Emotional Intelligence: The Most Common Misconception for Contractors and Engineers


I teach emotional intelligence to technical people, mostly contractors and engineers.  And the most common misconception is the basic definition of emotional intelligence.  Most folks in construction think that it is about being nice.  Superintendents are afraid that I am trying to turn them into wimps.  They argue that they NEED to be really tough and a bit of  jerk to actually get anything done.  The following link illustrates this misconception:

Construction workers on Emotional Intelligence

As funny as this video is, this misconception about emotional intelligence simply isn’t true.  Emotional intelligence is about identifying and managing emotions in yourself and others for the best outcomes.  This recognition and management of emotions is vital to your own personal health and well-being.  It helps to manage stress.  It is also vital for effective management of people.  The two basic things we learn right off the bat is that emotions are contagious and emotions create energy and can affect outcomes.

Bear Bryant, the University of Alabama football coach put it this way:  “Some kids need a kick in the pants.  Some kids need a pat on the back.  Sometimes the same kid needs both.  I know which thing to do to which kid at which time.”  That’s a great definition of emotional intelligence. So don’t dismiss it because of the name.  This is powerful stuff that changes people’s lives and company cultures.  I see it happen every day.

So don’t be held back by the term “emotional intelligence”.  Dig into it a bit and see for yourself.  The reason it isn’t going away is that every single day neuroscience is verifying what we intuitively know to be true.  So emotional intelligence isn’t touchy-feely; it isn’t about singing Kumbaya or group hugs.  It’s neuroscience and physics.  It’s about energy and how your brain works.  If you are still skeptical, here is a great video:




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