An Intelligence Test (2 of 2)


Like all change and transformations in life, the first step of improvement is awareness.

To improve our EQ (emotional intelligence) we first have to find out if we are being a “jerk at work” without our even knowing it.

Here’s what I suggest you do: perform a 360 Review on yourself.

We all think we know ourselves and how we show up in the world. But our perception of ourselves might be one of our greatest limitations. The effect we have on our environment and those around us could be very different from what we think… or want.

One year, I asked several people in my life how I was “showing up” to them. I was flabbergasted by what they told me. Wow, I had no idea I was “doing that!” I thought I was behaving one way, but I was being perceived completely different than I imagined.

At first I was hurt; then I grew defensive (back in my lower-EQ years). After

receiving the same response more than once, I knew I was busted. I then realized why I was having difficulty advancing in certain areas of my life.

This could be happening to you… without you even knowing it. While it might be a scary and possibly painful process, it might also break you through what might be holding you back from your greater potential. That makes it worth it in the end.

Here are a few questions to ask:
How do I show up?
What do I think people judge or believe about me, right or wrong, when they first meet me?
Do I think I really listen to people?
Am I defensive?
Am I empathetic and do I demonstrate that I care?

there is one thing I could improve to connect better with people, what would it be?

Now, here are a few key tips to this process:

  1. Ask those who care enough about you to be (brutally) honest.
  2. Give them permission to be candid. Tell them that you need their help and that help requires their frank feedback. The more seemingly harsh, the more constructive it will be.
  3. Don’t be defensive, just listen—really listen—and encourage them to explain their answer so you can receive as much outside perspective as possible.
  4. Thank them sincerely for caring enough and feeling safe enough in the relationship to be completely forthright and honest with you. It’s as risky and difficult for them to make their suggestions as it is for you to hear them.
  5. Select one suggestion to be one of your self-improvement goals for this year.

Now I know this is a big challenge. This process is not for the faint of heart. How committed are you really to your personal development? If not so much, skip this.

If you are really serious about becoming the person who deserves the goals you have for your life, this exercise is essential.

Trust me, I can speak from personal experience; this could be one of the most profound, revealing and life-altering exercises you ever do.

Again, I warn, this can be a bit like ripping a Band-Aid off a wound, but it’s better than the prolonged pain of having it torn off slowly—either way, the bandage has to come off to promote growth.

If you are brave enough to do it, I want to know who you are… and I’d love to know how it went. When you do this with 3-5 people, tell me about the experience. Come back here and tell us on this blog, or catch me on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. I can’t wait to read about your experiences—I’ll be looking for them.

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Share your comments, reflections or experiences in the comments below. Use the ‘Share’ button to encourage others to consider taking The Intelligence Test as well.




23 responses to “An Intelligence Test (2 of 2)”

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  3. Great article Darren! I sent the following email to my whole sales staff and got some great (and revealing!) feedback:
    Sales Team,
    I am a firm believer that one of the best ways for a new person like myself in a leadership position to improve is to get real, honest, and healthy feedback from their team in regards to what is good, needs improvement, and what may be missing. This is part of one of my favorite acronyms “CANI” (constant and never-ending improvement)

    PLEASE NOTE: I do not promise immediate change on anything (and perhaps some things will move in the opposite direction of a suggestion), but your honest feedback will give me a blue print of what you’re thinking so that I can help steer you to more $$$, more synergy internally and with clients, and ultimately more fulfillment overall!

    Now that I’ve been on board for roughly 6 weeks, I want to get a pulse check from you:

    I want to know how I can best serve you:
    -What do you want more of from me?
    -What do you need less of from me?
    -What am I missing that needs to be addressed?
    -What kind of communication between us is working & isn’t working?
    -How can I improve to help you even more from an in field sales perspective?
    -What do you see that needs improvement from a sales division perspective that you believe I can affect?
    -Any additional comments, questions, ideas, etc.

  4. I’m just now reading these posts but, am formulating who in my life to ask these questions to. In your opinion would it be better to email someone these to help them be more open and candid???

  5. I was reading John Maxwell’s book “Talent is never enough” and have some favourable feedback from a few co-workers. Will definitely try this in the next week or so with some trusted confidants.


  6. @Ken J., people you trust. People care about you. Care and trust their relationship depth with you enough to be honest but compassionate. And know it is just THIER viewpoint, not gospel.

  7. Soliciting feedback from others is invaluable. As a manager, I used to have my team give me three starts, three stops, and three continues. They would submit them to me anonymously and I would publish them in an email and distribute them. Then I would call a team meeting and ask them to cull them down to the top three (Start, Stop, Continue). All of this was done without me in the room. It was up to me to decide whether or not I would act on the feedback. I also encouraged them to do the same. Powerful stuff and it is like ripping off a bandage.

  8. I’m a Personal Financial Coach. I help people understand the rules of money and then help them apply that knowledge and understanding to create and manage wealth. Towards the end of the initial client interaction I always ask “I value feedback. If you would be so kind… Is there anything I said or didn’t say, did or didn’t do that made this relationship any less comfortable for you?” Then I ask for referrals. If they resist I say what could I have done differently that would make you feel more comfortable referring me to people you know?

  9. Hi Darren,
    Will this work with people that are very judgemental from gossip. Or is that the point.
    Who in personal relationships would be best to do this with.

  10. Just when I think you have written your best post ever, you come back with something new and outpace my expectations wildly. DH if people only “GET” this one concept they are well on their way to becoming extraordinary!! Thanks for this!!

    Also I order, received, and started working on your program “Your Best Year Ever”. Just between you and me, you really could have charged 10 to 20 times what you did for it!! What a gift it is and you are to our Success Family!!

    Have a magical day!!
    Corey J.

  11. Recently I listen attentively to people who criticize my character and thereafter seek ways of improvement. I also offer same advice to people who portrait similar character as mine and actually let them know that I’m sharing the info on the basis that I care about them.

  12. Thanks, Darren, for the article – it was rather thought-provoking!
    As hard as it may seem, I’ve made up my mind to do the test:)

  13. Thanks, Darren, for the article, I regularly read your blog posts and every time I find something interesting and thought-provoking in them.
    It’s rather a challenging test but I’ve made up my mind to start it:)

  14. Judith, you are absolutely right that our attitudes and responses are different when we are dealing with our subordinates and bosses but the most important thing is to remain rationale and unbiased while dealing with any one and that what i think is the objective of this intelligence testi.e to explore your improvement areas. The responses will tell you the focus areas that can be helpful for professional as well as peronal development.

  15. @Judith, I think this raises the question of internal versus external power. I find that as I commit to being my authentic and best self with the intention of expressing all of who I am in any given situation, my power comes from within and I don’t need to be concerned about who’s in what position or which hat I wear. I encourage those around me to express themselves authentically as well with the effect that their need to feel powerful diminishes as they feel heard and supported. Being human I don’t always live up to my ideal, but I do a greater proportion of time than I don’t and I both see and feel the difference.

    This is a perfect time to try this 360 as I’m about to undertake a significant change in my life. I’ll take a deep breath and let you know how it goes!

  16. Your question- What’s the most difficult thing you have had to hear?

    After experiencing horrible behavior problems with at the time our teen age son, I took him to see a world class therapist to help him. The most difficult thing I had to hear from the therapist that day was that I was the problem not our son. It blew me away but something inside of me knew the therapist was right and I was the jerk.

    What changed? I spent 3 hours in session every Saturday driving 2 hours one way from Philadelphia to Baltimore for 7 years to clean up my parenting skills and stop being a jerk as a dad.

    The result, today I work with both of our children in our family construction company and both of our children are happy in their own relationships. We’ve become an unstoppable team, family and best of friends.

    Thanks for asking.

  17. @Barry Schlouch, What’s the most difficult thing you have had to hear? What’s the biggest thing you have changed as a result? Come on Barry, let’s take up the 360 a notch!

  18. It all depends on what role you play in people’s life, what hat are you wearing. It’s not the same to interact with your subordinates than with your boss, friends or family. People show their power when they can, that’s human nature.

  19. Share your comments, reflections or experiences in the comments below. Use the ‘Share’ button to encourage others to consider taking The Intelligence Test as well.

    Darren, excellent post. I’m constantly checking and and taking inventory of how people perceive my behavior. I also sit down annually with my direct reports and ask their peers in advance- What’s working with the person’s behavior? Where could the person’s behavior improve? I compile the feedback word for word and share it with them. They really appreciate the candid feedback and then I get them together as a group to brainstorm. It’s one of the most powerful exercises to influence both positive behavior and positive change along with building an unstoppable team.

    Have a great week!