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What is more important to you as an employer? High IQ or high EI?

A question to any genuinely interested employers out there: - what is more important to you as an employer, an employee with a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or an employee with a high Emotional Intelligence (EI)?

I read so many articles on social media from people stating, “People don’t leave their jobs, they leave their boss”, or people shouting about the importance of employers looking after their employees. LinkedIn is awash with it all!

I have to admit I am a slightly cynical 50 plus year old and I wonder how many practice what they preach. How many really look after their employees? I suspect not many. For years, the most importance has been placed on someone’s IQ, and to be fair, it still has its importance today. Personally, I place a lot of faith in someone’s EI.

What is EI all about then? EI is made up of five components;

Self-Awareness - The ability to recognise and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect upon others.

Trademarks: Self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, self-depreciating sense of humour.

Self-Regulation - The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods. The propensity to suspend judgement, to think before acting.

Trademarks: Trustworthiness and integrity comfort with ambiguity, openness to change.

Motivation - A passion to work for reasons that go beyond money or status. A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

Trademarks: Strong drive to achieve optimism, even in the face of failure organisational commitment.

Empathy - The ability to understand the emotional make up of other people. A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions.

Trademarks: Expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity service to clients and customers.

Social Skill - Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, an ability to find common ground and build rapport.

Trademarks: Effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, expertise in building and leading teams.

I would suggest firstly, look at ourselves and see where our levels are on all five components. How do we fair in all this? Having done this myself, I found one of my biggest flaws was self-regulation. One part of self-regulation in this day and age is responding to emails. I used to be too quick to jump in with a response that was led by my emotion at that time. Better to go away, think, then come back to the email, even sometimes waiting until the next day to respond. That way the response can be more measured, thoughtful and a bit more logical. I have passed this advice onto a number of people in my team and I know that some still stand by this advice and have thanked me for it. 

Another part of self-regulation is having the ability to keep your emotions in check when somebody says something to criticize you, your team, and your work. It is easy to ‘fly off the handle’ and say all the wrong things. It is better to carry on listening, keep your own council (for now) and think more clearly about a response. I once read, “Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be” I am sure that translates to, “Wise women are not always silent, but they know when to be”.

Having studied the five components, which ones are you deficient in? Which ones do you need to practice on? Once we have looked at ourselves, we can look at our teams, and colleagues. What challenges do they face within these five components? If they need help, can you help them? Indeed, do you want to help them? Thought provoking, isn’t it? 

I am not suggesting to ignore somebody’s IQ, in fact, thinking about it, I’m not suggesting anything really, other than to think. Having said that, personally, I look to these five components when I am looking for new staff and existing staff alike. In this massively changing world, I am not interested in empowering women, men, black, white, the old or the young.  I am interested in empowering human beings. Using the five components helps me to try and help people to become better balanced human beings. 

I have used EI to help me build my team in National Friendly. I have tried when recruiting to look at the candidates EI levels and also can they, in fact do they, want to learn and grow? I am going to be biased and proclaim that I have a great team around me; I would be completely transparent and say to anyone, ask what the team think about their jobs and the company. Ask them are they happy and enjoy coming to work. I know they would all answer positively to these questions. Is that down to me? A little I guess. For me, it is all down to their ability to want to learn, to accept both constructive criticism and sincere, heart-felt praise. This is made all the easier for me by building my team members on the pillars of a good, sound EI. 

Lastly, for all you people out there that have a high IQ, I apologise for only really talking about EI and not the strengths of IQ, I’m sure there are plenty to write and talk about! I myself am not blessed with a brilliant IQ, so I don’t have much experience to write or talk about it! Feel free to comment, good, bad or indifferent!

Lastly, thank you to my wife’s cousin, Emma-Jane Brown, for supplying me some material she had previously used in her work. Another EI convert

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