Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The IQ & EQ of Leadership

Emotional intelligence is critical to effective leadership – especially at the top.

Research indicates that emotional competencies are more than twice as important as intellect and technical ability when it comes to achieving organizational excellence.

As most successful executives know, the higher up the organization they go, the more apparent it becomes that the skills that propelled them to the next level are not necessarily the skills they need when they get there.
While technical proficiency and high intellect are usually the building blocks that launch successful careers, the data shows that's not what sustains them. In his book, Working with Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman cited research indicating that 67% of all abilities essential for effective performance were emotional competencies. When compared with IQ and technical expertise, emotional factors mattered more than twice as much.

At the top executive levels, nearly 90% of success in leadership is attributable to a high EQ… the measure of your emotional intelligence.

A few years back, I was contracted to facilitate a meeting geared to fostering collaboration among the key executives of a publicly traded New Jersey-based telecom. Halfway through the meeting, a note was delivered to the CEO who promptly stood up and began screaming at the CFO ... not the best example of a high EQ.

So, what exactly is meant by emotional intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is comprised of the competencies needed to effectively handle ourselves and our relationships with others. Specifically, they include self-awareness, self-regulation, empathy, motivation and adeptness in relationships.

When properly mixed together, they're the ingredients that make up the “secret sauce” of leadership.

In an era when increases in profitability and production are tied to leaders who can increase engagement, loyalty, collaboration and innovation, the research shows a clear link to emotional intelligence and helps explain why the lack of it sometimes leads to really smart people doing really dumb things.

If you’re a leader or a wannabe leader, it’s wise to check your EQ.

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