Everyone knows what an IQ is, but not many know what an EQ (emotional quotient) is and why it’s critical for successful leadership.
This Bee School lecture focused on “Emotional Intelligence” which determines your EQ. This concept is defined as the ability to recognize and regulate your emotions and those of others around you.
Although the term is relatively new, the concept has been around for a long time. MBA professor and host of the Bee School educational series has conducted a significant amount of research on the topic. She found most managers have roughly the same amount of technical skills, and what sets good managers apart from exceptional ones is a high EQ.
Results consistently showed this was the main differentiator and, by having these skills, managers could be miles ahead of the average manager. By honing these skills, you can relate to people of different backgrounds and bring out the best out in yourself and colleagues by being aware of behaviors and how they impact others.
Dr. Herkenhoff shared some of her own examples of how she used emotional intelligence to solve complex challenges at global organizations. Her findings showed there is a positive relationship between emotional intelligence and job satisfaction.
It’s directly responsible for increased retention, productivity, confidence, innovation, and lower stress levels. Alternatively, a low EQ can result in a lack of commitment, loyalty, organizational values, safety, and poor customer service.
During the seminar, there were two questions for the professor and you’ll see her responses below.
Q&A with the Professor
1. What do I do when I discover emotional destructive behavior from an employee? How do I address this issue in a dialogue?
This is a tricky question to answer without any background or context, but I’ll do my best. If the issues being brought into the workplace are personal in nature or have escalated to the point of potential physical threats, I would advise consulting your HR department or someone else within the organization to discuss a plan of action that would result in the best outcome for all parties.
I would also advise against getting into a deeply personal conversation with the person. You are a manager, not a therapist. Your goal is to help your employee find the resources they need to be happy and whole so they can successfully perform their job.
If the destructive behavior impacts others within the organization, it must be addressed before it becomes a spiral of negative or toxic energy within the organization. Focus on the merits of the issues and seek a win-win solution first.
If it’s not as serious in nature, take a step back and try to recognize where your colleague is coming from and understand their pain. You can look at the factors in Hofstede’s model to help fine-tune your response and determine the way that particular person would like to communicate.
Address these during in-person meetings as they have the richest context. Before the first meeting, I would document the performance issues you’ve noticed that are related to the destructive behavior and review each within the context of job performance. List dates and times of specific job issues followed by your wish for how these issues would be handled in the future.
Once you have the meetings, make it clear you understand their side and also articulate how negative emotions affect company operations as a whole. Maybe they didn’t realize the impact they’re having and how much you genuinely care about their happiness at work. Ask the employee if there is anything he or she needs to accomplish your wishes.
Be careful that you are not asking what you as a manager can do to get them there. It is up to the individual to make the decision to change and it is up to you to provide the resources, if possible, to help accomplish your wishes as well as theirs. It is not up to you to fix or take on the emotional burden of an employee.
It is your job to identify the problem within the context of the workplace and work on a collaborative solution where you are supporting the employee, but not fixing the issue for them.
Once the issue has been discussed and the employee has expressed what they need to adjust their behavior, make a plan to revisit the conversation weekly to check in on progress.
Your goal should be to avoid:
- Lost productivity
- Lack of commitment
- Lack of loyalty
- Low personal safety
- Perception bias- pessimistic outlook
- Poor customer service
- Toxic work environment
2. Does EQ take precedence over normal intelligence?
Depending on the job duties, a healthy mix of both should be there. When it comes to normal intelligence, employees should be able to adequately perform all of their job functions and have the ability to extend their scope to adjacent functions with ease. If the person can accomplish their role, the level of EQ can make the difference between a C-player and an A-player.
A-players are a must on every team. Their self-awareness, empathy, adaptability, and self-confidence can be motivating and contagious for your B players striving to be A-players.
To excel as a leader, both are important. From my research, I’ve found managers are generally the same technically, but it’s the emotional intelligence that sets them apart and makes them the best leader.
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