Some companies request testing candidates IQ (Intelligence Quotient) before hiring, yet I’ve not come across a recruitment company that has managers go through an EQ (Emotional Quotient) assessment. I’m sure there are some, but it’s certainly not the norm. IQ only means “your capacity for learning”. It’s very hard to measure accurately because tests can't easily measure unused capacity, they can only measure how much you know, and perhaps how well you are able to solve certain kinds of problems.
In your role as a leader what are the biggest challenges you face almost daily? Is it all the issues, errors, employees, clients, directions from higher levels? Or is it the technology of your business, whether machines, computers, phones etc? Whenever I hear managers talk about their own issues, they are 90% people oriented. So however high your IQ is, it will be EQ and your emotional resilience that will lead you to operate well under pressure, to solving issues, improving your ability to listen and communicate and developing healthy interpersonal relationships. The path to being an outstanding leader of others starts with you. Everyone can be resilient.
Going Beyond Techniques
How is your emotional resilience? How you really fare under pressure is a measure of how you handle emotionally charged situations. You can read books and articles that give you the how to’s of managing yourself. These are often accompanied with mental techniques and carefully constructed advice which may or may not work for you, or it’s simply temporary until the next event. For some people they say that they manage their stress by exercise – running, the gym,
meditation etc. and of course a healthy diet. Yet so many managers say they eat at their desk, grab what’s easiest to eat, drink too much coffee and run out of time to exercise especially coupling this with long work hours. It’s so easy to have excuses for the choices we make and just not enough ‘me’ time.
It's All About 'State of Being'
Techniques require a ‘doing’ which in stressful situations are at best effortful, or seem like very hard work. As a leader, raising your consciousness of how you are creating your experience of life goes to the heart of the matter. Every human being has access to a magic source – a deeper intelligence called wisdom or innate health. If we give ourselves permission to just stop thinking for a moment and say ‘I don’t know what the answer is,’ a new thought has the chance to appear. Being calm in our thinking whilst under pressure is available to all and hence the importance of understanding how we think.
This is why the bottom line is that no matter where someone is, or what they are doing, their struggles are merely a reflection of the degree that their head is filled with thought at that particular moment. Anytime they add more thinking—and all deliberate mental techniques require thinking—people are likely to struggle even more. If they forego the mental strategy (and avoid adding more unnecessary thought), their head will empty, insights arise, and they will feel amazingly better. All human beings, are designed to find clarity without effort.
Judging Self and Others
There are many things to be judgemental about whether it is ourselves or others. If you are tough on yourself, you are likely to be tough on others. I’m not suggesting being complacent is OK. Compassion has an important role in EQ. No one is perfect, yet many people describe themselves as perfectionists. There is a difference between excellence and perfection. The former feels effortless and perfection is effortful because nothing is ever good enough. My Father used to say; “Perfection is neither possible nor desirable”. If it were there would be nothing to be improved upon. Perfection is finite. As human beings we thrive by continuing to learn and grow from both what we achieve and the mistakes we make.
Life is a journey into the unknown and so is being a leader. How you handle all the situations that you may or may not have control over will depend on your ability to recognise your feelings in that moment, and how you are thinking about whatever it is. As you detach yourself emotionally, insights will reveal what to do. Listen for those insights – they come with a clear calm state of mind.
“The quality of your thinking is more important than the quantity of your thinking”
Garret Kramer’s Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life offers a revolutionary explanation for this predicament and provides a basic, yet dynamic, approach for the future. In a fluent manner, Garret reveals the innate principles behind both creativity and consistent achievement. Stillpower highlights the misalignment between the experiences of all performers and the strategies of the coaches, psychologists, and experts who are hoping to help them.
Stillpower uses real-life examples to explore such questions as: What is “the zone,” and what must we do (or not do) to get there? Why do we need to understand the difference between insight and intellect? Is goal setting really useful? Why doesn’t willpower work? And why do the best mentors focus on a person’s state of mind and not behavior?