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How to Make the Most of Being an Emotional Neanderthal
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Instinct #2: We want to be socially accepted

It's one thing to join a group but quite another to stay; members typically follow spoken or unspoken rules. Early people were motivated to be accepted by other members in their group. Those who did the opposite were shunned or thrown out in the cold to fend for themselves. Chances for survival were better and positions of importance more likely when you were socially accepted. The need to be liked and conform to the expectations and rules of a group continues to be a strong human desire. People don't like to feel rejected, so they do and say things to be accepted by others. In the modern office, chances for career growth increase with social skills. It's no coincidence that when satisfying instinct #2 gets blocked, you feel frustrated, rejected, resentful, or angry. These feelings motivate you to pay attention to what it takes to be accepted. Those who didn't struggled, and they still do today.

What role has social acceptance played in your life? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. How well can you read the unspoken rules expected by the groups you belong to?
2. Think back to feeling rejected by a group. Can you spot any rules you may have broken?

Instinct #3: We want to influence others

Early people were motivated to influence others so they could get their needs met. Influence back then meant getting people to share food or resources or to go where you wanted to go. Influence improved your situation if you could get other people to listen to what you had to say. The same is true today. Informal leaders surface in groups even when not assigned. Just think of the alliances that form on reality show competitions. Pairs align, and contestants struggle to influence one another. At this point, belonging to groups, social acceptance, and influence begin to work together. We want them all, and we don't feel good when our instincts go unrewarded.

What is your ability to influence? Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Who do you influence in your life?
2. Who and what can't you influence? And why?

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