This question appeared on a blog recently, and of course it caught my interest as it was framed in terms of Emotional Intelligence.

I maintain the answer is quite simple: because no one ever taught them how. Now, let me say that I don’t know that middle managers don’t know how to lead. In fact I know many who DO know how to lead, and it is one of the most difficult jobs there is. But for those who don’t, I’ve found that in the vast majority of cases, a person who is not exercising good Emotional Intelligence skills is not doing this because the skills were never taught. Emotional Intelligence skills are necessary for a good life - at work and at home, both – and who doesn’t want that?

Why are they lacking? Because we didn't get taught them. The components of Emotional Intelligence can be learned, so the more important thing is - if you note a lack of them, in yourself, or others, why are you sitting there? Go learn them.

I got tired of asking the question and decided to do something about it. I coach EQ and it's a most delightful occupation because the person experiences immediate positive results. It's very reinforcing. This is the comment I get from most people I work with. They feel relieved. "This is the missing piece" comes up a lot.

After all, most of us want to get along, we just haven't been shown how that happens, in components broken down so we can understand them. Here’s a good analogy. Let’s say you’re sitting there sticking a hot poker into your eye, for whatever reason. How do you stop doing that? Someone suggests that you put the hot poker into the fireplace instead of in your eye; or suggests that you not put anything into your eye. Our Emotional Intelligence habits (or lack thereof) are like that. You’re sitting there sticking a hot poker in your eye because you always have, and you learned that from someone. Or you didn’t learn what else you could be doing. Most behavior is learned, and it’s very unfortunate when the behavior you learned is painful to you and others, and non-productive.

We want to get along, quit saying things in anger that cause harm, quit sabotaging ourselves, lead and follow well and know the difference, focus, help others, do good work, and get satisfaction out of life. We would like to understand our emotions and those of others and get out of the morass. It all goes together. Emotional Intelligence, once well-explained, is a system that's clear and comprehensible to nearly everyone, and the geniuses who came up with it are to be applauded. Daniel Goleman perhaps most of all because he wrote the best-seller and put Emotional Intelligence in the public eye (better than a hot poker, right?)

But there’s a major problem here. You can’t READ about it. You need to put it into practice, and that involves someone to lead the way. After all, as one of my favorite “EQ experts”, Mr. Mafioso, says on, “Look college boy, there are certain lessons that all the books in the world couldn’t teach you.”

I began coaching Emotional Intelligence because I got tired of hearing someone say to someone else, "Either get along (etc.) or get out of here." I found that painful to listen to. It seemed to me common sense (that's EQ too - and not very common) that the person would be getting along if they knew how to, and at that point I didn't know how to translate that information into bite-sized pieces that could be learned either, so I studied it. It seemed to me about the most helpful thing you could do for someone.

If you were a middle-manager, wouldn't you be leading if someone could show you how? It would sure make your life easier and perhaps your paycheck fatter. Teaching you not with gobbledy-gook, not with jargon, but in clear English, a method that you can understand and put into practice?

I know I would.

That's why I studied Emotional Intelligence and learned how to teach it to others. And I train coaches, managers, HR personnel, doctors, etc. so THEY can pass it on.

It isn't exactly brain science? Well, yes it is, but brain science is not exactly incomprehensible in the hands of a good teacher. It de-mysitifes the things that cause the most confusion in life: emotions.

Instead of wondering why someone can’t lead, or why they can’t control their temper, or why they lack resilience, or why they’re under-achieving, or self-sabotaging, send them to someone who can teach them. It will raise the Emotional Intelligence of, um, everyone in the room.

The reason we don't know it is simply this: We were never taught it.

Now isn't it nice that there's one problem for which there's a solution??

P. S. But not overnight, college boy.

Author's Bio: 

©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach,, . Individual coaching, business programs, employer-referred coaching, anger management, emotional intelligence, relationships, career. Internet courses, and ebooks. Training and certification program. Fast, affordable, on-site and long-distance.