What is EQ?
In the coming years, you’ll probably start hearing a lot more about “EQ” and “emotional intelligence.” These terms refer to a person’s ability to detect and empathize with other people’s emotions and also the ability for a person to interpret and regulate their own emotions. Now, more than ever, these emotional skills are being explored for their professional value. While doctors and scientists agree that IQ, which is a person’s aptitude for learning information, stays the same through life, EQ can and often does increase over time.
As we go through life’s ups and downs, our experiences and our practice interacting with one another over time sharpen our ability to navigate through the emotional side of the world. Scientists have also uncovered a link between a person’s EQ level and career success. Admittedly, there’s a debate being waged about just how accurate EQ may be at predicting workplace efficacy. Some claims place a higher value on EQ than IQ. Different studies have drawn different conclusions on the level of impact EQ has on professionals and their upward career trajectory.
To explore EQ’s corporate merits and the tactics that can be used to develop EQ in workplace teams, it’s important to understand where EQ and emotional intelligence benefits stand out the strongest. The most recent and comprehensive study on EQ reported an 8.4% factor in predicting workplace performance compared with 26% mental aptitude. That might seem less relevant when stacked up against other metric indicators, but 8.4% can mean the difference between an adequate or great employee, a good or exceptional leader, and a nice or unforgettable legacy.
Find EQ in the Space Between Good and Great.
EQ matters most when we’re talking about exceptional workplace performance, and not so much adequate performance. At the least, when you extend a job offer to any candidate, you expect the person to display efficacy in the role assigned. At this level, IQ must be factored as a priority. The truth is, there are more people in the workforce that are able to meet the “adequate” standard than there are unicorns that end up getting promoted multiple times. Those people are doing a lot more than completing assignments successfully. They’re accessing EQ and making it work for them to build strong networks, invite candid feedback, and leave lasting impressions on the people around them.
EQ elevates a person’s effectiveness in different scenarios where it matters most: Collaboration and Conflict.
EQ is more impactful when individuals are working collaboratively.
Whether a person works with internal teams or interfaces with customers and prospective clients, all of these interactions require a working knowledge of effective communication. The more a person is coming into contact with other individuals as part of their job description, the more likely that their emotional intelligence becomes a valuable asset. It’s not that internal EQ isn’t valuable, it definitely is. A person’s ability to regulate their own emotions influences their ability to overcome challenges and draw motivation. But EQ really shines in community. Simply put, if you’re a social queues expert and you can send and receive nonverbal as well as verbal information with accuracy, that makes you an influencer. You make people feel understood. And leadership opportunities become available more often for people like you.
EQ is more impacting during times of conflict.
Both external conflict situations – like whenever a company experiences challenges in the marketplace and internal conflict situations involving team dynamics, misunderstandings or disagreements – can be great opportunities for emotionally intelligent people to show off their problem-solving skills. People with empathizing skills will be able to gain trust and maintain relationships while their ability to regulate their emotions helps them to keep the conflict in perspective and continue productivity. Their handling of challenges usually gets the attention of superiors and marks them for advancement.
EQ Impact is Felt Individually
EQ and the journey toward higher levels of EQ ability impacts each person uniquely. There’s no exact template for predicting how a person’s EQ ability will manifest itself through their communication style and personal tendencies. For example, if two employees are both highly in tune with others’ emotions and their own, one might choose to approach a conflict with proposed action and decisiveness while the other might choose to offer a listening ear and encourage self-reflection. Both approaches and skill-sets have meaning and can be really valuable in the problem-solving process.
Is 8.4% worth it? We think so.
In reality, the gap between the good performers and those at the top of the bell curve has never been large. It’s always been just a few more calls and a few more hours…and just a few more ways of making people feel comfortable. It’s those small additions that make the biggest difference over the long term. The real question is how much does 8.4% mean to you? Are you wanting to improve your EQ? Do you care about challenging yourself to adapt and be agile in your responses? Or are you more driven to focus on a few areas where you fit and you thrive? There’s no wrong choice, but behavioral studies and managers’ reports all point to more opportunities going to individuals with a demonstrated EQ skillset. The choice may lie in your career goals.
Think EQ Development could benefit your team? Reach out to us at People & Performance Strategies about workshops and training options.