I love the term “emotional intelligence.” Basically, it means the capacity of individuals to recognize their own (and others’) emotions. And the further capacity to discriminate between them appropriately and to use that to guide thinking and behavior. To me it’s kind of like poker.

You are dealt five cards. You watch the other players. You look at your hand. You think. You listen to the others as they ask for different cards (or don’t). You think. You measure your voice as you request different cards (or don’t). You think again. You estimate. You watch. You think again. You bet. Your raise, call or fold. All without giving away too much information. Knowing the game and its strategies is certainly important, but in many instances, knowing how to keep your thoughts to yourself is the most critical component of success. Your high emotional intelligence at the card table can better your chances of winning. And it’s the same at your office.

“Lack of Emotional Intelligence” was included as one of the “Seven Honest Mistakes That Can Get You Fired” on the HuffPost blog.

I am not sure it’s an honest mistake as much of a thoughtless one. Just because we think something does not mean we need to say (or show) it. The blog says that “…what trips up a lot of people is having a poorly developed poker face. If everyone can tell when you’re bored or irritated or that you think something a colleague is saying is stupid, this will catch up with you…” I used to tell my then 14-year old daughter, she could disagree with me, but she should turn her head AND THEN roll her eyes. She gets the eye-roll satisfaction without the eye-roll punishment. Genius.

How you react to situations and people matters.  To quote, Randy Pausch, from The Last Lecture: “We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”