I have been specializing in the subject of emotional intelligence for nearly 20 years now so we thought it would be fun to share some of the most frequently asked questions, we hear from people on the topic. Just as a quick point of reference, you can learn more about the subject of EQ in this short 3-minute video.
1. Do women have a higher EQ than men?
Surprising to many people, the answer is no. Women and men have the same amount of overall emotional intelligence. The EQ competency is made up of several skills and within the skills, men tend to have higher levels in some, but women have higher levels in others so they average out to roughly the same.
2. Can you really learn these skills or are you born with them?
This is the best news about emotional intelligence. It can be learned because it is a mix of genetics (nature) combined with experience (nurture). How much EQ you can learn is individual to you - some people can increase quite a lot and some only a little.
3. How do I deal with a boss who has no EQ and is clueless about it?
Sadly, this is probably the most common question I get asked. For tips on how to best deal with this situation, check out this article on "How to Use Your EQ with a Boss Who Has None." Self-awareness is the foundation of EQ and we all struggle with knowing how we come across to others, especially with our direct reports. And, giving feedback to your boss can be tough but many of the executives we work with that have little EQ respond well to someone who occasionally challenges them in a professional and appropriate way.
4. Why does having EQ matter?
For many years, emotional intelligence skills have been labeled as "soft skills", "people skills" or "nice-to-haves." Only recently has research documented the real power EQ holds over getting business results. You can find some business case examples of how EQ leads to higher income, better performance for teams and higher engagement in employees.
5. What is the best way to develop more EQ?
There are many ways to develop emotional intelligence, and the method that leads to the most permanent results is via coaching. Hiring an executive coach can help you identify your unique combination of strengths and weaknesses and ways to balance them to leverage the best of you to reach your professional and personal goals. There are also many self-paced resources available from books to webinars.
6. Can EQ be tested?
Yes. There are several validated instruments on the market. We provide the EQi 2.0 as a self-only online assessment tool best used for pre-employment testing, personal development or individual contributors. This comes with a 60-minute personal debrief session and costs $300 each. We also offer the ESCI from the Hay Group or the EQi 360° by MHS. These are multi-rater (360°) online assessments best used for leaders at all levels. They both come with a personal debrief session and cost $600 each. To learn more about all of the assessments we offer or to view sample reports click here.
7. Is your EQ level set at a certain age like IQ, or does it change as you mature?
Unlike IQ which is set at about 18 years old, EQ continues to develop as you mature, with a peak at about age 60.
8. Can developing EQ help me at work and at home too?
Yes, we at our firm focus on the ways to use emotional intelligence to be better professionals but there are also some significant personal benefits to increasing your EQ. Most people report increased satisfaction with friendships, family and spouses. And people with high EQ are also happier.