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EQ is a Muscle You Can Grow

HRDQ-U Blog | EQ is a Muscle You Can Grow

Whether learning a new skill, belief set, or teaching others, there are behaviors and competencies involved. However, if your brain has entered the reptilian mode, your brain is physically unable to grow anything. Access to memory is limited, and decision-making and innovation are limited as well.

I had the privilege of talking with Dr. Izzy Justice about his book EPowerment. Although EQ has been discussed for years and is a powerful concept for leadership development, Dr. Justice has focused on the basics of Emotional Competency through his new book. His research shows that the less able to assess and regulate emotions, the less likely you are to grow any other competency. For example, you might learn how to create a great scope diagram (and many of you have in our project management workshops), but you don’t ever draw them due to the emotional stress of projects neutralizing your energy and triggering bad decisions, in this case thinking “…there’s NO time for something like THAT!” Imagine a day at your desk. You have a negative emotional experience (reptilian). No one has died, and it’s more than breaking a nail… somewhere in the middle. Dr. Justice’s research has shown that as the hormones flow and blood is rerouted in the body, you will have a FOUR-HOUR EMOTIONAL HANGOVER. Think about it. Something happens and everything else you try to do for four hours is impacted. That happens to all of us, and frequently. Most of us have more than one of these a day, and there goes the day. Dr. Justice uses a clear glass of water compared to a glass of tea – our thinking is clouded, so our choices are unclear.

How do we get better at dealing with these negative triggers before they disable us? One way is through aging, but that’s a time-consuming solution. If it’s happened to us before, and we survived, we can take it again. Dr. Justice’s research indicates that we have 80 incidents during each year of our life that can grow our emotional resiliency. On average, we learn from. The steps to emotional growth are:

SELF AWARENESS – I recognize an emotion (before it gets too far), and I know what triggered it. I am aware of myself (through DISC, Workplace Motivators, coaching, etc.) to know why I react in this way and see it for what it is.

SELF REGULATION – Now that I’ve identified the emotion and trigger, I know ways to keep myself from dropping into the reptilian brain response. These techniques help me calm myself and keep my decision-making on track.

EMPATHY – Once I’ve learned to be aware and regulate myself, I can help others.

So what? I am noticing my emotions more.  In my project management work, I am working with teams in similar ways. What are the triggers that take you out during the day? Why? What can you do to grow your awareness and regulation using the EQ Assessment developed by Dr. Justice? Until the brain is engaged, projects will not succeed. If you would like to try the EQ Assessment for free or would like to talk to me about getting your project team back to a full brain, contact

Written by: Lou Russell.

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