From Interlock, a division of PPC Worldwide

IQ gets you hired, EQ gets you promoted

by Phil Campbell, M.Ed. RCC, Counsellor-Coordinator

“It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it is not the triumph of heart over head — it is the unique intersection of both.” – David Caruso

Lawrence is intellectually gifted. He has a mind like a steel trap and can quote cases, facts and information at will. He can provide a brilliant list of pros and cons for any given course of action, theory or plan, but you can’t pin him down on an opinion. At a restaurant he is as likely to say, “I’ll have what she’s having,” as he is to make his own decision. Nobody knows his political or spiritual beliefs — if he has any — and his career is a long story of missed opportunities and apparent bad luck. He shows great promise, but seldom comes through.

Noreen is also exceptional, but has been able to translate her gift into considerable success. Her partners value the ways in which she has helped the firm grow, but are increasingly concerned about the impact of her behaviour on her co-workers. For example, she makes unreasonable requests of staff and puts great pressure on them to give her work priority over everyone else’s. She is also contemptuous of colleagues and never admits to a mistake or flawed strategy, no matter how clear the evidence. A junior partner left the firm saying, “It was her or me, and I knew it wasn’t going to be her.” Every assistant she has had asked to be reassigned. Her behaviour has been overlooked to date.

Two people drinking coffee togetherGeorge doesn’t mind telling you that he graduated in the bottom half of his class and jokes that 50 per cent of all lawyers have done likewise. While he was well liked at school, nobody really thought he would amount to much. And yet his enthusiasm is contagious. He constantly assesses his own performance while striving for excellence. He is committed to his work and willing to take a lesser role if it is in the best interests of the firm. People seek him out for advice on strategy or conflict resolution tactics. He has a way of making you feel listened to and cared about. At the same time he has clear personal boundaries around what he can and cannot do for you. George is well respected within the firm and recently survived a round of downsizing.

Lawrence and Noreen are lacking in emotional intelligence (EQ).

Lawrence cannot make a decision. Analysis comes from the thinking mind, but decisions cannot be made without access to the emotional mind.

Noreen lacks control of negative emotions and has poor interpersonal connections. Her vision is narrowed around her immediate self-interest rather than seeing her actions as being in a larger context. In the end, she may actually be acting against her own best interests, as others eventually feel forced to hold her accountable.

George, on the other hand, appears to be progressing competently with his career. His success in his position is beyond what was anticipated, given his grades. He is valued by his organization, thoroughly enjoys his work, is motivated and motivates others.

Author Daniel Goleman was surprised by the response from the business community to his landmark book, Emotional Intelligence. Business leaders reinforced Goleman’s position that technical expertise alone was not enough for excellence in the workplace. These leaders all knew employees who were technically proficient — even brilliant — but who left a path of destruction behind them because of their emotional ineptitude. On the other hand, they also witnessed employees who contributed far beyond their technical expertise because of their intuition and interpersonal awareness. This overwhelming response prompted Goleman to research and write his follow-up book, Working With Emotional Intelligence.

Today, neuroscience clearly shows that the emotional part of the brain operates very differently from the cognitive or thinking part of the brain. Emotionally intelligent people are able to effectively integrate both parts of their brain.

Research has proven that EQ is a strong predictor of career success, particularly at the executive management level.

EQ is the ability to understand our emotions and those of others. It includes our ability to express our emotions appropriately in our interactions with others.

According to Goleman, EQ is composed of a number of key behaviours, which include:

  • Self-discipline

Researcher Anders Ericsson found that world-class performance in any discipline comes from continuous repetitive practice. It takes about 10,000 hours of persistent, focused training and experience to achieve this type of status. Those who develop the capacity to persist are more likely to achieve excellence.

  • Delay of gratification

Research has shown that children who are able to delay gratification at an early age are more able to cope with stress as adults. Adults who have learned to delay gratification tend to be assertive and are better able to manage life’s difficulties.

  • Optimism

Martin Seligman, author of the book Learned Optimism, found that optimism in freshman college students was actually a better predictor of their grades than their SAT scores. Goleman points out that, in the workplace, they also persist in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.

  • Empathy

Empathy is an awareness of the feelings of others and a concern for them. US President Barack Obama, when searching for a nominee for Supreme Court justice, said he wanted to find a judicial leader with empathy. He said that this was a key factor in his choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the position. In the workplace, empathy is a powerful tool for building consensus, networking and understanding the needs of clients and co-workers.

Goleman divides EQ into two categories: personal competence and social competence. Here are the basic skill sets he points to:

Personal competence
  • Self-awareness

Self-confidence tempered by an accurate assessment of one’s own strengths and limitations. An awareness of one’s own emotions and their impact on others.

  • Self-regulation

The ability to manage one’s own emotions. Trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability and innovation are all also included in the self-regulation subset.

  • Motivation

Optimism, a drive for excellence, commitment to the group or organization and personal initiative.

Social competence
  • Empathy

Taking an active interest in the concerns of others by sensing their feelings and perspectives and supporting them. It also includes political awareness, service orientation and the ability to leverage diversity.

  • Social skills

The ability to communicate convincingly and persuade effectively. People with effective social skills are able to lead by inspiring and guiding others, building bonds, collaborating, cooperating, and creating and motivating teams. They are also change catalysts.

Perhaps the best news about EQ is that it can be learned. Lawrence could, if he so chose, get in touch with his own value set so that he has a measure by which to make decisions. He may also have to deal with his fear of getting it wrong.

Noreen could learn the value of developing different perspectives and positively motivating others.

All of us could learn from George so that we maximize the potential we have — whatever that may be.

We live in an era when cradle-to-grave employment is a thing of the past and instability is the order of the day. The skill set that comes with EQ can give you an edge in the workplace and give you the personal resilience to survive and thrive.