Dr. Travis Blackberry observes that while our Intelligence Quotient (IQ) is generally fixed, our Emotional Quotient (EQ) can be developed.
IQ is how fast you can learn information. This number stays fixed. Everything we experience comes through the base of our brain and Limbic system before being routed to the rational part. EQ combines the two. It is not personality, nor does it affect introversion or extroversion (which are also generally fixed), but it can change as you increase the flow of information between the emotional and rational parts of the brain.
Though his IQ seemed unchanged, Phineas Gage was a remarkably different person emotionally after surviving a tamping iron shot through his brain. The damage to that portion of his brain radically changed his behavior. So while IQ is a small predictor of your success in life, EQ is the primary driver behind our behavior.
Four Skills We Need:
- Self Awareness. The ability to understand your own tendencies. We often put blinders on our eyes about ourselves, but if you spot it, you got it.
- Self Management. This is what you do with your self-awareness.
- Social Awareness. Recognizing and understanding the emotions and perspectives of others.
- Relationship Management. The ability to use the first three in concert, identifying what’s going on with me, what’s going on in the other person and how can I create a common good. Often we lose the war because we’re so focused on winning the battle in our relationships. Sometimes we need to change our speed, pause, and consider how our behavior is going to impact other people. Respond, don’t react.
Why EQ is Needed for Leadership
EQ is the foundation for critical skills. Although CEO’s often have the lowest EQ in the workplace, those that have the highest EQ are 90% of top performers.
How to Increase EQ
Start by building neural pathways: make behavior habitual and understand that self-awareness comes first. Pursue feedback and knowledge of “mistakes.” Stress may actually help: It is shown mild stress actually creates highest performance, while no stress or severe stress decreases performance. So, (1) bring stress under control. Use breathing exercises, turn phone your off, take a walk, or think about something you’re grateful for. (2) Sleep enough in high quality and quantity - it impacts performance. The negative effects of poor sleep include a long list of health issues. Don’t take sleep aids, which can disrupt your normal sleep patterns and stay away from blue light (computer, phones, tablets) which halts natural melatonin production. An added benefit of sleep: not getting high quality sleep makes you fat! And, finally, (3) get your caffeine intake under control. Too much caffeine can put the fight/flight trigger in overdrive. It takes 24 hours for the effects of caffeine to get out of your system.