When it comes to leadership effectiveness, who has a competitive edge? Someone operating from intelligence (IQ) or emotional intelligence (EQ)?
Many notable researchers in the IQ camp believe emotional intelligence (EQ) is overrated. They point to studies showing that intelligence (cognitive ability) is what truly counts for job performance.
In the emotional intelligence camp, we have a different story. Research continues to affirm that non-cognitive skills can matter as much, if not more, than IQ for workplace success and leadership effectiveness. Heck, EQ can even increase your income!
For example, once you land a job in your field of expertise and start considering things like increasing your role, getting promoted, leading others, and navigating political landscapes, your IQ will be begging for your EQ to show up in your decision-making process.
What separates leaders with EQ from those with IQ
Emotional intelligence is defined by leading scholars as having the ability to “recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions and recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.”
That should eliminate many within the leadership ranks who prescribe to IQ-only effectiveness.
Here are three things emotionally intelligent leaders do differently and extremely well that IQ-only leaders may have a hard time with.
1. They are aware of their emotions
They understand their own strengths and limitations and are conscious of the situations and events in their life. During times of frustration, they’re able to pinpoint the root and cause of their frustration. When under pressure, they also have clarity on their values and sense of purpose, which allows them to be more decisive when setting a course of action.
2. They are aware of the emotions of others
Knowing your own emotions is only half the battle. Leaders with a high level of EQ also recognize and respect the emotions of others. They connect and empathize with their team members. They pay full attention to the other person and take the time to understand what they are saying and how they are feeling — putting themselves in other people’s shoes in a meaningful way. While they may not always know what someone else is feeling, they can accept that person’s emotions even if they don’t understand them.
3. They regulate their emotions
Leaders who self-regulate rarely lose control, verbally attack others, or make rash decisions. When you manage (regulate) your emotions, you stay in control. Psychologist and best-selling author Daniel Goleman says this about people who manage their emotions well:
Reasonable people–the ones who maintain control over their emotions–are the people who can sustain safe, fair environments. In these settings, drama is very low and productivity is very high. Top performers flock to these organizations and are not apt to leave them.
Intelligence is certainly needed for leadership success and should never be ignored. But if you’re looking to raise your leadership capacity to new heights, or build a team with the superpowers of emotional intelligence, start with these three aptitudes.