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Q&A with Dr. Howard Book, co-author The EQ Edge [Leadership Strategies]

Book review by Hope Katz Gibbs
Leadership Strategies newsletter

Dr. Howard E. Book, the author of The EQ Edge, is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and is guest faculty at the INSEAD School of Business in France. He is also a founding member of Associates in Workplace Consultation, and works with mid- and large-size corporations in enhancing the EQ of their executives and developing EQ programs for middle managers.

Hope Gibbs: You explain in your book that emotional intelligence, which you also call “street smarts,” “savvy,” or “know how,” is the personal quality that gives you a competitive edge for success. You also seem to believe that successful leaders are in touch with their emotions and that emotional intelligence is key to business and personal success. Is this something you are born with, or can be learned?

Dr. Book: It can definitely be learned. Studies in the workplace have demonstrated that an increase in emotional intelligence can lead directly to a better bottom line. For example, in a study at American Express Financial Services, a group trained in emotional skills sold 10% more life insurance than a comparison group of salespeople. The group trained in emotional competencies produced 16% higher sales than other salespeople across the company. This resulted in millions of dollars of additional sales. Interestingly, participants reported improvements in their personal lives as well.

Hope Gibbs: In your book you are clear about the differences between EQ and IQ. Can you give us a quick primer?

Dr. Book: IQ is a measurement of an individual’s intellectual, analytical, logical and rational abilities. It gauges how well we learn new things, retain and recall information, reason and solve problems.

Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, encompasses an array of non-cognitive skills and abilities that influence one’s success just as much as IQ. And this skill set enables us to make our way in a complex world**from the personal and social aspects of overall intelligence, to the elusive common sense and sensitivity that are essential to our daily functioning and relationships with others.

Hope Gibbs: In your opinion, which is more important?

Dr. Book: In essence, IQ is the measure of an individual’s cognitive abilities and personal information bank–the ability to learn, to remember, and to coordinate visual and motor skills. Some of these skills clearly contribute to doing well in life.
The fact remains, however, that IQ does not and cannot be the unique predictor of success in life. As for the importance of IQ in the workplace, studies have shown that it can predict between 1 and 20% of success in a given job. EQ, on the other hand, has been found to be directly responsible for between 27 and 45% of job success, depending on the field of work.

Hope Gibbs: Those are fascinating statistics, and in fact you say in the book that there is much more analytical data to back up the fact that EQ plays a critical role in everything from succession planning to career success. Can you give us a few ideas about how leaders can incorporate some of your suggestions into their businesses?

Dr. Book: Absolutely. Take succession planning, for instance. Executives faced with this challenge need to know what to look for in up-and-coming leaders. They should ask: What makes an excellent CEO? What type of person can excel at managing large groups? What should HR managers be looking for in mid-level employees? Then, once potential leaders are identified, use some of the EQ ideas to determine what areas they should be mentored in.

When it comes to linking EQ research to career success, consider that we see successful people in the workplace all the time**but do we know exactly what makes them do so well? Is it their intelligence? While that likely plays a part in their overall achievements, it’s more likely that emotional intelligence is creating opportunities for them.

So leaders need to determine the impact of qualities such as empathy, flexibility or reality testing allow an executive or employee to shine at work. When you find what makes a person tick**you can be sure they will be more effective.

15 EQ Edge Emotional and Social Skills

1. Emotional Self-Awareness: The ability to recognize your feelings, why you are feeling them, and the impact they have on others around you.
2. Self-Regard: The ability to respect and accept yourself as good.
3. Assertiveness: The ability to express feelings, beliefs and thoughts openly and directly without being aggressive or abusive.
4. Independence: The ability to be self-controlled in your thinking and actions and free of emotional dependency.
5. Self-Actualization: The ability to realize your potential capacities by becoming involved in pursuits that lead to a meaningful life.
6. Empathy: The ability to be aware of, to understand and appreciate the feelings and thoughts of others.
7. Interpersonal Relationship: The ability to establish and maintain mutually satisfying relationships that are characterized by giving and receiving affection.
8. Social Responsibility: The ability to demonstrate that you are a cooperative, contributing and constructive member of your social group.
9. Stress Tolerance: The ability to withstand adverse events and stressful situations without developing physical or emotional symptoms.
10. Impulse Control: The ability to resist or delay an impulse, drive, or the temptation to act without considering the consequences.
11. Reality Testing: The ability to see things objectively.
12. Flexibility: The ability to adapt to unfamiliar, unpredictable and dynamic circumstances.
13. Problem Solving: The ability to identify and define problems as well as to generate and implement potentially effective solutions.
14. Optimism: The ability to look at the brighter side of life and to maintain a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity.
15. Happiness: The ability to feel satisfied with your life, to enjoy yourself and others and to have fun.

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• MICHAEL GIBBS, website illustration and design: www.michaelgibbs.com
• MAX KUKOY, website development: www.maxwebworks.com
• STEVE BARRETT, portrait of Hope on Bio page: www.stevebarrettphotography.com

Contact HOPE KATZ GIBBS by phone [703-346-6975] or email.

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