, she quit to focus on emotional intelligence full time. She was the perfect trainer for us!

What is Emotional Intelligence?

From the training, I got:

Use information from emotions to act intelligently.

When I factor in the information from Emotional Intelligence 2.0, there is high overlap.

I feel my emotions overwhelm me in certain situations, having high emotional intelligence means that I would remain rational, even when emotional information is overwhelming me.

Boss Exercise

An eye opening exercise Carolyn has us do in the workshop was the “boss exercise”. I found it enlightening and it’s easy to do, even if we are not together. The only thing you would need is to write down or record a list of items.


Good boss qualities?

Think of a good boss. What were their qualities? How did they make you feel?

If you have not had a good boss yet, think of a leader that would be a good boss.

Spend a couple minutes, but there’s no need to have an exhaustive list.

Bad boss qualities?

Now, think of a bad boss. What were their qualities? How did they make you feel?

Hopefully, this is easier than the first, but again, no need to go nuts in making a list. A couple of qualities would do.

What’s NOT on your lists?

Now, let’s look at both lists. One thing that is not on the list:

High Intelligence

(I’ve intentionally hidden the quality to keep it as a surprise, if you want to see the quality nobody wrote, highlight the above lines.)

You would think that this item would be on your list, it was not on any list of either the class of 30 I was in nor the lists from my team when I did the exercise with them.

Whether it’s a good boss or a bad boss, this characteristic is not important, yet, everyone focuses on this. To get a job, one may need it, but leaders are not evaluated on it, good or bad!

This was enlightening and has changed how I thought about leaders and where to focus my development on next.

EQ-i 2.0 Model

So, I was expecting this class to use or build on the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 book, but the course uses the EQ-i 2.0 model.

Unlike the Emotional Intelligence 2.0 model that gives four boxes: self/social and awareness/management, EQ-i 2.0 gives a whole model. Five categories, and three subcategories, totalling fifteen different characteristics!

The Five Categories are:

  1. Self-Perception
  2. Self-Expression
  3. Interpersonal
  4. Decision Making
  5. Stress Management

EQ-i 2.0 Model

I do see overlap between EQ-i 2.0 and DiSC Theory as well, but there are categories which each cover but the other does not.

I am still reviewing my notes on this, it’s been a busy week!

Key Learnings I had

The following are learnings that popped out to me during the training as immediate learnings that I felt: “that makes so much sense, why didn’t I figure that out before, it’s so simple!”

My Stress Management is Not Transferrable

I understand myself to really thrive on stress. Give me an impossible task and a crazy deadline (say, a hackathon?!) and I revel in the challenge of getting it done.

The idea of this excites me, I get energy and ready to do start getting down to business.

While this is true for me, it is not true for others, especially those on my team. How each person handles stress is different, ranging from shutting down or getting excite (like me.)

Handling stress is not teachable either and I have to understand how others deal with stress and work with them, not “deal with it better”.

Leadership Redefined

In my head, I always had the definition of “leadership” was to be the best of the group.

Carolyn showed the following clip and asked: “What are some leadership examples demonstrated?”

The fact that the singer needed help and the coach coming to her rescue by singing with her, even though he was not a good singer himself, is the definition of leadership.

Leadership: you don’t have to be the best, but brave enough to be the first.

Comfort, Learning, Panic Zones

Each person has a specific set of comfort, learning, and panic zones, illustrated as:

Comfort, Learning, Panic Zones

The leader’s job is to get their team members out of their comfort zone and into the learning zone, while keeping them out of the panic zone.

Ideally, the team member would be at the edge of the learning and panic zones.

Understanding this, along with understanding stress levels is making me reflect on how I work with my team to get the best from them.


Training from Carolyn at EIExperience was humbling. I thought I would know more by reading up on Emotional Intelligence, but she opened up my mind to a whole new world of understanding.

  • My key learnings will change how I work with my team immediately and understanding of myself.
  • The EQ-i 2.0 model is a whole new way to breakdown and understand emotional intelligence. I’m excited to learn more.
  • The boss test was a great way to learn: “What got me the job, isn’t what everyone is looking for in a leader”, good or bad.

I’m looking forward to learning about Emotional Intelligence even more now.