EI or IQ — Which Better Controls our Destiny?

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is an ability to understand and control our emotions in social interactions. Daniel Goleman speaks about EI abilities to motivate oneself and persist in the midst of pressures and frustrations and to control our impulses and delay immediate gratification. It can regulate our moods and help to identify emotional triggers so that we can maintain our ability to think, act, empathize and continue to hope. It is an intelligence that has a broad scope of action and lives within the social setting, targeted at us and our relationships with others.

IQ is a personal assessment using a series of robust tests, verbal and live performance testing targeted at our personal intellectual abilities. IQ attempts to achieve a singular quantitative result measuring verbal comprehension, perceptual reasoning, working memory, and processing speed among other measurements of our intellect. This intellectual performance measurement is an individual assessment that does not take into account group performance and does not deal with human interaction where performance as a team or as a company is in play.

EI is a personal assessment, where it is important to learn about our emotional makeup and how it can affect the way we interact. We spend a great deal of time and energy trying to measure our EI abilities and levels. EI is also a social connection concept; it is an important component in building relationships with others. Our EI capability affects our ability to develop better teams. It touches on our ability to create a robust management approach with the groups we lead in our companies.

EI can be simply defined with three basic tenants. First, we must clearly understand our own emotions through self-awareness and build our strengths of self-regulation of these emotions. Second, since EI deals in social connections, the emotional makeup and the level of EI of others is also important. Our understanding of the EI of the people we interface with becomes a significant part of the science of EI. A major component of building this knowledge and understanding the emotional status of others comes through the social application of empathy, standing in the shoes of others and seeing a relationship through their eyes combining this view with what we individually see in ourselves.

Finally, to round out the complete application and need for EI, we take this combined understanding and knowledge about our emotions and the emotions of our colleagues, and we begin to build a relationship structured on a strong platform of emotional knowledge. It is important to have this emotional platform especially if we are truly interested in the need for interpersonal relationships. We focus here on close and potentially more intimate relationships, not casual ones. The desire to have more than a casual relationship with others, when our careers and companies are in play, is a point where we can use EI.

In my teaching, I find that my students have a strong desire to know and learn more about EI. What I think they really want is to figure out how to have a better work connection with others. This need is built on the need to get our work done efficiently and it calls for the spirit of friendly, frank, effective interaction. Perhaps we can extend the concept of “people only buy products from people that they like”, to include “people only work better with people that they like”.

Is it important to improve our EI scores? Can our EI be improved? Can EI be taught to others? Yes, yes, yes. Dan Goleman espouses the benefits of strong EI and is openly calling for the development of EI in children to ultimately guide them on a path of better relationships as they grow. Not a bad idea. My adult education students coming from industry clearly see the need to form better relationships in their work force. Many companies are moving to improve the EI in their people and organizations and some are contemplating measuring EI as a part of the hiring practice.

Having a High IQ is good, and IQ can be a good indicator of the intellectual strength we all have. High IQ gets us into prestigious universities and better jobs. High IQ is an important consideration in assessing job candidates. We all want smart people in our midst. Management 101 dictates the benefits of surrounding ourselves with people smarter than us. But, if we really want our business to be better developed and become stronger, we have to learn how to connect. I believe that EI has more control over the destiny of our companies than IQ levels. Emotions are in play with our relationships with our employees. Management and the organizations are touched by emotions. Other stakeholders in our companies are also touched by emotions.

We find emotions at play in success, failure and difficult work situations. EI creates more self and team motivation and it allows us to persevere in the face of frustration. It tempers our impulse actions and can be used to regulate our moods. EI allows us to think clearly, to empathize with others without judgment and bias, and it builds an environment of hope and success.

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