Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tony Blair's Emotional Intelligence
One reason Tony Blair said what he did about Gordon Brown was because of Gordon’s lack of instinctual connection to the people and what they wanted. So Tony was right from the point of view of the Wiki definition.
With EI, or EQ (Emotional Quotient) as it is sometimes called, I think that what matters is the ability to perceive, and respond effectively to, the needs of those around you; and this would be based on self-knowledge and a shrewd assessment of the people around you (often a Libran weakness in their desire to be ‘fair’!).
This sort of movement is basic to astrology and to any sane understanding of human development. In astrology, you have the early signs from Aries to Virgo that describe the individual and his/her early development. But then from Libra onwards you are talking about a progressively deeper engagement with the Other, firstly on an individual basis, and then with the society you live in.
Going back to Tony Blair, I think he was and is no doubt very good at engaging people and getting them on his side. And very quick-minded too. High IQ and EQ. And no doubt George Bush could be personally charming and affable. But George Bush’s motives were often clearly not those of a responsible leader.
It was the same with Silvio Berlusconi. The man is clearly a self-centred clown who is used to getting exactly what he wants in large doses, whether it is money, power or women. Yet in his memoirs Tony Blair goes on about what a great guy he is. Like GWB, he might well be personally fun to hang out with. But only because it suits Berlusconi. You couldn’t trust a man like that.
It’s like Tony Blair knows how to live in the world of power, he knows how to relate to the people in it. That is a kind of EQ, and I’m sure he’s a lot better at it than I would be. But he doesn’t understand his own love of power and love of being around it. He thinks he is this regular, unideological sort of guy who wants to help the world, and being at the top is the best place to do it. And he thinks the rest of us just don’t understand what great guys people like GWB are once you get to know them. Blair is kind of touching in his naivety.
Tony Blair is an object lesson in how capable and bright someone can be, and yet how deluded they can be about their own motives, how lacking in emotional development, how lacking in EQ in a real sense. I would trust Gordon Brown any day over Blair. OK, he was power-seeking as well, and not lacking in personal blind spots. But you feel a more genuine desire to help underneath it all, and more humility. Tony Blair sees the world in fairly black and white terms – good versus evil, right versus wrong. It gives him certainty and therefore conviction.
So I think Tony Blair has no right to say that Gordon Brown has ‘zero emotional intelligence.’ He’s right that Gordon is abysmal in certain vital ways. But there’s more heart there, which of course is not relevant under the usual definition of EI/EQ.