– You said ‘emotional intelligence’. And what is ‘emotional intelligence’? — I asked.
My friend laughed in reply and asked: Don’t you really know what it is?
— I do know, but what I am asking is what it means for you.
— Well, this question of yours, it is so unnatural.
It’s like what? What kind of? Is there anything else?
It is so often that I hear at the trainings or in conversation with friends: “It is so unnatural! These weird questions, this feedback of yours. This is all very unnatural! This is weird. You look crazy.”
When I faced such comment yet again, I got to think: “Why do I keep on asking these weird question despite they seem so unnatural?”
The answer is very simple and it was Gleb Shulishov who gave it to me as a gift:
“When you ask usual questions which are not weird and are so natural (Why? So what? What for? Why the hell? How?), you get usual answers that usually bring to a usual outcome. When you ask these weird, unnatural questions, you get a new unusual answer that can bring to a new outcome.”
Personally, I ask these weird questions when it is really important to me to get and hear an answer. When it is crucial for me not to let my experience and my ego interfere with it. When I want to give as much space and attention to the person as they need to speak up and be heard by me. I can say that it works like magic. It is so important to me that it works!
If I needed to know what meaning my friend reads in the term ‘emotional intelligence’, and at the same time I didn’t want to lose face as a knowledgeable person (I know I am not silly), I would have asked an ordinary question: “You said emotional intellect. Do you mean empathy?” Most likely, I would have got the answer that would have just saved time: “Well, yes, something like that”, but it would not provide me with the good knowledge of what emotional intelligence is for him: “it is when people realize how emotions and feelings work for them, when they can feel delicate things and are not gross.”
When a customer invites me to help, for example, to help their team members stop offending one another, this is when I don’t have the right to waste the time on usual questions. It is exceptionally important to me to hear and understand how the system is working at the moment, and what system they want to reach. It is not that I should make my guess or think instead of them, but it is that I should help them realize on their own what is going on. Well, and I don’t mind looking crazy at that moment, if it allows me to help them make a difference.
Do you remember, Steve Jobs said: “Those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world usually do.”
Usual questions usually bring to usual outcomes.
Unusual, weird, unnatural question can help make a difference in the world.
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