IQ + EQ = Higher Performance  



Kathy Lavinder
Owner and Executive Director of Security & Investigative Placement Consultants

What does it take for individuals and teams to perform at the highest levels? Increasingly, researchers and business leaders have found that technical abilities and intelligence (or IQ) are only part of the equation. When IQ is combined with emotional intelligence (EQ) individuals and teams can achieve increased performance. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand your own emotions, their impact on others and the capacity to alter your behavior accordingly.


The five core components of EQ are self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill:

To evaluate your EQ, ask for honest feedback from a trusted colleague or supervisor. Make a conscious effort to develop the traits you lack. Likewise, teams must be aware of and constructively regulate the emotions of individuals, the team and other key stakeholders.

For an organization to tap into the power of EQ, norms should be set and good behavior rewarded. Setting an example from the top is the best way to ensure this environment is sustained. Leaders that are optimistic and inspirational can motivate employees to take on the toughest challenges and perform against all odds.

Organizations should also protect the culture or environment that good EQ builds. EQ should factor into hiring. Finding out too late that someone is not the right fit due to a lack of EQ can be costly. Hiring managers can ask questions like the ones below to evaluate a candidate’s EQ:

  • Tell me about a time you had to resolve a conflict with a co-worker or supervisor.  
  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with an ethical dilemma at work.
  • Tell me about a time you had to resolve a conflict among your team.

Ask candidates follow-up questions to avoid canned responses. Let candidates know you will call references including former co-workers and supervisors. Knowing their answers will be checked encourages a candidate to give an honest assessment of their own skills and team performance. References are a key source of EQ candidate data that many employers fail to use.

To take advantage of the boost in performance that EQ can provide your organization, continually take stock of the EQ traits in employees, provide training that helps improve EQ skills, and make efforts to hire and retain that talent.