Show me the numbers! Show me the data! You’ve heard this mantra before. As leaders we have all had to deal with colleagues, supervisors and team members who doubt the real impact of emotional intelligence at work. In fact, some of the most resistant to embracing EQ are the ones most in need of its benefits. While programmers, accountants, lawyers, and engineers are often thought to lead the hit parade of ‘doubting Thomases’, they are not by any means the only ones. So how do you get people in these and other IQ-centric fields to recognize and utilize the valuable assets that come from developing and using their EQ?
Here are a few suggestions I make to organizations of how to bring EQ to an IQ World:
Meet people where they live. If you have a science guy, present the facts and figures. Through presenting the business case for EQ I find that business leaders and heady people of all types can wrap their minds around the facts of productivity, customer loyalty and profitability that EQ brings to the equation. For example, 75% of the reasons that companies lose their clients or customers are EQ-related reasons. That means that three quarters of all reasons that the customers who purchase their product or services do so because they like the way they were treated (an eq trait), like the service they receive when things go wrong (an eq trait) and keep coming back because of their positive experience (an eq trait).
I then progress from the business case to the brain science case. Explaining how every decision is an emotional decision, based on the limbic system and the science of how the brain works, goes a long way to helping the IT guys and gals reframe how they make decisions.
Finally I’ll bring up the all important fun fact that EQ skills can be learned. Often I think it’s more difficult for heady people to break out of the mold of acting a certain way. So if you tend to be a more IQ-centric person and want to break out a bit there are things you can do to expand your repertoire. like starting a conversation with “I feel” instead of “I think.” Or asking for someone’s opinion before giving your own. And then actively listening to that opinion before offering your thoughts. Really basic small steps that people can put into practice right away and see results.
As leaders we can’t always be smarter than the smart people we seek to surround ourselves with. The thing about super heady people is that they often do know more or are “smarter” than many folks. So ask for their opinions because they’re smart but don’t let them off the hook by never asking them to step up to the “feeling” plate, at least a little. Remind them that emotions are really heady stuff.