Is it more important to know “stuff” or to understand emotions and behavior when it comes to today’s workplace?
I suppose the obvious answer is a little of both right?
Over the years I have worked with people who have high IQ and people who have high EQ. Few have ranked high in both, in my expert (ahem) opinion.
Is a High IQ Always a Good Thing?
I’m going to guess that everyone reading this knows what IQ is. If not, your Intelligent Quotient score probably isn’t off the char
ts. All joking aside, I’ve worked with some really intelligent people in the IT industry. Great with math, code, really talented and honestly have a much higher IQ than me I would assume. They are really good when focused in on their specific job or task.
In a lot of these cases however, there is a glaring weakness with the individuals I’ve dealt with. Some are socially awkward and have no interpretation of feelings or emotions to their fellow employees or even supervisor. They can come off as cold, stuck up, or even rude even if that is not the intention.
I remember some real interesting characters in my college IT classes. A few of them were nerdy and cocky at the same time. It was both hilarious and strange as hell!
Why is EQ Important in Today’s Workplace?
Emotional Intelligence or Emotional Quotient (EQ) is loosely defined as the capability to recognize their own and other people’s emotions and to adapt, manage, and/or adjust emotions to adapt environments or achieve one’s goal. In my opinion, this is just as important if not more so than high intelligence in the workplace today.
Times have changed. We live in a politically correct world where feelings are prioritized like never before in history.
I’ve lost track on how many times I have had to diffuse a situation between my supervisor and a coworker. Two people that reside more on the IQ side coincidentally.
In fact just recently, the newest member of our work team was hired in large part because of his temperament and beat out a candidate who had a better resume but was less impressive during the interview. For my job, getting along with people is half the battle. I really see this trend continuing because dealing with an HR incident is something supervisors don’t want to mess with.
It is happening more and more in today’s workplace.
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?
So you are a little low on the EQ side and want to know if you can improve? You are in luck! Of course you can and there are educational programs for this. More and more employers have mandatory training for this now. And if they don’t, most employers most likely would foot the bill for additional training.
Especially if you are in a supervisor role or aspire to be one. Anything to keep the hamster wheels spinning in a smooth, orderly fashion. Simply fire up your favorite search engine and you will find plenty of options for social and emotional learning programs. If nothing else, it will look good on your resume and noteworthy during the next performance review.
Finding the Balance
Now this is not to undermine the value of high IQ individuals. Obviously the country and the world needs brilliant people. Not all of them are lacking social skills either but there is a challenge on finding the right fit in the corporate structure for those that are in that category. In fact some of them make better CEO’s because they can delegate down the responsibility and concept of teamwork to someone below them.
Take a guy like the late Steve Jobs for example. A brilliant man, founder of Apple. The world is still enjoying millions of the products that he designed.
A prick by most accounts from people who worked for him however.
He was a very demanding guy and not afraid to say anything to anyone. Would someone like this be able to work on a team as equals? No chance, at least not for long. In fact, I have no doubts that if he were alive today, he would probably be getting sued from a former employee for verbal harassment or something of the like. Much has changed in the years since his passing.
To conclude, I feel that there is a need for both IQ and EQ in today’s workplace. They each have their own importance. I do however see an increase in value to the employees who are great communicators and work well in a team environment. Also these types have attractive qualities and can rise through the ranks and become team leaders and heads of corporate divisions.
Question for the readers- Have you noticed increased priority to hire employees that are better team players? Thoughts of IQ vs EQ?