Why EQ matters
We always tend to focus on the ‘intelligence quotient’ (IQ) as the main predictor how well an individual can perform tasks and deal with increasingly complex issues. Well, that was the view 15-20 years ago. We tend to look at ‘emotional quotient’ (EQ) as well nowadays as a way of predicting how well you know yourself, and others. The general understanding is that high IQ on its own is excellent, especially when confronted work is a solo enterprise. However, a low EQ will impede that high IQ from coming to full fruition as most tasks need to be performed in a group context. Some would even go as far as stating that a high EQ is a better predictor of how successful one will be in achieving his or her goals. Therefore it is common that an executive coach nowadays will focus on EQ as an area of improvement.
EQ describes the ability of a person to recognise emotions, to understand their effects and use that information to guide thinking and behaviour. In a group setting, people with high EQ instinctively understand other people’s motivations and behaviours, and for the sake of getting a team result, can take that and work cooperatively. EQ can be broken down in five major categories, namely: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills.
Self-awareness and self-regulation are all about controlling yourself. The idea is you might be able to predict when a particular emotion arises completely, but you are able to recognise it as soon as it happens. You can manage these emotions in such a way it does not become disruptive to the matter at hand, such as managing disruptive impulses, controlling and dissipating them.
For example, you might be frustrated by a team member, and you know that venting will not have the right outcome. Being able to recognise you being frustrated and not being able to do your best work, you might decide to go for a walk and get some perspective. Once you return from your walk, you can punch through the frustration and finish the task at hand.
This same reframing also helps you to keep the motivation to do your job well. People with high EQs can reflect on their emotions, recognise the elements that would negatively impact their mindset and change their perspective to focus on clear goals and positivity.
Empathy and social skills round up the categories for EQ. Empathy describes the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes. People, in general, are lousy communicators and will not always tell you what they feel and why this is. Emphatic people can sense this, carefully ask and probe and get a better result for both parties involved.
One can see how this is beneficial in a client-contractor relationship. If empathy is the state of mind, social skills are the toolbox. In an ever-connected world where we tend just to do our business in isolation, it is becoming more critical to tweak our social skills toolbox to it. How do you still bring in the personal touch and value of a human being into work itself?
Remember, you can have the best and most innovative ideas, if you can’t bring people along on your journey, it will be wasted and confined to your imagination only.
What would you rather, a higher IQ or a EQ? Let us know your thoughts below