I’m feeling in a reflective mood today. I’ve been on the road recently talking a lot to people – some of whom fall into two categories: Firstly, those who are patently bright and highly technically competent but don’t put much store in what they call ‘soft skills’. The second group are folks who recognise that they are doing a ‘good job’ but who want to gain deeper insights about themselves and others.
It made me think about the difference between IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient or emotional intelligence). When I was growing up, being able to leap IQ tests in a single bound was the be-all and end-all of judging one’s likely career success. I hated these tests and was consistently useless.
Given that IQ is determined at birth, I was on a road to nowhere before I even started out. However, things started to change in the ‘90s when Daniel Golman demonstrated that developing emotional intelligence gives people a serious career competitive edge.
Yes, it’s great having a high IQ and an innate ability to acquire those fab intellectual and technical skills so highly prized in the job market, but as someone said to me recently “… technical skills can be learned through more training, but attitude and an ability to lead and inspire others… well that’s altogether a different matter.”
So it would appear that EQ and the ‘softer skills’ of empathy, rapport and other ‘qualities of the heart’, help make us more comfortable with who we are and more effective as team leaders. More importantly these ‘connection skills’ are vital in helping us become more confident in who we are, and more stress-resilient.
Here are the basic tenets of EQ – can you confidently assess yourself against all or some of these, and what are your conclusions?:
Self awareness – the ability to recognise and understand your moods and emotions as well as the effect this has on others.
Self regulation – the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulse and moods; the propensity to suspend judgement, to think before acting.
Motivation – a passion to pursue work for reasons that go beyond money and status; a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.
Empathy – the ability to understand the emotional make-up of other people; skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.
Social Skills – proficiency in managing relationships and building networks; an ability to find common ground and build rapport.
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Golman wrote about his “5 Discoveries” – really simple questions you might like to ask of yourself:
- Regarding my IDEAL self, who do I really want to be?
- Regarding my REAL self, who am I, and what are my strengths and gaps?
- With reference to my learning agenda, how can I build on my strengths whilst reducing any deficits?
- How can I experiment with, and practice new feelings, thoughts, and behaviours?
- How can I develop the supportive and trusting relationships that make change possible so I can develop my ‘ideal self’?
Have fun exploring what EQ might mean for you and your success, and let me know how you get on.
… In the meantime someone read out the following poem after I had delivered a masterclass on stress management and resilient leadership recently. It was taken from The Sanskrit… and it’s both dreamy and fabulous and reminds us (if we have an ‘ear to listen’) who we are as emotional and spiritual beings:
“Look to this day
for it is life, the very life of life.
In it’s brief course lie all the verities
and realities of your existence:
The bliss of growth;
The glory of action;
The splendour of beauty.
For yesterday is already a dream
and tomorrow is only a vision
but today well lived, makes every yesterday
a dream of happiness
and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.”
Or, here’s a more prosaic version variously attributed to Kung Foo Panda and / or Joan Rivers!! Your mind may boggle at the thought, but the meaning remains salient if you’re feeling a bit trapped by your past and your genetic (IQ) inheritance):
“The Past is history, the Future is a mystery, and Today is a gift. That is why we call it ‘The Present’”