This post was originally published by Everything DiSC: A Wiley Brand, on 22 September 2020, and can be viewed in its original format here.
Emotional intelligence (aka EQ) isn’t always at the forefront of our minds on a daily basis. Although EQ is woven into the fabric of our personalities and interactions (workplace and otherwise), it’s subtle and nuanced enough to fly under the radar in many situations. We don’t typically walk away from a pleasant exchange thinking, “Wow, I sure am impressed with Andre’s emotional intelligence when it comes to problem-solving.” However, had this interaction gone poorly, it’s likely that we would walk away thinking something along the lines of, “Note to self: don’t ask for Andre’s help when things are going wrong…unless I want to feel belittled.” The truth is that while we might not actively notice EQ, we definitely notice its glaring absence.
Wait a Second—What Is EQ, Exactly? Before we go any further, let’s take a minute and clarify what we mean when we talk about EQ. It’s a pretty broad term these days, but to us, “emotional intelligence” refers to the ability to read the emotional and interpersonal needs of a situation and respond appropriately. Which brings us to our next question: what’s the difference between emotional intelligence and EQ? Originally, the term EQ (short for “emotional quotient”) was reserved for the measurement of emotional intelligence (i.e. a score on an assessment). Over time, however, the term EQ has become widely used to describe emotional intelligence, without necessarily implying its quantitative measurement. So today, “emotional intelligence” and “EQ” are used interchangeably.
Why We Need EQ in the Workplace From standoffish bosses to doctors with no bedside manner, a person’s lack of (or at the very least, disregard for) EQ can really throw us for a loop. This absence of emotional intelligence can negatively impact our day-to-day interactions, which often make the difference between a good day and a bad day. There are a variety of different social and emotional skills that are necessary to successfully navigate personal and professional relationships. These are skills like being assertive, managing one’s temper, or showing compassion. The truth is that, on a human level, we all just want to be understood and accepted, so when our earnest communication efforts seem one-sided, it feels…bad. Specifically in workplace settings (even if it’s just through Zoom or a Teams chat), maintaining productive relationships and interactions can have some pretty strong implications on overall job performance and employee engagement. Thankfully, organizations everywhere are now starting to recognize the importance of strong EQ, and these types of soft skills are becoming increasingly sought after in job candidates. The newest eBook from Everything DiSC®, Agility Unlocked: Revealing the Connection Between Agility and Emotional Intelligence, explores organizations’ need for an agile workforce—and how EQ plays a critical role in developing said agility among employees. This eBook includes data from a recent Wiley study in which 97% of leaders said developing EQ is crucial to building an agile workforce. In addition, 41% of respondents said that they’ve actually left jobs in the past due to working with people who had low emotional intelligence. Yikes! Luckily, EQ can always be developed—and it’s never too late to start. One of the things Everything DiSC brings to the broader EQ conversation is that people's emotional intelligence is much more complex than "good or bad" and "high or low.” All of us have aspects of emotional intelligence that come naturally to us where other aspects are more of a struggle. For example, some of us are really good in situations that call for insistence, but not so good in situations that call for patience. Some of us are naturally good in situations that call for caution, but not so good in situations that call for branching out. And as we’ve seen, the world is asking us, more and more, to be able to shift gears and handle these different situations with equal competence. This is where being agile connects to having well-developed EQ.
Agility and EQ: The Dynamic (and Crucial) Duo Increasingly, it seems, organizations—and people—require agility and a heightened EQ to navigate the world of work. So, what do agility and EQ have in common? It’s the ability to “stretch.” If you can stretch beyond your comfort zone to control and adapt your automatic responses, you’ll become better at navigating different workplace challenges and interactions. This creates a stronger, more well-rounded EQ. Make no mistake, learning to stretch takes time and effort—which is exactly why we’ve developed Everything DiSC® Agile EQ™. This solution (which can be facilitated in-person or virtually) helps learners better handle the interpersonal and emotionally charged situations that they encounter each day through a personalized profile and guided facilitation. Everything DiSC Agile EQ uses the concepts of “mindsets” (your unique inclinations and tendencies within certain personality facets) and stretching to help organizations develop the emotional intelligence of their workforce, resulting in a thriving, agile culture. The Agile EQ model proposes that an emotionally intelligent person is one who (1) recognizes which mindsets are most appropriate in a given situation and (2) stretches to use those mindsets (regardless of how comfortable they maybe). The Agile EQ model also proposes that with practice, persistence, and the right resources, agility can be developed by anyone—even that aloof boss or the brusque doctor.
You can learn more about this solution (and the importance of workplace EQ) in Agility Unlocked: Revealing the Connection Between Agility and Emotional Intelligence, available for immediate download here.