EQ, IQ and dealing with people (and getting your way)Jul 21, 2022
There are many people who argue that emotional intelligence (EQ) is more important than general intelligence (IQ).
The reality of course, is that both are very important, and context plays a key role in determining which is more critical in a particular situation.
From the perspective of leadership, both are critical in helping leaders deal with people in a way that enables them to fulfil their objectives.
EQ came into “fashion” relatively recently in the 1990s. It essentially deals with a person’s ability to understand and manage their own emotions and argues that if you can manage your own emotions, then you are in a better position to understand and therefore influence the emotions and behaviours of others.
Being empathic will generally enable a person to do both.
For a leader, doing both is an essential element of their management style, management effectiveness, and of success.
The leader must understand the extent that their personal feelings and emotions are triggered by a situation, issue, or person. They must be constantly aware of the feelings and emotions they hold, and that certain feelings and emotions may influence the attitude toward that situation by others. Both positive and negative emotions may cause distortion of the optimal understanding of the issue, the attitude toward building a solution, and of implementing that solution.
Here are two examples of emotional impact.
Positive emotion: The leader has just been appointed president of their golf club, which the leader loves. In response, the leader has decided that the organisation he leads will be a sponsor of the golf club for $100,000 per annum. Sounds good, but the sponsorship adds no value to the organisation as its committee members and club members do not interact with the leader’s organisation in any way and aren’t suppliers or buyers of its products and services.
Negative emotion: A staff member in the leader’s organisation had a child in the same school as the leader’s child. The leader’s child got into a fight with the other child and was beaten. The staff member did not act appropriately in response to the situation. Coincidentally, the staff member had been performing very well at work, but the leader denied him a bonus and a promotion only because of the incident with the children and the leader’s dislike of that staff member.
Here we see the leader’s positive and negative emotions affecting the organisation in significant ways.
To deny that leaders, like all other humans, have or can ignore their feelings and emotions, is to deny their humanity. However, their humanity is an inadequate excuse for allowing the leader’s emotions and feelings to harm the organisation, its people, or its stakeholders.
Leaders are expected to have enhanced control over their emotions and feelings and be able to channel and manage them in a positive and productive manner. That means that leaders are expected to possess strong emotional insight, capability, and control.
Researchers and writers on the topic of EQ have suggested that there are five key skills associated with emotional intelligence.
- Being aware of yourself – the ability to recognise and understand your own emotions.
==>Enables: Open to new information, learns from experience, sense of humour, self-confidence, awareness of other peoples’ opinions of them.
- Being able to regulate yourself – the awareness of your own emotions and the impact it has on others and the ability to regulate and manage yourself to achieve desired outcomes from others.
==>Enables: Flexible, adapt well to change, good conflict managers, able to diffuse tense and difficult situations, very conscientious, thoughtful, takes responsibility.
- Being able to interact with others – having social skills to build strong relationships.
==>Enables: Building meaningful relationships, building strong rapport with leaders and co-workers, active listening, strong verbal communication skills, non-verbal communication skills, leadership, and persuasiveness.
- Being empathetic – understanding others therefore affecting one’s own responses to others through an understanding of their context and feelings.
==> Enables: Effective responses to others such as responding in a meaningful and appreciated manner, understanding power dynamics in differing situations.
- Possesses intrinsic motivation – those with EQ are motivated by things other than acclaim, money, fame, and recognition.
==> Enables: Fulfillment of their own inner needs and goals, seek internal rewards, they immerse themselves within activities, set goals, high need for achievement, always look for improvement, committed, take initiative.
Worry and stress are part of the emotional landscape, for all people and not just leaders. Based on our own experiences, most people would acknowledge that only a small part of that which we worry about comes to fruition.
We also know that such worry causes some people to suffer from stomach churn, sweaty hands, increased heartbeat, and other reactions. Therefore, such uncomfortable bodily reactions are caused by worry for reasons that don’t materialise.
To deal with such “needless” worry, people are advised to develop techniques that they can adopt to help them through such situations:
- Be on alert to listen to these signals as a person should know how their body and mind react to situations.
- Try to identify the “thing” that triggered your mind and body to react this way.
- Determine whether your concern (worry) and reaction were valid and requires focus and attention. If so, give it the attention it deserves.
- If not, calm down the inner alert by persuading the brain to “worry about it when getting to the bridge”.
There is a Buddhist saying, “If you worry about something, it is like praying for it to happen.”
When we look at IQ, it deals with one’s ability to reason and solve problems, commonly determined by taking a test with the results compared to other people of your age group. If you score above 100, then you’re above the average for people of your age.
In a more general sense, IQ is considered a measure of intelligence in its broadest understanding.
Some argue that “real” intelligence is much broader and deeper than “simply” taking a test, and that its context is critical.
As an example, when certain rural indigenous people have taken the standard IQ test, they have scored poorly on average compared to Western or urban people. This is largely because some of the elements of the tests have examined concepts that those people have never used: for example, geometry or English language skills.
However, if you place those same indigenous people into the context with which they are familiar, then their knowledge and intelligence is profound. Their understanding of earth, forests, water, flora, fauna, and so on, are exceptional. Their intelligence within their context is exceptional and Western or urban people would not be able to match it.
Although the criticisms against the Westernised IQ measurement methods are reasonable, we don’t need to enter that debate. The essence of leadership here is that an effective and successful leader needs intelligence fit for the context they’re in, plus emotional intelligence sufficient to enable self-control plus reading of others’ emotions.
With both, effective leaders can better control and engineer the outcomes that they are being paid to deliver.
Alongside our experts and mentors, we can help you and your team improve the impacts of EQ and IQ on your objectives.
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