What comes to mind when you read that question?
Does Tina Turner’s voice float through your head? Perhaps you continue on with the lyrics and wonder about love being a second-hand emotion…or about the vulnerability of having a heart that can be broken?
Maybe you actually consider an answer to the question.
What comes to mind for me is an interaction I had with a client several years ago…and the 1992 movie A League of Their Own (starring Geena Davis, Tom Hanks, Rosie O’Donnell, and Madonna, among others).
“Crying? There’s no crying in baseball!”
If you’ve seen the movie, that’s a line you’ll likely never forget.
If you haven’t seen the movie, here’s the very brief context: Major league baseball was impacted by World War II and the owners of the Cubs got together and started a women’s baseball league.
Tom Hanks plays the role of a former Cubs player who has been drafted to be the manager of one of women’s teams. He’s not thrilled with the role and doesn’t take it or the players seriously. That line is his line when he is ‘communicating’ with one of his players.
Here’s the 2+ minute clip if you'd like to watch it:
Clearly, Hanks’ character is not demonstrating a high level of emotional intelligence.
But how does that connect to my client interaction and “what’s love got to do with it?”
Keep reading, it will become clear shortly.
The 4 Capacities of Emotional Intelligence (EQ or EI)
It may help to have a little background before I tell you the story of my client.
We all have four capacities that determine our level of emotional intelligence…
- Empathy (other-awareness and compassion)
- Interpersonal/relationship skills
The Learning in Action EQ profile focuses on the first three capacities and provides a snapshot of what goes on inside of us when we are challenged. As you might imagine, the first capacity, self-awareness (or self-reflection) is pretty critical.
Although emotional intelligence is changeable (thankfully!), we can’t do much to change it if we aren’t willing to self-reflect.
One of the facets of self-reflection is the ability to access a range of emotions. This is important because emotions drive most, if not all, of our decision making, as well as provide the means through which we can connect and empathize with others.
“Love and joy? There’s no love and joy at work!”
There are times, early in some conversations, when you know you are in for a long ride. All you can do is buckle up, take a few deep breaths, and remember why you are in it.
Debriefing 'Fred’s' EQ profile with him was one of the conversations.
Fred’s Profile revealed that, when challenged, he would over-index on fear and anxiety and under-index on love and joy (emotional vitality). He had no idea what (appropriate) love and joy would look like in a professional setting and that, in and of itself, stimulated more fear and anxiety. And a large dose of defensiveness.
In a remarkable, yet somewhat tamer, impression of Tom Hanks in A League of Their Own, he railed, “Love and joy? There’s no love and joy at work!”
The rest of the story…showing up as a whole person
Fred did manage to overcome his defensiveness, consider the entire Profile, and reflect on what was most meaningful.
The short story is that he worked on taking better care of himself (to replenish where he was depleted and to ‘find his joy’), replacing some of his fear and anxiety with clarity and confidence about the assets he brought to the organization, and building real relationships with his peers and leadership team rather than believing he needed to just perform for them.
An additional benefit?
He was promoted…twice. He is now an SVP in a global role.
He shared his cover letter for the first promotion with me. He was intentional about showing up in it as a whole person, authentically, talking about his ‘passions’ and his ‘personal journey’ along with his strengths and vision for the new role.
Here’s what he said about it--
“I really like this new cover letter. It is me, however it is not business me. I would fail business writing 101 in college with this cover letter. ‘There is no crying in baseball’… As you can imagine, the document was a necessity, however the exercise did reveal new strengths and weaknesses in my approach and thoughts."
Well done, Fred! The learning never stops…
So, what do you think…what’s love got to do with it?
Image Credit: Lexi Ruskell
- QUESTION ONE:
How do love and joy show up at work in ways that inspire and engage people ... yourself included? Please be specific, this is worthy of some deeper, thoughtful consideration.
- QUESTION TWO:
Depletion and vitality (joy) are two sides of the same emotion. What are one or two things that would increase your joy if you were to incorporate them into a regular practice?
- QUESTION THREE:
What is a belief or assumption (such as "there's no crying in baseball") that you currently embody which might be limiting you from showing up as your whole self?