Emotional Intelligence: Why companies are seeking higher EQ over IQ

A person’s IQ (intelligence quotient) has often been deemed important for employability and growth within the workplace. In a society that has been known to expect employees to leave emotions at the door from 9-5, it is exciting to see the start of some major shifts within companies with the recent realization of high “emotional intelligence organizations”. Some of the top CEOs are avoiding the traditional organizational structures altogether and are adopting new ways to increase productivity and constructive energies in the workplace, including EQ (emotional quotient) initiatives rather than focusing on IQ.

Ursula Burns, CEO at Xerox, worked her way to her current role by expressing her true beliefs and passion for creating big company changes. Burns has been known for her incredible self-awareness and authenticity, but had to work on her ability to pick up on the emotion of others and how to use the “right tone” in different circumstances. These were skills that had to be learned as she grew within the company, rewarded by improved company culture, and only making Burns more respected in the tech industry.

Opposed to this kind of emotional maturity is the subconscious delegation of emotional freedom to our home and social lives, while our workplaces are for professional and proper behaviour only. But this has been changing drastically, as more employers are recognizing the difference in productivity and happiness in the workplace when EQ is taken into consideration. Now, we’re not trying to say you need to start expressing mass amounts of emotion at work. We’re simply saying that allowing yourself to be your authentic self and picking up on the emotions of others in the office lead to improved workplace relationships. Emotional intelligence is not only imperative for day-to-day health and happiness, but is vital to your employability. In fact, a whopping 71% of employers surveyed by Career Builders said they valued an employee’s EQ above their IQ!

 

So, what makes up a person’s EQ?

Whether you’re aware of it or not, your emotions impact just about everything you do. EQ is the ability to identify and handle your own emotions and the emotions of others. Emotional Intelligence is the title given to the following four elements:

1. Self Awareness

Understanding and recognizing your own emotions.

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2. Self Management

Handling your own emotions (coping).

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3. Social Awareness

Understanding and being empathetic to others’ emotions (noticing).

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4. Relationship Management

Handling others’ emotions (managing).

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A person with a high EQ level can boast positive qualities, including enthusiasm, empathy, patience, and stability. Such qualities are vital to work performance and a progressive company culture, though they have not always been recognized as such.

While a person’s IQ and personality are believed to be set from birth, EQ can be learned and developed with time. Yes! How magnificent is that? You can literally grab the most relevant book on EQ and increase your emotional quotient. Company leaders are realizing the importance of promoting higher levels of EQ in their organizations, and, because of this, there has been a rise in what is being called “EQ organizations” across the globe.

There are many activities or structural shifts that can be done to become an EQ organization, or one that exhibits and encourages high emotional intelligence. LeadManaging has been implementing and testing some of these, and we are happy to share them with you.

Feedback Discussion Times.

These are biweekly meetings in which each team member is allocated 30 minutes to discuss whatever we would like with the President of LeadManaging, Darren Henry. This allows us to openly provide our company leader with constructive feedback, and receive constructive feedback. These meetings equally prioritize the feelings and ideas of both parties, and remain open and confidential about everything from work-related to personal life updates. Ultimately, these conversations help us to ensure goals are being met, and to uncover any contentions or distractions that might be preventing focus and productivity, which might be work-related, or personal. These meetings have really helped to reinforce mutual support, promoting each employee’s success in the company.

Flex Hours.

Here’s a term you’ve surely heard before! Flexibility is something we value a great deal -- particularly millennials. Yes, we need to stop putting millennials in the spotlight wherever we can, but this is the truth! Research has shown that 77 percent of millennials believe that having a flexible schedule makes them more productive. Many also said they would give up pay and quick advancement to be able to work flexible hours that align with their lifestyle. At LeadManaging, we’ve been coming up with a variety of ideas for accommodating each team member’s lifestyle, such as work-from-home days to focus on individual projects, or shorter workdays balanced with some longer workdays. These changes are to promote better productivity, adhering to the needs of our employees, yet still prioritizing our clients.

Off Site Team Building.

Planning an offsite team building activity is not only a fun way to generate better engagement between your employees, but also to influence creativity and promote group skills, communication, and long-term bonding. These types of activities outside of work allows team members to collaboratively contribute to common goals in a fun way, while breaking down social barriers in order to connect at a more personal level. LeadManaging made it out of the escape room at Breakout Escapes with only one minute to spare, something we’re pretty proud of! This was a fun and challenging activity in which our team was able to display our creativity and leadership skills in order to work quickly through the obstacles. It was interesting to see who naturally fell into the leader position, and who surprised us with their creative problem-solving skills. There are many other team bonding activities your company can do off site, even if it’s just an evening out for some dinner and drinks.

In Office Activities.

Like offsite team building activities, in-office activities can be a fun way to produce better group communication and bonding. Workday activities provide a helpful change of pace within the office, preventing mundanity. Most of all, group activities allow team members to be candid and authentic at work, making it feel like a safer place. One of our more recent team activities was, in fact, a presentation all about EQ. As part of the activity, our team listed out 4-5 words that represented what each of them value most in life, both professionally and personally. We then shared the words we wrote down with the rest of the team, leaving judgement at the door. The goal of this activity was to understand whether we presented ourselves authentically to our peers, and whether we express our values to the people we work with. It was definitely eye-opening, coming with more surprises than we might have thought. Think about it… how often do you hide your personal values at work, or even give off the wrong impression of what you value at home? It’s important to think about how other people would interpret what you value most in life, and ensure you are aligning your projected image with how you actually feel, and what you most passionately believe.

 

With our society’s rise of technology and learning tools, children’s IQ levels have been increasing, while EQ is slowly decreasing. This may be no surprise, but is something that will become more challenging as the newest generation enters the workforce. With this in mind, the importance of implementing EQ practices within organizations is something that cannot be held off much longer. Is your workplace intentionally cultivating emotional intelligence, leading to new levels of company growth, daily joy, and improved performance? With just a few new implementations, you can inspire such advances every single day, benefitting your team both personally and professionally for the long run.