Smart and Fast Are Not Enough: The Need for Better EQ

Smart and Fast Are Not Enough: The Need for Better EQ
What is EQ?  Why is EQ the foundation for effective leadership, management, teambuilding and personal development? Do you have the EQ skills you need? Read this post and find out!

© Irene Becker, Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™| Reach-Resonance-Results
Helping smart people and organizations lead forward smarter, faster and happier.
Leadership, Communication and Career Solutions with a 3Q Edge™ 



Far more than your intellectual potential (IQ), your emotional quotient (EQ) predicts your success. In a study of workers at all levels, the single most important factor that distinguished star performers was EQ, as Daniel Goleman reports in Working with Emotional Intelligence. Of all the strengths required for excellence, 67% are emotional competencies.

Emotional intelligence is a set of abilities that helps you manage your emotions and relate to others. Stress tolerance, leadership, communication, collaboration, social responsibility, problem solving, creativity, and self-actualization all require high EQ.

With appropriate education and training, you can develop EQ throughout your life. One of the best ways to improve your EQ competencies is to find a coach whose practice is EQ focused, because the learning is in the doing.

To better understand the power of EQ, let’s look at how our brains are constructed.

Your Brain is Built to Be Emotionally Intelligent

The oldest part of our brain is the reptilian brain. It controls very rudimentary things—breathing, swallowing, heartbeat, the visual tracking system a frog uses to snap up flies, or the startle reflex that human infants are born with.

The next part of the brain to evolve was the limbic brain. The limbic brain can be expressive and intuitive, but it doesn’t reason, isn’t logical, and doesn’t respond to our will. It’s pivotal to human functioning because it’s what makes our relationships possible. It’s this part of our brain that leads us to desire companionship and bond with others.

The functions of the reptilian and limbic brains are involuntary. While what you do with your feelings is under your control, the actual emotions you feel are not. The reptilian and limbic brains won’t take orders. Rather, they work to send you signals about your feelings so you can tune into these signals and stay safe.

The single most important factor that distinguished star performers was EQ.

Just because you feel something, of course, doesn’t mean it’s beneficial to act on it. The ability to control your actions in the face of strong emotions is created in the third and largest part of the brain, the neo-cortex. Neo means “new,” and the neo-cortex is the most recently evolved part of the brain. It’s the seat of your thinking, logic, and reasoning.

It can modulate feelings and integrate them, and it can talk about them. To solve problems, you need the reptilian brain, limbic system, and neo-cortex to work together. Making good decisions means engaging emotional intelligence, and that demands getting in touch with your feelings and using your whole brain.

The ability to model empathy is the best way to motivate others.

It’s the human ability to align instincts, emotions, and thoughts that gives you the capacity to increase your emotional intelligence. And it’s the ability to use the changes, challenges, and even crucibles you face to develop self-awareness that can help you lead better, communicate better, and succeed in your life and career.

Do You Have What It Takes?

Here’s a list of the major EQ competencies that make up a fully integrated personality. Ask yourself the questions that follow to see if you have these essential traits:

Emotional self-awareness: Do you notice your feelings and attribute them properly?

Emotional expression: Are you able to express your feelings and gut-level instincts?

Emotional awareness of others: Can you intuit what others may be feeling from their words, body language, or other clues?

Creativity: Do you tap into resources to help you envision new ideas, frame alternative solutions, and find effective ways of doing things?

Resilience: Do you bounce back and retain curiosity and hope in the face of adversity, change, and challenge?

Interpersonal connections: Have you formed a network of people with whom you can be your real and whole self?

Of all the strengths required for excellence, 67% are emotional competencies.

Constructive discontent: Do you stay calm, focused, and emotionally grounded during disagreements and conflict?

Optimism: Do you keep a positive outlook?

Empathy: Do you appreciate and honour others’ feelings?

Intuition: Do you notice, trust, and use your hunches, gut-level reactions, and other non-cognitive responses produced by the senses, emotions, mind, and body?

Intentionality: Do you say what you mean and mean what you say? Are you willing to forgo distraction and temptations in order to be responsible for your actions?

Trust radius: Do you believe people are “good” until proven otherwise while at the same time not trusting in a naive way?

Personal power: Do you believe you can meet challenges and live the life you choose?

EQ’s role in your organization

Here are some of the ways EQ can help you manage, lead, and connect with people in your organization:

EQ is a powerful way to read people, understand them, and use what they’re feeling to move past conflict.

Communication demands high EQ. While we know that 90% of communication is non-verbal, we’re often so focused on the facts that we forget the feelings. Emotion is what non-verbal communication is made of.

Increasing your EQ will help you lessen stress, develop better strategies, and establish successful collaborations.

It takes EQ skills to understand people’s different perspectives, win people to your side, and help them contribute to the greatest extent possible.

We like to think we’re rational beings, but most decisions are made on the basis of how we feel about the facts we’ve uncovered. Emotions, not facts, move people. Hence, you need to use the challenges at hand to understand what really matters to people, how they need to be validated, what they really want.

When you help others in your organization increase their EQ, they’ll be better able to adapt to change and embrace creative solutions.

“Motivation” and “emotion” come from the same root, and both are contagious. The ability to model empathy (an EQ competency) is the best way to motivate others.

In a world of unprecedented change and challenge, your EQ will help you build the leadership, communication, and collaboration needed to lead a better life, build a better organization, and contribute to a better world.


I am committed to helping smart people and organizations use changes and challenges to optimize and catalyze their potential to communicate & LEAD FORWARD.  Use changes and challenges to improve communication, management, leadership…career success?  Yes!
Helping my clients build their 3Q Edge™ and develop the R-E-A-C-H™ that helps them lead forward smarter, faster and happier is what I do best!


Irene HeadshotIrene Becker | Just Coach It-The 3Q Edge™ | Reach-Resonance-Results
Executive Coaching, Consulting, Training and Keynotes with a 3Q Edge™ 

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