YAPClassic: Justin Bariso on Becoming a Master at Emotional Intelligence

YAPClassic: Justin Bariso on Becoming a Master at Emotional Intelligence

YAPClassic: Justin Bariso on Becoming a Master at Emotional Intelligence

When Justin Bariso moved to Germany, he learned a popular phrase about German workplace culture: “no complaints is enough of a compliment.” Determined to make his office cultures more uplifting, he worked with German executives on their emotional intelligence, or EQ. In the process, he started writing about EQ for Inc.com, and his articles now draw in over a million readers each month. In this episode of YAPClassic, Justin Bariso breaks down everything you need to know about improving your EQ to achieve personal and professional success.

Justin Bariso is an author, speaker, and consultant who helps organizations and individuals develop their emotional intelligence. His thoughts on leadership and EQ draw over a million readers a month, and his book, EQ Applied, shares fascinating research, modern examples, and personal stories that illustrate how emotional intelligence works in the real world.


In this episode, Hala and Justin will discuss:

– Why EQ is so important to one’s success

– The connection between persuasion and EQ

– What is emotional intelligence?

– The 4 components of EQ

– The truth about self-control and habits

– How to practice emotional intelligence during conversations

– Why negative feedback is a gift

– The dark side of emotional intelligence

– How Steve Jobs used EQ to advance his career and run Apple

– And other topics…


Justin Bariso is an author, speaker, and consultant who helps organizations and individuals develop their emotional intelligence. His thoughts on leadership and EQ draw over a million readers a month, and LinkedIn named him a “Top Voice” in the field of management and workplace culture three years in a row. His book, EQ Applied, shares fascinating research, modern examples, and personal stories that illustrate how emotional intelligence works in the real world.


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Resources Mentioned:

Justin’s Book, EQ Applied: https://eqapplied.com/


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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: What's up, young improfiters? Welcome back to the show. Today, we're replaying my episode with Justin Bariso. Like all YAP classics, this is an oldie but goodie, and I actually remember recording this interview at Disney Streaming Services when I was still working in corporate.

And I remember this conversation with Justin. Because it was so impactful for me. I learned so much and it personally helped me in my career. Justin is an emotional intelligence expert, author, and speaker. Over a million people a month read his column on Inc. com and his work has been published by Time, Business Insider, Forbes, and more.

In this episode, we're breaking down the components of emotional intelligence, or EQ. We talk about why EQ is action oriented, how our brain's emotional programming makes self control so difficult, And why negative feedback is actually truly a blessing. We talk about EQ on the podcast here and there, but this was by far my favorite conversation on emotional intelligence on the show.

So I think you guys are going to love this conversation. Without further delay, here's my interview with Justin Bariso. 

 In your own words, could you introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us how you got into EQ and how you became an expert in this field? 

[00:01:29] Justin Bariso: Yeah, sure. So I have probably a much different journey than most people. I worked about 13 years for a non profit and New York City, well, started in New York City, and it was a great experience for me because it was a very mission driven organization, very forward thinking, very people oriented, and so that was kind of where I, you know, earned my chops and got training, and beyond just, like, training in dealing with people, I had some great mentors.

So, you know, I saw how to actually put that training into practice, you know, managing small teams. which eventually became larger teams. But then some years later, my wife and I actually got pregnant. And this was very unexpected for us. We weren't planning to have kids. And my wife is from Germany. So we made the decision, maybe an unorthodox decision for some, but we decided to move to Europe, to Germany, actually, to be closer to her family.

That was about eight years ago. And so I took all this training and experience that I had, and I kind of, you know, went out on my own. And I started, um, consulting just freelance, uh, originally for different organizations. And I was helping German executives. The German thinking in the workplace is much different.

I mean, the American workplace has a lot to work on too, but I would say in many ways the German thinking was even behind quite a bit. Like, um, I'll share, there's a phrase, it's very popular in German and loosely translated. It says, listen, to not get scolded or to not get cursed out is enough praise. So that's their kind of thinking, you know, that is in a lot of companies typical over here.

So I was taking a lot of what I had learned and bringing it over here and helping German executives and then eventually just kind of stumbled into writing about this whole journey. And It became more and more emotional intelligence focused just based on what I had experienced, but then noticing too that there was kind of a gap because I was doing a lot of research and emotional intelligence.

And, you know, a lot of the writing I noticed was, well, Goldman's book was already 20 years old. It's brilliant, you know, but it was two decades old. Bradbury's stuff was almost a decade old. And there wasn't, I found a lot of very relatable, very practical materials. So I started filling in this, what I felt was a gap in the space.

And I did that mainly through my column, which is on ink, ink. com. To me, it kind of proved that there was a gap because the column just took off. I mean, in the beginning I had, I think, My first column had a couple thousand readers and within a few years it was, you know, well over a million. I think we're averaging two million a month now.

So it seems like something people were hungry for. What is emotional intelligence? It's kind of gone through a resurgence because you have a younger generation of workers that um, didn't know it from the two decades ago. And also just, they wanted real life examples. What does this look like and, and how can I improve mine and that kind of thing.


[00:04:25] Hala Taha: Okay, let's get into really dig deep into emotional intelligence to give my listeners some background on this topic. The term emotional intelligence was coined by Daniel Goleman back in 1995. And it was really thought of as the missing link in regards to people with average IQs outperforming those with high IQs, 70 percent of the time.

So this really threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed to be the source of success, which was previously thought to be IQ. And you know, now more and more findings are showing that EQ is actually the it factor when it comes to success. So in your own words, Justin, tell us why EQ is so important to one's success.

[00:05:09] Justin Bariso: We're emotional creatures, right? We operate many times on emotion. We have the ability to also be rational creatures. Different areas of our brain operate when we're under high stress or when we're in an emotional situation. So emotional intelligence is all about identifying, understanding, and managing those emotions.

It's not about eliminating those emotions. You know, some people think, oh, emotional intelligence, you're trying to. turn people into robots, not at all. Emotional intelligence is about finding that balance between the rational and emotional thought because you don't want what might be described as rational thought without emotion.

You don't want that because we're emotional creatures. Emotion is great. It motivates us. It inspires us. On the other hand, we've all been in situations where we did or said something that we later regret. And oftentimes it's because we're in an emotional moment and we're not in the practice of managing or even understanding at times what those emotions are and how they're affecting us.

So my job is to help people understand the role that emotion plays in their decision making and their behavior, and then see how to understand that and how to manage that. And I try to condense that into one very simple, easy to understand sentence, and it's emotional intelligence is making emotions work for you instead of against you.

[00:06:24] Hala Taha: Very cool. And so in your book, you say that we're living in an era of post truths and that this era of post truths makes it more essential for us to be great at emotional intelligence or improve our emotional intelligence. You say in this era of post truths, we lose the ability to think for ourselves.

And that our personal beliefs have become more influential than objective facts. So can you tell us more about this era of post truth idea? Because I found it so intriguing. 

[00:06:54] Justin Bariso: Sure. Well, I mean, a lot of the way we're educated nowadays is through the media, right? And the media on many different sides. So, you know, we're getting facts presented us through a certain lens, and again, that's regardless of political affiliation or reporter, you know, all of us are influenced by our own respective upbringings are training all the above.

And so the media is exactly the same. So a lot of times, it can be very difficult to know, What is true and what is false? What is exaggerated? You know, all the above. So emotional intelligence can help us because it helps to kind of separate that and to see what is exaggerated, to see what is not exactly might be coming through factually, or might be biased in one way or the other.

And it's all about being able to read the news, to be able to see a situation. We all know that a situation can look different. Let's say a situation at work, depending on what perspective you're seeing it. The boss sees it different from the. employee who sees it different from someone outside of the team.

So being able to kind of recognize those perspectives and again, finding that balance with emotion. So letting emotion influence how we think and how we examine facts and situations as they're presented to us, but not letting our emotions run away with how we judge those situations. Got it. 

[00:08:21] Hala Taha: So I recently had Scott Adams on the show.

He is a cartoonist. He had created Dilbert. Yes. And he wrote this book called Win Bigly, and it's all about how Trump used persuasion strategies to win the 2016 election. And it got me thinking, do you think that persuasion and emotional intelligence are 

[00:08:40] Justin Bariso: connected? Oh, yeah, for sure. I mean, we need to tap into someone's emotions to persuade.

Right. And we talk about, for example, just think about any presentation, any sales pitch, any political speech that's given, you know, they can cite statistics and they can cite facts and it can all be very interesting and it may all be very logical and you may walk away saying, Oh yeah, I should. Vote for that candidate or oh, yeah, I should buy that product But if it doesn't touch you on an emotional level, you will not do those things, you know so emotional intelligence and persuasion are definitely Connected because persuasion is all about combining that data the facts with a story.

Yeah with something that touches a person. And once you do that, then you can motivate people to act. 

[00:09:32] Hala Taha: Totally. So let's define what emotional intelligence is. In your book, you give a definition. You say it's the ability to monitor one's own and others emotions and use this information to guide your actions and thinking.

And your personal definition of emotional intelligence is the ability to make emotions work for you instead of against you. Now, the title of your book is eq applied. And so I'm assuming that you're suggesting that we should take action when it comes to eq. So tell us why you believe that eq is so action oriented.

[00:10:08] Justin Bariso: It starts off with Self awareness, we kind of break down, and you know, I don't take credit for this, Goldman, as you said, he was big in popularizing the idea of emotional intelligence, which originally started with two college professors, Peter Salovey and John Meyer, who really, they kind of pioneered the research, but Goldman's book is what really opened it up to the masses.

And one of the first domains or facets of emotional intelligence is self awareness. And then another one is social awareness. So, self awareness is being able to understand emotions and how they affect you. So, if I'm in a certain mood, being able to recognize that and knowing that that may influence how I respond.

If I'm in a really good mood, I may say yes to something that I don't want to say yes to. If I'm in a really bad mood, quite the opposite. You know, I might turn down a great opportunity or I might write an angry email that I later regret. Things like that. And then social awareness. is extending it and being able to understand how emotions affect others and how a person might be reacting or acting in a different way because of, you know, the way emotions are affecting them at the moment.

So that's all the understanding, right? That's all the awareness. But then to make it actionable is the next step. And these are the domains or the facets of being able to manage myself, being able to manage my relationship. So taking all that understanding. And then being able to put that into practice.

So I'll give you a brief example that I cite in the book, and I actually learned this from an unlikely source, Craig Ferguson, the, the comedian, television personality, and he says, before you say anything, you have to ask yourself three questions in your head. Does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me?

Does this need to be said by me now? And you know, he makes a joke out of it. He's like took me three marriages to learn that lesson, you know But it's so true if you put that into practice, you know, we talked about Thinking before you speak or taking a pause before you take action and it's easy to say but it's not easy to do in practice But having those three questions in your head can really help you.

I know because I use this every single day of my life. I use it in my work life. I use it at home with my wife, with my children. And, you know, it eliminates probably 70 percent of the things that I would say, just realizing, you know, this might not be the best time to bring this up. And, you know, sometimes the answer is yes.

text to all three questions. Yes, this needs to be said by me right now. And that's great because you can say it with confidence and not worry, you know, how the other person is going to react because you need to say this, but other times, you know, you might say, okay, I do need to say this, but this might not be the best time for it.

And kind of recognizing that can make. All the difference in the response that you get, you know, from whether it's your partner or a colleague or that kind of thing, and then just, you know, a caveat to that. So that's for someone like me who tends to put their foot in their mouth, you know, rather easily, but then you have other people who are more introverted, and these probably are not.

necessarily the right questions to ask themselves, at least not all the time, because they already hold back from talking. So they might want to have another mental dialogue with themselves, where they ask, Will I regret not saying this thing that's in my head right now? And that could be the motivation to get them to actually speak up and to say something that they really should say or should ask.

I love 

[00:13:28] Hala Taha: that. So the questions are, does this need to be said? Does this need to be said by me? And does this need to be said by me now? Right? Exactly. Very cool. And I'm like you where I put my foot in my mouth all the time. So I'll definitely take that advice. And if you're introverted, do not take that advice or else you'll never say anything when you're supposed to.

That's right. So in your book, you break down EQ into four distinct abilities. You were sort of teasing them out when you were defining EQ. The four skills are self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. Could you just unpack each one of these in detail for our listeners so we can start to understand them really 

[00:14:08] Justin Bariso: well?

Sure, yeah. To get back into self awareness again, this is identifying and understanding how emotions affect you. So it deals with a lot of things. It deals with the current mood that you're in, how the mood affects you. It deals with what your tendencies are. So, for example, what kind of emotions tend to influence my decision making?

Do I tend to make decisions when I'm angry? that I later regret. I mean, most of us do, right? But kind of identifying when that happens, we're all going to make those type of mistakes. But when you identify when that happens. It helps you to understand when it's happening or while it's happening. And then the goal is to understand even before it happens, you know, so that you can make adjustments and like we said nobody's perfect so you will continue to make mistakes and will continue to be emotional creatures, but Identifying that can help you to make better decisions, can help you make decisions that are more in harmony, you know, with your values and your principles.

So you're not making so many or doing so many things or saying so many things that you regret. So that's self awareness. Self management, as we mentioned, is now putting that into practice. So what are the techniques? And I go into these in detail in the book, and we just talked about it too. What are questions I can ask myself?

What are exercises that I can practice to help me not only to understand how these emotions are affecting me, but to be able to actually If I act the same way over and over again, if I always attempted to get in a incident of road rage every single time I get cut off on the highway, how can I change that habit?

Cause you know, habit change. And I know you interviewed someone recently is talking about this too. It's so hard to break habits, right? Especially bad ones. So what are the things I can do to help me? Change these emotional habits. That's the self management side. Social awareness then is applying that to others.

So how can I understand others? How can I have empathy for others? One of the greatest lessons I've learned in my own research with emotional intelligence in writing the book, I had the chance to interview Chris Voss, which I think you interviewed Chris Voss, too. Is that right? Isn't he awesome? 

[00:16:11] Hala Taha: He's amazing.

That was one of my favorite interviews. And the one you mentioned before about Habits was Nir Eyal. And he's great, too. Yeah. Nir Eyal. 

[00:16:19] Justin Bariso: I thought so. Yes. So I got to interview Chris Voss with the book, who for those that weren't able to hear that episode, he was the FBI's lead kidnap negotiator for a number of years and he's the one that taught me.

I thought I knew empathy Well, Chris Voss taught me empathy at another level because he's the one that taught me this amazing phrase Empathy does not equal agreement And in just those few words he was dealing with these kidnappers, these terrorists, criminals, and he had to learn to develop empathy for them because that's the only way he would ever get to persuade them to, you know, change their course of action.

So, of course, he couldn't agree with them. They were hardened criminals. They had broken the law many times in severe ways, but he had to understand where they're coming from if he had any chance. of, you know, changing their mind. And so here's the social awareness is understanding other people. Now we may differ very much from them as far as their thinking, their ideology, or even you know, let's put it in a very simple context at work.

Let's say someone comes to you with a complaint. And it's very hard to relate to that because like, you know what they're complaining about, you've had to deal with that before and you know, you're like, man, what is the big deal? Just toughen up. It's not such a hard thing to do, but you have to understand the feeling that they're dealing with.

Okay. You know, maybe you were overwhelmed by that certain thing, but you have been overwhelmed at work. And if you can relate to that feeling, Feeling of being overwhelmed. Now you can start to understand that person. Now you can relate to them better, and they'll be much more willing now to hear what you have to say.

So that social awareness is being just able to understand others and how emotions are affecting them. And then the final kind of maybe hardest one is relationship management. And that's where you're taking all three of those other facets and putting them together. And managing your relationship with others so that you are able to build trust with others so that you're able to give and provide value in those relationships and you're gonna Get value in return because when people trust each other whether it's on the same team Whether it's at home to partners now, you're gonna get much more out of that relationship.

So that's relationship 

[00:18:29] Justin Bariso: management 

 from my understanding, emotional intelligence, the crux of it is really about cultivating self control. Can you start to explain to us why our brains emotional programming make it so difficult to have self control and why we're just hardwired to not have self control?

[00:18:57] Justin Bariso: Well, it all goes back into the habits, right? Once you do something over and over again. You're basically, you're running a little path in your brain, and it gets very, very easy to do that same thing over and over again. And even if you regret it, if you do certain actions that you regret, if you don't do anything to change that path, then you're just going to do it over and over again.

So here's an experience I write about in the book. to illustrate this. It's my own experience, actually, as I mentioned, I have small children. So I might take my children to the park and you know, I'm very, I'm always checking my email, right? So I opened my phone, I get a message or I get an email and they are trying to play with dad.

I'm trying to respond to this email or this message. I get frustrated. Next thing you know, I'm like yelling, you know, just leave me alone for a second. I got to respond to this. They end up in tears, you know, and like, it's just this horrible scene. Who's at fault there? Okay, well, you could say I'm at fault, but if we break it down even further, you know, the children are just trying to get my attention, which I've kind of promised them because I'm taking them to the park.

I'm trying to do something for work at the moment, which isn't bad within itself. But the real problem, the underlying problem is Um, I'm trying to multitask and I happen to be the worst multitasker on earth. I've discovered this about myself, but I would hate it when that happened and I'd apologize to my kids.

And then what would happen? I do the exact same thing the next day or the next week. So I eventually had to build self awareness. I had to say, look, I'm doing this over and over again. I have to recognize that and I have to do something to stop it. So you can't just get rid of a bad habit. You have to replace a bad habit.

So I had to tell myself, okay. I have to completely silence my phone, turn off notifications and everything if I'm taking my kids to the park. Because if I try to do both things, it's going to end up bad. And if I know that there's a message coming, you know, there's always exceptions. There may be something that you have to handle in a timely way, and you have to take your kids at that moment, or whatever the situation is for your audience.

But if you run into one of those situations, now you have to make the adjustment. So I have to tell my kids, look, you have my full attention, however, laughs You know, I have a message coming through in half an hour. So I'm going to have to check my phone. So I just want to brace you for that. Um, I have to go away for five minutes and, you know, make sure my wife's got them or whatever, make sure they're taken care of so I can go back, check my phone and answer whatever message I need.

So here's where I'm replacing that bad habit, but it all came down to realizing how the emotion of, you know, dealing with multitasking was actually the root. Cause of the problem and that's helped me. I discovered this years ago, and it helped me in so many other ways of life It wasn't just dealing with my kids It was realizing that I couldn't get through a single task because I had notifications going off on my phone You know or on my computer and I needed to silence these if I'm working head down on a specific task like when I was writing my book for example or Anything like that.

If I'm trying to have a conversation with my wife and my phone goes off and it's immediately distracting me and that ends badly. She's like, are you listening to me? You know, so I had to realize the same thing and sometimes it was. Hey, honey, give me just two minutes so I can finish this up and then you have my full undivided attention.

And that simple action completely changes the tone and the nature of our conversation. So these are some simple ways that you can build emotional intelligence into your daily life. Yeah. So 

[00:22:24] Hala Taha: there's a really big lesson in all of this. It's the fact that our habits are. What's determining how we act when we become upset?

Basically, we develop these internal mechanisms for coping with the things that upset us, and they end up being our habits. So for example, you might always act the same way when you get cut off on the highway, or you might always act the same way when you're You know, boyfriend ditches you on a date or whatever it is, so you want to start to be aware of all these different habits you have when it comes to your emotions.

What I'm curious about is if we have these habits that we might have been doing since we were a child that were so hardwired into our minds of how we react to certain situations, how do we recondition ourselves 

[00:23:07] Justin Bariso: then? Yeah, well, that's the hard part. And there's a few different ways to do it. It depends on what kind of habit you're trying to adjust.

So, a lot of times, these kind of moments that you talked about, Hala, where our emotions take over. We mentioned earlier how a different part of your brain is working at this point, the amygdala, is really taking over when you're in that emotional moment. And Goldman kind of termed this an emotional hijack.

And I love that term because it really illustrates, you know, your brain has been hijacked. You wouldn't normally respond this way. But now you're responding this way because you've been hijacked by something bad that's happened to you, or, you know, whatever it is, whatever the case may be. So, the key to breaking those habits is recognizing when they happen, and like we said, if you don't do anything about it, then they're just going to keep happening over and over again.

So self awareness starts with taking some moments directly after it happens, or if that's not possible, then later that day, or the next morning, and say, Okay, I'm going to buy out 15 20 minutes to identify What happened to me? Why did I lose my temper? Why did I make a decision that I shouldn't have made?

Like we said, sometimes it's not anger. Sometimes it's joy. You know, we're in such a great mood, and we're ready to agree to basically anything. And so we say yes, and someone says, I want to be on your podcast, too. And you say, okay. Yes, I agree to that. And you know, someone else says, I need you to do this task for me.

Of course, I'll do that for you. And then we realize we've overbooked ourselves, right? And then the next It's like, why did I agree to do all these things, and my priorities are this, this, and this, and now I don't have time for that. And then either, you know, we break our priorities, or we end up not delivering on what we've promised to do.

So, you know, that's how it can affect us too, being in a positive mood, right? So taking time After that, and identifying why did I make the decision, and then developing a strategy for changing that next time. Next time I notice that I'm in a really good mood, or next time I notice I'm in an emotional moment, what can I do differently?

Yeah, and then these strategies, it has to be something simple, because if it's not simple, you're not going to do it. Right. And so that's like the three questions. So if I'm an emotional moment, I'm angry. I just got an email. And I said, I can't believe you know, they're saying this, I got to respond to this email right now.

But of course, that's the absolute worst thing I can do. So if I can ask myself the three questions, Does this need to be said? Yes, I need to respond to this email. Does it need to be said by me? For sure, they emailed me. Does it need to be said by me now? Probably not. Let me take a walk, or let me take 30 minutes and come back to it.

And now your response to that email will be totally different than it was, you know, half an hour ago, or yesterday, or whatever it is. Yeah. But Those three questions are simple enough to help you make the change That's just one and I go over a number of these different very simple techniques. Another one is what I call fast forward So if you find yourself an emotional moment and you're about to do or say something that you're going to regret just pause for a second And think forward.

Yeah. How is this action going to affect me tomorrow? How is this going to affect me three weeks from now? How is it going to affect me five years from now? That sounds like a big thought process, but it really isn't. It takes a few seconds to kind of run those questions through your head. And again, it makes all the difference.

in helping you build that self control and breaking those habits. 

[00:26:24] Hala Taha: Yeah. Well, we love to be actionable here at Young and Profiting Podcast, and I loved the analogies you used in your book related to audio. You talk about tactics like pause, volume, mute, recording, fast forward, which you just mentioned.

Could you? Talk about some of these tips, maybe go over some of them so that our listeners can use them in practice. 

[00:26:43] Justin Bariso: But yeah, so I compare it like to a media player or to watching Netflix, right? We're all watching Netflix and we've got all these controls at our hand. We can turn the volume up or down.

Well, what does that mean? Well, you know, one thing, and I credit my wife for actually teaching me this. When you go into a conversation with someone, they often will mimic the tone that you take with them. So if you go into a conversation upset and frustrated, Guess what? They're going to come back to you upset and frustrated.

If you can go in, you know, in a cool, rational way, then they're oftentimes going to react that same way. So the volume control is just that, is being able to noticing, sometimes we don't notice it at first, or sometimes we don't go into the conversation that way, but we see now that things are elevating.

Well, noticing that and being able to dial it back a bit. Okay, let me reduce my tone, let me try to calm down, and that's going to calm the other person down. We've kind of alluded to the pause, but let me kind of break that down a little bit more specifically. So the pause, you know, just like if you're watching Netflix, you might pause it for a second so you can process what's going on.

Think about a scene or something like that. So the pause is when you notice that you're in an emotional moment, not just moving forward, not just pressing forward, but stopping and whether it's asking those questions or like we said, taking a walk, sometimes it's not possible to take a walk or to go anywhere.

But just pausing for five seconds before you answer a question can make all the difference. Because if you respond purely based on emotion, then you might say something that you regret. Ah, why did I say that? Or why reveal that? But if you combine your emotion with rational thought, just taking five seconds to think that through.

And there's a great example of how Steve Jobs used this. I wrote about it for my ink column. If you just Google Steve Jobs, great way, respond to an insult. And you'll find there's actually a video out there too. And you'll see that someone basically attacked him from the audience. It was shortly after his return to Apple.

And they attacked him from the audience like, Why did you do this? And what have you been doing for the last few years? You know, and you'll notice that the first thing he does, he doesn't respond at all. He takes a drink of water. He says a brief comment, I can't remember off the top of my head, but it takes him about 30 seconds before he gives the man a full answer.

And the first thing he says is, you know, the problem with this situation is that gentlemen like this are many times right. And he agrees with the man. And he just, you can feel how he just gains the whole audience. And then he turns the answer into really, you know, persuade the audience to his way of thinking.

But it all starts with that pause. And it just shows how powerful pausing for a few seconds before taking action is. So we talked about the pause. We talked about fast forward. Mute recording. Mute. Yeah, exactly. So sometimes we need to shut up because if we continue speaking when someone else Is in an emotional moment.

It's not going to do any good. They're not listening to us. We're not making any headway. We're not being persuasive, whereas if we just mute ourselves, then that gives us the ability to move on to the next tool, which is recording, and it's just listening to what they have to say and listening is such a learning.

Exercise right? You're not recording to get something you can use against them in a future way No, again, we go to it's all about understanding social awareness is about empathy and understanding Why do they feel the way they do? Why are they upset right now? So just muting And then recording, listening to what they have to say can help you get to the root cause of whatever problem.

Maybe it has nothing to do with you. Maybe they're in a bad mood because of this or this that happened to their day. You know, and that can help you to see, okay, I just need to come back to them at a different time. Or maybe it is something that you said or did. Okay, why do you feel that? Have I done something to upset you?

Yeah, well remember last week you did this and this? Oh, man, that has nothing to do with our conversation right now, but, you know, by listening first, you see that you've actually done something or, you know, they're carrying something with them that you would never have learned if you didn't know to just, you know, mute yourself for a second and record what they have to say and turn it into a learning exercise.

[00:30:50] Hala Taha: Yeah, so all these have just like a central theme, which is about like stepping back and trying to see the situation for what it is rather than how you feel in 

[00:30:59] Justin Bariso: it. Exactly. And make no mistake, I do not argue that this is an easy practice, it's, it takes years to develop. But the thing is, if we're not aware in the first place, we're not going to do it.

And if we don't practice, we're not going to do it. Elite athletes, they get to be elite because they practice these movements, you know, what they do over and over and over and over. They visualize what they're going to do in quiet moments. And we need to do that same thing in how we deal with our emotions and our emotional behavior.

And when we do that, we practice that over and over again. I make no claim that we'll be perfect. I make all kinds of mistakes. Sometimes I don't ask the three questions that I should ask myself. But those moments get fewer and further between and you become an elite manager and understander of your emotions.

And that makes for better decision making. 

 Tell us why putting our emotions into words can be helpful. 

[00:32:02] Justin Bariso: Sure. Yeah. So I use an illustration in the book. If you go to a doctor, for example, and you tell them you're in pain. Okay, where are you in pain? Yeah, it hurts here in my arm. Okay, where exactly on your arm?

Uh, here in my elbow. Okay, what kind of pain are you feeling? Is it sharp? Is it dull? Yeah, it's a sharp pain. Okay, when do you experience it? Exactly when I do this movement. So the doctor's goal is to get you to be more and more specific with what's bothering you or what's affecting you so that he or she can properly diagnose the problem.

And that's the same thing with our emotional behavior. Maybe I'm upset about something. I recognize that. I'm in a bad mood. Okay, why am I in a bad mood? What kind of bad mood am I in? Well, I'm very frustrated. Why am I frustrated? I'm frustrated because of this, this, and this, but it all started this morning.

When my partner said this to me. Ah, okay. Why did that bother you so much? Well, it bothers me because he or she has been spending so much time at work lately, and I'm not getting enough attention So, you know being able to put your feelings into words and kind of walking through that exercise Helps build that Self awareness helps build social awareness too, and it can help you diagnose what's going on so that you understand better.


[00:33:18] Hala Taha: then how about controlling our thoughts to better manage our emotions? How does that play into all of 

[00:33:23] Justin Bariso: this? This is one of my favorite points because for some people this is relatively new that they can control their thoughts. Yeah, I say well, you know thoughts enter my head all the time and you know, I don't put them there.

I didn't choose to think about that and that's absolutely true. sometimes. I mean, we have some influence over it by what we watch, what we consume, but there are some times that certain thoughts will come into our mind that we didn't mean to have. And there's this phrase from, I believe it's actually a German philosopher, and it's been loosely translated, You can't stop a bird from landing on your head, but you can stop it from building a nest.

So we may not be able to control every single thought that comes to our mind, but we can control the reaction to that thought. And if that thought, whatever it is, if it's a very discouraging thought that can hold us back from doing something we want to do, if it's a thought that's motivating us to do something we don't want to do, well we can choose not to dwell on that thought.

And then someone told me, well that's like trying not to think of the pink elephant, right? How do you do that? Well, yeah, that's true. If you just tell yourself, don't think this, don't think this, don't think this, it's not going to happen. But just like habits, you can't just get rid of a bad habit. You have to replace it.

So you replace that negative thought with a positive one. If your negative thought is, Hala, you cannot just start a podcast without ever having run one before and become one of the Top 10 podcasts on iTunes for self development. Well, obviously you got over anyone telling you that or maybe your personal thought thinking that.

But how did you do it? Well, one of the ways is by replacing that thought. Well, everyone had to start somewhere, right? And how about Elon Musk, where did he start? He wasn't always the CEO of Tesla and running five companies at the same time. How about my mom and dad? You know, they weren't always great parents with me and my siblings, you know, and knowing exactly what to do.

And, you know, you replace those thoughts with just getting out there and trying. And the next thing you know, you're interviewing. Great people. Myself not included. I'm just, I'm just a normal. You are included. A normal. I looked at your guest list recently. I was like, wow, I am in really great company here.

But that's a testament, Hala, to what you've been able to accomplish. And that's one great thing about emotional intelligence. Everyone has a level of emotional intelligence. This isn't something that you have to completely build from scratch. We all have it. Just like we all have different levels of traditional intelligence.

Or what we might call traditional intelligence. The key is how do we make it even better? How do we identify what are our strengths and magnify those? What are our weaknesses and how do we work on those? 

[00:35:57] Hala Taha: So speaking of identifying our weaknesses, what if we find it hard to self evaluate ourselves? Do you have any advice on getting an idea of, you know, who you are in terms of your emotional behavior, if you cannot 

[00:36:11] Justin Bariso: self assess.

Definitely. And let's just be direct in saying that some of us may be better than that at others, but we all have blind spots. We all have things that we're missing. And I'll listen to this podcast whenever it goes live, and I'll be like, Oh man, I didn't realize I was saying it like that. I kind of meant something a little bit more like this, you know?

And so, Getting perspective from others, having conversations with others, and specifically with people that you trust, people that you can ask the hard questions to. How do you think I'm managed in this regard or even better where you think you may not have problems, you know? Ask others that you trust for that kind of feedback.

And, you know, in the book I talk about the type of people that you can use for that. So, if you're in a relationship, um, asking your partner, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or, or your spouse, you know, that's one of the great people in your life that you can balance this off of. But if you have close friends, you can do the same.

If you have a mentor, at work or a colleague that you really trust and telling them off the bat, look, I don't want you to tell me just what you think I want to hear. I want to know where my weaknesses are too. Have you ever seen me do something, you know, where this happened? And I have a list of questions of book that you can use.

And I encourage the reader to ask themselves that and then to ask someone they trust and can kind of compare notes. And that can help you to identify some of those blind spots. 

[00:37:30] Hala Taha: Yeah, and so I know that you think that all feedback is a gift, negative and positive. So how would you advise our listeners to take in their negative feedback without feeling down on themselves?


[00:37:43] Justin Bariso: never feels good to get negative feedback, right? Because basically if you boil it down, someone is saying you're wrong or you didn't do this right. And that never feels good. And our immediate emotional reaction to that is. No, maybe you're wrong or no, you're missing the point. That's not what I was trying to do, you know But if we can kind of step out of our emotions for a moment There's nothing wrong with those emotions because that means that you take your opinion your work seriously but if we can kind of Set those emotions aside for a moment and listen to what the person has to say then there's always a learning experience Because sometimes they'll be right And we are absolutely wrong on this topic and bravo that they've had the courage to tell us that.

We have broccoli in our teeth and we don't want broccoli in our teeth. So now we know to take it out, right? Or sometimes they're wrong and it's not right what they're telling us and they won't completely change our opinion. But now we're learning another perspective. And I promise you, if one person thinks the way they do, 10 A hundred, a thousand others think the same way and now you've got a window into their perspective and that can help you to craft your message or to communicate in a way that you say your message a little bit more clearly or that it's more easily understood.

This is what I call in the book Diamonds in the Rough. Mm hmm. Because you get a very rough diamond is that feedback that doesn't feel good to listen to. But if you can carve it, if you can take away not just the way you're feeling, but maybe the way they've expressed it. Maybe they didn't communicate the feedback in the best way.

Yeah. And if you can chip all that away, there's a beautiful diamond underneath because it gives you a valuable learning experience and you can ask yourself, okay, what can I learn from this? Number one. And number two, how can it help me improve? 

[00:39:24] Hala Taha: Exactly. And self improvement is not an easy thing. It's not easy to look at yourself and look at your negative attributes and decide that you're going to change them and accept them.

Accepting these negative things about yourself is tough to do, but it's part of the journey. So on the flip side, how about compliments? Everyone likes to be praised. Everyone likes to be complimented, but how do we need to keep ourselves in check when it comes to these things? 

[00:39:49] Justin Bariso: Yeah. As you said, we all love that.

We all love to feel that we've done well or that someone enjoys what we do. And that's great. And I think in the world we get a lot less of that than we should going back to the experience of the German executives I worked with, you know, they were not used to at all ever hearing anything positive about that work.

And that's just an awful situation that I was trying to help change, you know, on a small scale. So there's not enough praise. There's not enough commendation, but on the flip side, as you mentioned, you have to be aware that Some people will use that. There's an interesting study I mentioned in the book about clinically diagnosed psychopaths and sociopaths and their ability to use empathy.

And before I Came across this research, you know, my thinking was all they lack empathy. I mean that's true on one perspective but the reality is What this research is proving is that these types of people have the ability to control their empathy They can kind of switch it on and off and so they can use that they can turn on the charm so to speak to Flatter someone to praise someone to get on their good side to get them to agree to things to manipulate them And so being aware of that, and this is what we, you know, what I describe in the book is the dark side of emotional intelligence.

Being able to use these skills, you know, in a very manipulative way. You know, how do you guard against that? Well, it comes back to increasing your own emotional intelligence. Because if you can identify when people are doing that, and I'm not saying to second guess anytime anyone gives you a compliment, not at all.

But, being able to identify when someone is. It's trying to butter you up or manipulate you or use emotions in a way to persuade you in a way that gets you to do something that's not really in harmony with what you want to do. It's important to be able to realize that. 

[00:41:26] Hala Taha: Yeah, I love this topic. EQ is normally talked about in a very positive light, but like you said, there's a dark side of EQ.

For example, the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior stated that those who tend to exploit others for personal gain were also good at reading those people's emotions. Hmm. So I thought that a really fun way to close out the episode would be with some real life examples of positive and negative EQ. And I thought Steve Jobs was a great example of somebody who used it both positively and also used it to not manipulate his workers, but I guess get things done.

in not such a positive way. So could you just shed some light on how Steve Jobs used EQ in his 

[00:42:10] Justin Bariso: career? Sure. Well, readers that do end up taking a look at the book, they'll see that I start the book with the example of Steve Jobs just because he's such a great case study on both sides of emotional intelligence.

So he had the ability to inspire. If you ever watch one of Jobs's keynotes, they're much different than what we watch now from Apple. I mean, I'm an Apple fan. I use Apple devices, but the keynotes are nowhere near what they used to be with jobs at the helm. He used emotion to really, to build a feeling and an emotional connection to an inanimate object, a product, you know, obviously they still succeeded that to an extent, but you know, he was able to do that at a very large scale.

He was able to do that with his workers. Not everyone might know that when he left Apple the first time, a big group of workers actually followed him. To his startup, which was named next. And this was interesting because Jobs at that point, you know, he was like 31 years old. He was very brash, very cocky, sure of himself.

Why would people follow him? You know, well, it was because he also knew how to get the best. You know, and he was able to, and I interview one of his person that worked with him very closely for a number of years. And she talked about, she did her best work under Steve Jobs because he knew how to get the best out of her.

So those were some of the positives, but he also knew how to really, at times, manipulate people. He spoke down to them, and he made some regrets. Walter Isaacson's biography on Jobs, which he had, you know, all this access to Jobs, countless interviews, and with his family, and Jobs admitted that, you know, there are certain things that he was not proud of, you know, how he dealt with his family and this kind of thing.

So, you know, again, and this goes back to the crux, which is emotional intelligence can be used in different ways. And so in addition to learning how to develop ours and how to use it, it's everything that comes along with it. What about the moral character and the integrity? How can we use it in a way that we can be proud of?

[00:44:05] Hala Taha: Yeah. And so how about a leader who does it totally right? I know the CEO of Microsoft might be a great example, but I'll let you choose who you want to discuss. 

[00:44:14] Justin Bariso: Yeah. I mean, I say this with a grain of salt because a lot of these people I haven't met personally. So you name a great one. CEO of Microsoft has done a great example of this communication, but I don't know Satya Nadella personally.

I haven't worked with him on a personal basis. So I'm hesitant to say someone is a great example of emotional intelligence, but I love to to pull out Specific actions and examples. So one thing that he's done in the past, you know, it was a time where Microsoft programmers were working on this Artificial intelligent bot and they are trying to work on the way that it processes and responds to communication It was called Tay, and it was a quickly lived experiment, because this bot, Tay, it learned really quickly, but it learned in the wrong way, and it was starting to spew out very racist messages, and vulgar messages, and they had to shut it down, and it was the talk of the town, you know, it was the headline of every major tech blog, and Business Insider, and Inc.,

and all these things, but what came out later was, Nadella's email to his team, which was just a little excerpt, but it was like, look, you know, learn from this experience. I'm quoting loosely here, fail forward. You know, we don't learn without making mistakes. So Hey, I'm behind you. Let's see what we can learn from this and move forward.

How would you feel after, you know, something that everyone else was judging as a complete failure for the CEO of a company with thousands of employees to write your team and say. No worries, you know, we can learn from this. That's high emotional intelligence. Yeah. You know, because that's how you motivate people and get them to learn from our mistakes.

So that's one example. I write a lot. Ink, obviously, is a business centered publication, so I write a lot in the business world. For example, Elon Musk, I've wrote from both sides. Kind of similar to Jobs. I think Elon Musk is brilliant, but we've seen very specific instances of him using emotional intelligence in a positive way to motivate employees to connect with customers.

We've also seen it in a negative way where he's gotten attacked and he's responded in a very brash way. And I say negative because he says later that he's regretted, you know, some of these actions. So anyway, those are a couple of examples, but there's a lot more in the book and a lot more in the column if readers want to find 

[00:46:24] Hala Taha: more.

Yeah, so let's have you cover that in detail. Where can our listeners go to find out more about you and everything that you do? 

[00:46:31] Justin Bariso: Well, EQ Applied is available basically wherever books are sold, most easily probably on Amazon. If you're not ready to buy the book, then please check out the blog. Also, the name EQ Applied.

Lots of free resources there. You can check out real life examples of emotional intelligence, real life tips, and there's excerpts of the book there, too, that you can find. And then the column, My Name's Justin Bariso. I write weekly on emotional intelligence for Inc. com, so I encourage you to follow the column, and hopefully you'll pick up something of value there as 

[00:47:01] Hala Taha: well.

Thanks, Justin. I love this conversation, and I appreciate your 

[00:47:04] Justin Bariso: time. Hala, it's been great. Thank you so much for having me. 

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