The Right Stuff

EQ-coverI’ve recently been reading the Steve Jobs biography. It is no secret that Jobs was a creative marketing genius, and that he brought many incredible products to life that transformed entire industries. However, several times in his biography, it is mentioned that he shamelessly manipulated others, threw tantrums, screamed insults, and provoked controversy. He was challenged in his relationships, and it resulted in certain setbacks in his career.

The phrase Emotional Intelligence, or its casual shorthand EQ, is the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. Many researchers have claimed EQ is more important to leadership success than IQ, while others have claimed the exact opposite. I wonder if it is, perhaps, a combination of both. IQ provides the foundational skills of functional expertise and the ability to create new ideas. EQ pushes those foundational skills to the next level. EQ, simply put, is a different way of being smart.

The five components of EQ include self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill. These components contain both self-management skills and skills in managing relationships with others.

Self-Management Skills

Self-awareness is having a deep understanding of one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs, and drives. People with strong self-awareness are neither unrealistically hopeful nor overly critical. Self-aware people know their strengths and limitations, and they are hungry for constructive criticism.

Self-regulation is the ability to control disruptive impulses and moods. Signs of self-regulation include thoughtfulness and reflection, comfort with ambiguity and change, and an ability to say no to impulsive urges.

Motivation is a key trait that all effective leaders absolutely must have. They are driven by a deep desire to achieve for the sake of achievement. They don’t give up when the chips are stacked against them. They have an unexplainable energy to find ways to do things better, and they motivate others to do the same.

Managing Relationships with Others

Empathy is thoughtfully considering other people’s emotions in the decision-making process. However, to truly consider other people’s emotions, you must listen. As Lao Tzu said, “Silence is a source of great strength.” You might ask how leaders can make hard decisions if they are listening and feeling for the people who will be affected. But leaders with empathy do much more than just sympathize with people. They use that knowledge to improve their organizations in subtle but crucial ways.

Social skill is a proficiency in managing relationships and building networks. It is the ability to move others in the direction desired, find common ground, and have people feel good about it.

The good news is EQ can be learned and developed. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 provides an assessment for measuring your EQ and strategies to build each component. Developing your EQ will take time and a strong commitment (your first EQ exercise), but the benefits far outweigh the work involved in getting there.

So does EQ really matter? After all, Steve Jobs did make some incredible strides as a leader, even with a seemingly low EQ.

I believe it absolutely matters. A strong EQ is key to achieving highly effective leadership skills. It sets inspirational leaders apart from dictators. And it’s the stuff people are drawn to, yet they aren’t sure exactly why.

Post by Melissa Wurzel, Former FLVS Executive Director of Marketing & Communications 

One comment on “The Right Stuff

  1. Jo

    Melissa, I totally agree and I use it everyday and train my folks to be aware and try to manage their EQ to serve their stakeholders. Thanks for the post. Very thought provoking and confirming for me and what I know to be true in my work life.


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