Emotional quotient, or EQ, is the more well-known intelligence quotient (IQ), which measures a person’s aptitude in a particular skill set. EQ is the measure of a person’s ability to emotionally connect with others.
Like IQ, this skill is highly important in the business world, even within the notoriously left-brained
technology sector. IT specialists, data analysts, and software developers can all benefit from successful emotional engagement. For example, IT specialists must be able to communicate well with clients and understand their computer and network challenges. Similarly, software developers must be able to discern their clients’ software needs.
Psychology Today defines EQ as “the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others” and to apply emotions to thinking and problem solving. Tech firms that understand this skill benefit from more engaged employees, resulting in human-resource-based cost savings, and more satisfied customers, resulting in increased revenue.
Every work situation produces emotions in the people involved. How those people choose to deal with their emotions determine their success in the situation. For example, a software development manager might offer constructive criticism to a developer with low EQ. Though the manager meant to help the developer do a better job the next time around, the developer may take the criticism personally.
That response could lead to resentment of the manager, resistance to the manager’s useful input, and, ultimately, poorer performance over time. This chain of events, if replicated across the company, could lead to a decline in quality that hurts its reputation and bottom line.
Conversely, a developer with high EQ will take the criticism as it’s meant, incorporate it into their work, and continue to improve over time. A company filled with high-EQ individuals will strive to do better, even if it means admitting imperfection along the way.
Companies have a lot to gain from high-EQ leaders as well. For people who need to make both large strategic decisions and small day-to-day ones, allowing emotions to cloud their judgment just gets in the way. For example, consider a CEO faced with a company whose sales are declining due to increased competition.
The CEO may have tried everything they could think of to turn the situation around: increased marketing, faster product output, and cutting costs. The only option to keep the company afloat is to eliminate a department that’s no longer competitive. The CEO knows this is the best move for the company yet is hesitating to take the action because they feel terrible about lost jobs. Yet, the longer they wait, the more trouble the company gets into.
A high-EQ CEO would acknowledge their sorrow at laying people off as well as the understandably strong negative emotions exhibited by laid-off workers. They would still go ahead with the department closure, though, realizing it’s the most appropriate action for the company’s long-term success.
Salespeople who have authentic emotional connections with prospects are likely to close more sales. Consider a new salesperson for an IT services company that specializes in nonprofit clients. Nonprofits have different concerns than for-profit companies and a salesperson with low EQ might not pick up on these concerns or the emotional cues of an executive director who truly cares about those served by the agency.
A high-EQ salesperson, on the other hand, is more likely to grasp the emotional nuances related to the need to maintain client privacy, use up-to-date applications, and keep overhead costs low. Such a salesperson will also be willing to admit when they don’t know something and show genuine concern about the operations of each agency.
Better Customer Care
Customer care representatives at tech companies may have the best opportunities to improve their EQ. When dealing with irate customers, reps must have many tools in their toolbelt to solve the problem without taking on callers’ emotions. They include empathetic listening, assuring the customer the issue will be resolved, making a genuine effort to solve the initial complaint, and inviting the customer to call back again any time.
These habits can make the difference between service centers known for dealing with every problem and those that only create additional customer issues. Note that not only can call center agents offer a good customer care experience or a bad one based on just one call. They can also get customers to become loyal buyers or tell others about their positive experience.
Obviously, some individuals have a higher EQ than others, just as some have higher IQs. But EQ is a skill that can be improved. Certification training provider Simplilearn recommends that professionals reflect on their emotions, ask others for perspective on challenging situations, think before speaking, try to understand other people’s “why,” and choose to learn from criticism.
Likewise, tech companies can develop more of an EQ culture by ensuring leaders set a good example, including EQ-based techniques in training, and offering EQ-specific courses or workshops to employees.