Is EQ More Important Than IQ In Today’s Business Environment?

Recently, an employer raised an interesting question. "With Mr. A. being the top of his graduating class and having worked here for seven years, why is it so hard for him to get along with others?" When I asked what he meant, he elaborated on a situation that he said was all too common with this manager. He explained that this person had very little tolerance for others who did not work at the same level of intensity that he did. When they did not show the expected enthusiasm, or production desired, he would scream at them. Others have  complained about him and some good employees have actually left the company. "What can I do?" he asked. "I have talked to him numerous times about this and though he agrees, seemingly sincerely, nothing changes."

It is not unusual for many intelligent and intense individuals to hold high expectations for themselves and others, but what seems to be lacking is emotional intelligence. Even if this manager intellectually understood what he wanted, and how to do it, he was emotionally deficient in understanding his own emotions as well as how his lack of emotional control affected others. 

How does the inability to attend to emotional dynamics affect a business such as this? Generally the damage is subtle at first but eventually it leads to lower production, decreased morale, poor attitudes, and often losing valued employees. Just because an IQ (Intellectual Quotient) is high, it does not guaranty an EQ (Emotional Quotient) will be high. What once was viewed as fluff, and unnecessary for businesses to succeed, is now  unquestionably one of the most often identified components of loyalty, cooperation, satisfaction, communication, and ultimately business growth and profitability. 

This unfortunately is not an unusual scenario in many businesses today. In fact, recently Daniel Goleman, author of  "Working with Emotional Intelligence"(1998), conducted a survey of American businesses which clearly revealed that more than half of the people working for them lacked the motivation to keep learning and improving in their job. Also uncovered was that forty percent (40%) were not able to work cooperatively with fellow employees, and just nineteen percent (19%) applying for entry level jobs have the needed self- discipline to perform their required responsibilities. These are key components of EQ.

The disturbing reality businesses must face today is the serious decline in motivation, cooperation, and self-discipline. A survey of benchmark practices among major corporations, done by the American Society for Training and Development, identified a desperate need for connection, empathy, and open communication. The lack of development and use of skills that promote a positive and profitable work environment have cost  companies not only financially but this deficit has also severely damaged morale by increasing conflict and turnover. Sophisticated development of emotional intelligence is critical in the business environment.

Can you afford the time and energy it takes to manage the often-ignored complications related to employee (and your own personal) dissatisfaction? It has been my experience, over the last twenty-five years, that the nature and number of work related conflicts is consuming enormous organizational energy and resources. 

The rules have changed regarding how and what we measure as essential for success in business, given the demanding and competitive market place. The new measure of success requires not only being smart, well trained and experienced, but also how well we handle each other and ourselves. 

How emotionally intelligent am I? 

Ask the following

  1. Do I listen well, not just to words but what someone is feeling? Do I show a willingness to adjust the game plan when the old one no longer works? 
  2. Do I communicate well? This refers to not only content, but also awareness and management of emotional expression (verbal, non-verbal, written, etc.). 
  3. Do I personally adjust to changes and find constructive ways to challenge myself or do I react angrily or defensively. Do I look for the ways to improve the team? 
  4. Do I look for ways to improve myself? Are the improvements based on feedback from others? 
  5. Do I find that I am persuasive and that others follow with enthusiasm?
  6. Do I trust others and know they trust me?
  7. Am I patient? 

If you answered YES to the above questions your EQ is likely high. However, these are only a few ways to begin to assess your emotional intelligence. Constant review of your emotional management is important. It is scientifically documented that when an individual understands and manages him/herself well, the net effect is improved contentment and increased productivity.

How do I improve my EQ?

EQ unlike IQ is not set. Though we each inherit intellectual limits, we have no set limits to the development of EQ. You can be smart but still not be successful, or liked. 

To improve your EQ will take dedicated work. You will need a willingness to learn more about yourself and how you manage your own emotions as well as learn to read and respond appropriately to others. 

  1. Ask others to evaluate you and your work. 
  2. Ask others how well you control negative expressions. 
  3. Find ways to help others (even in small ways) 
  4. Compliment and encourage others. Who needs this? Everyone who is not dead!
  5. Tune in to someone who shows frustration. Ask what they need or what would help.
  6. Find the good in others and what they do.
  7. Show appreciation, even for little things.
  8. Do not grab impulsively for what seems to benefit you without taking into consideration what the impact will be on others. 

If you are not enjoying the net effect of the work you are doing to improve your emotional intelligence in your work setting (or personnel life), then you are doing it wrong. Don’t give up, but start again. You can and will get it right. It works! Prove it to yourself.

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EQ is clearly the most essential, though often hidden or ignored, element in real business success. Smart is great, but being effective is far more important.

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