Our Dire EQ Gap

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The news media regularly reports on yet another famous individual caught out in inappropriate, injudicious behavior. This includes leaders in industry and government as well as ‘stars’ in entertainment and sports. These individuals, despite their brilliance, talent, wealth and power, are shown to have feet of clay. This metaphor is from the Book of Daniel, written over 2000 years ago. Clearly we’ve known about our self-destructive capacity for a very long time. These dramatic instances of poor behaviour are both fodder for tabloids and for great enduring literature. Today we ascribe this self-defeating behaviour as a lack of social and emotional intelligence.

EQ, also known as Emotional Intelligence, has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. It’s a natural complement to Cognitive Intelligence, or IQ (Intellectual Quotient). Like IQ, EQ is also needed at all life stages. EQ has four broad dimensions – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Our collective “EQ Gap” plays out in our own lives at school, work, and the community. While it usually doesn’t become a news story, the consequences are just as dramatic and destructive.

EQ_Iceberg

Like IQ, EQ is also needed at all life stages. However it’s development is largely ad hoc and informal. This is in stark contrast to the importance given to cognitive development within K-12 education. As a result, schools are seeing alarming rates of bullying and dropping out. Both are linked to poor EQ. These epidemics are costing society billions of dollars. Problematically, this imbalance between cognitive and emotional intelligence continues into adulthood. That is, we graduate knowing many facts and how to do many things, but we still don’t know much about each other or ourselves!!! This is borne out by the statistics

  • Only 36% of people are able to identify their emotions accurately as they happen — Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greave
  • 34% of CFOs say applicants’ people interpersonal skills will tip the balance over industry experience and software proficiency. This is up from 1% in 2004 — Accountemps Survey October 200
  • CEOs and other senior executives, on average, have the lowest EQ scores in the workplace –www.talentsmart.com
  • 90% of executives ‘derail’ professionally due to lack of emotional competencies. — Talent xxx
  • Lack of so-called soft skills among the young staff of small to medium-sized enterprises is a worry — Orange Telecoms Survey

Employees are expected to routinely exercise their knowledge and skills in performing their responsibilities. This includes using one’s emotional intelligence. Thus the same disparity operant when they were in school is also now found at work. To wit, the continuing EQ Gap is responsible for the same kinds of problems. Except now the consequences and costs are even higher. Consider the following negative impacts, all of which are rising.

  1. Absenteeism & turnover
  2. Depression & anxiety
  3. Declining morale
  4. Declining work productivity & focus
  5. Increasing conflict & bullying
  6. Increased disability premiums
  7. Rising health & benefits costs’
  8. Employment replacement

Although the EQ Gap continues growing, innovative solutions are coming on stream in response. Character, ethics, and leadership are more central to hardliner business than ever. For example, the new MBA Oath, which originated at Harvard University and is spreading to other institutions, explicitly acknowledges the goal of a business manager is to “serve the greater good.” It also commits Harvard MBA’s to act responsibly, ethically and refrain from advancing their “own narrow ambitions” at the expense of others.

NOTABLE QUOTES

“When executives from the Big Three auto makers hopped their individual jets in November 2008 to fly from Detroit to Washington and throw themselves at the feet of Congress to beg for federal financial support, we all marveled at the disconnect … They never thought to find that emotional quotient, their EQ. The perception of it all… asking us for money while traveling in imperious style. And then they were taken aback with the public outcry. Remember, it wasn’t their IQs people were questioning as much as their EQs … And therein lies the EQ gap.” Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC Chief Medical Editor, 11/09, Huffington Post

“If organizations are to turn conflict into improved professional relationships and better organizational performance, they must invest the time to train and coach their employees to deal with different point of views, personalities and work styles.” Shawn Bakker, Psychologist at Psychometrics Canada

We understand how we treat people in the workplace is at the very heart of sustaining business performance over the long-term.” David Wilson, Chairman of the Ontario Securities Commission, www.mentalhealthroundtable.ca

“If organizations are to turn conflict into improved professional relationships and better organizational performance, they must invest the time to train and coach their employees to deal with different point of views, personalities and work styles.” Shawn Bakker, Psychologist at Psychometrics Canada