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Why Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Trumps IQ in Leadership and Business

As you know, IQ is short for intelligence quotient. It measures a person's capacity for reasoning and problem-solving; it shows how well a person can use logic and information. An IQ test measures short-term and long-term memory by providing a series of puzzles to solve.

But what about emotional intelligence (EQ)? How does EQ rank?

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes 

A large team meeting brainstorming business strategies and best practices.

What Does EQ Mean?

EQ means emotional quotient. It is short for emotional intelligence and signifies your capacity for understanding, using, and managing emotions. Having a high EQ means you can relieve stress effectively, communicate well, have empathy, and diffuse conflict effectively, which will enable you to make better-informed decisions. EQ helps with building healthy relationships. It allows you to connect with your own and others' feelings.

A study showed that a high EQ separated outstanding leaders from average leaders. Leaders with a high EQ are more likely to outperform revenue targets. If you have a high EQ, it is the biggest indicator that you will likely take the lead in your team. Employees who have a leader with a high EQ are four times less likely to leave their job.

EQ Basics: Reading  Emotional Strengths and Weaknesses

The internet allows businesses and leaders unlimited real-time information. You can find information about business and finances. You can search for information on marketing, budgeting, and investments. This prolific resource has diminished the need for a high IQ. However, Google will not inform you about your leadership style. Nor can you google the emotional strengths and weaknesses of yourself and your employees.

An employee with a high EQ will observe how their team members interact in the office and at meetings. They will notice who needs direction and who can take initiative. They will know which team members are shy and need encouragement. They will know who is highly motivated and goes out of their way to help customers. They will know who does the bare minimum to get through the working day.

As a team leader or leader of a company, understanding these signifiers means that you will naturally be better at supporting and coaching each team member. Everybody has different needs, and it takes some emotional intelligence to discern how to manage individuals effectively. This kind of emotional reading cannot be Googled. Having this soft skill will help create a harmonious and positive atmosphere in the workplace.

Related reading: "27 Best Ways to Raise Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace."

Two business colleagues reviewing project data on a iPad.

How Knowing Your EQ Strengths and Weaknesses Empowers You

Leaders need self-awareness and to be able to analyze their behavior. It will help if they can understand how others view them. If you can do self-analysis, you will see where you need to improve. Being able to assess yourself objectively and your EQ will enable you to tap into your strengths and work on improving other areas.

For example, an autocratic and critical approach may be suitable for some situations. However, if you are in a meeting where you want to encourage open discussion, this approach will not work. Employees are likely to feel intimidated and won’t speak up. In this kind of situation, you need a softer approach. Understanding what is needed for each situation requires solid emotional intelligence.

How Emotional Intelligence Can Build a Strong and Thriving Company Culture

Being able to interact with others successfully is critical for your success as a leader. In leadership, you need to be able to inspire, collaborate, and step outside your comfort zone. A person with a high EQ takes the initiative to build relationships and resolve conflicts, even when it’s uncomfortable.

Make sure you step outside of your office and have real, human conversations. Be welcoming and approachable when employees come to your office. Get a sense of your team's morale and how engaged people feel at work. Real-time interactions with your team will motivate them and make them feel valued at work, which will translate to higher employee satisfaction.


EQ Benefits for Leaders

A leader with a high EQ self-regulates their emotions. To make good decisions, you need to understand how your emotions affect your judgment and attitudes. This internal awareness doesn’t mean that you remove emotions from the situation. However, it does allow for putting these emotions into perspective and working with them rationally.

A leader who lashes out or is impulsive and reactive will quickly lose the respect of the people around them. These unregulated moments can destroy relationships and undermine leadership. Regaining trust is rarely easy. A high EQ allows for self-regulation and restraint when it matters most.

Having a high EQ means that your empathy is heightened. You find conflicts and difficult situations easier when putting yourself in someone else's shoes. As a business leader, this will mean that you make thoughtful decisions and take employees’ and fellow leaders’ perspectives and feedback into consideration.

If you have high EQ leadership skills, you will easily pick up the “tone” of the room. Speaking with honesty while matching the tone needed, you will be able to diffuse tension among your team members and unify your team.

Finally, having a high EQ will help you manage difficult situations successfully. You will manage stress more effectively and won’t take it out on colleagues. It’s likely that you will have a healthy work-life balance, knowing how important this is for your emotional health.

Deep Dive: "Emotional and Empathy in Leadership."

EQ Benefits for Employees and Teams

A team carrying negative feelings toward a manager can spoil the synergy of a team, wasting time and often creating more frequent conflicts. This disconnection in the workplace lowers morale and engagement at work. Missing EQ skills will likely be reflected by a lack of employee engagement that also degrades a sense of teamwork and unity.

There are several excellent tools for employee engagement, such as those cited in this article to assist leaders and improve company morale.

One of the many benefits of high EQ in a leader is their ability to give everyone a voice and understand the team dynamic. Leadership implies building relationships. Emotionally intelligent leaders create a high degree of trust and openness at work while also holding employees accountable to do their best work. People will feel safe to express themselves and their views in the workplace. This leadership model lays the groundwork for respecting diversity and tackling inequality head-on before problems grow. A team of Millennials using digital tools that increases employee engagement.

A high EQ is essential for creating a healthy company culture. If employees feel trusted, safe, and valued at work, they naturally will perform better. However, employees who constantly deal with negative reactions from their superiors or managers who insist on micromanaging will stay on guard, preventing them from doing their best work. Better productivity at work ultimately means more profit. 

Related reading: Top Companies for Employee Engagement and Development

In Summary

To be an effective team leader, you need to be sensitive to the needs of your team. This responsiveness means being able to interpret your own emotions, read others' emotions, and socialize to build collaborative and healthy relationships.

An effective leader can self-regulate, has empathy for others, can sense what is needed, and can manage stress. This emotional intelligence helps their team to feel connected, creates a healthy workplace culture, and ultimately increases work performance.

To learn greater emotional intelligence and get customized support to build authentic leadership and thriving teams, check out our Heartmanity for Business resources.

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Guest Blogger: Ellie LottGuest Blogger: Ellie Lott
Ellie Lott is a writer and personal finance blogger living in Davis, California. She is passionate about millennial financial planning and uses her website to help educate this generation to make smart decisions with their money.

Posted in Business and Leadership, Emotional Intelligence

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