Leadership and EQ – their contribution to the workplace

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Leadership and EQ – their contribution to the workplace

Feb 5, 2021

What do leadership and EQ (emotional quotient) have in common? Whilst the fundamentals of leadership will not change, future leaders will succeed with a different skill set than those of today. In today’s rapidly changing and dynamic business world, future leaders must not simply solve technical problems, but they need to have a vision that inspires others to ensure that the vision becomes a reality. (Dunning, D. Leadership in the Millennium).

Experts in the field of psychology have determined that there is a direct correlation between success in the workplace and emotional intelligence (EQ). The definition of emotional intelligence according to Daniel Goleman proposes four broad spheres of EQ which comprise: Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social skills.

EQ is the ability to recognise and have a solid understanding of how our emotions and actions affect the people around us.

One would assume that both a high IQ and EQ are integral to the contribution to the choice of a successful and strong leader. However, new research suggests that having a very high IQ is not an inevitable contribution to good leadership and that the smartest people may be less effective leaders. Leadership and EQ need to be complimentary. As shown by the University of Lausanne which published a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, it was seen that Intelligence showed a positive linear relationship with leadership effectiveness only up to a certain point. The association flattened out and then, in fact, started to reverse at an IQ of around 120.

Your next leader may not be the Einstein you were looking for after all. The study further concluded that the average IQ of leaders was 111, compared to an average of 100 for the general population. Now, one can then start to see why EQ may take precedence over IQ, and how the selection of a good leader falls significantly on their emotional capacities.

Further, according to Franklin Covey, leaders of the future will need to be able to collaborate, communicate, solve problems, and demonstrate authenticity and cross-cultural competency. These are skills developed mainly through social and emotional learning.

Qualifications, work experience and references are undoubtedly important aspects of the screening process, but alone they are not enough. A combination of IQ and EQ provides an effective predictor of success in the workplace. It presents an indication of one’s intellectual ability and how well day-to-day demands are handled.

So how can we apply Goleman’s insight to increase our own probability of success? Litha-Lethu’s assessment batteries are carefully designed to assess the leadership competence and potential for both prospective recruits and talent management initiatives.