Today’s workplace belongs to Book Smarts or Street Smarts?
It is an
interesting debate, and one can find enumerable literature discussing the relevance and role IQ and EQ have to play in determining one’s success. However, would it be appropriate to say that
one is more important in today’s world of
uncertainty and ambiguity?
The genesis of this debate lies in Daniel Goleman’s
book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. The
theory caught attention and gained acceptance as it was able to justify why
some individuals with lower IQ were professionally more successful in comparison
to individuals with higher IQ level.
However, the irony is that Daniel argument was that
emotional and social skills give people an advantage in a realm where such
abilities make the most difference. Organisations found this theory very
relevant in differentiating employees with similar educational backgrounds
competing for growth. Relevant evidence to support this would be acceptance of
bell curve and fast-track career plans as effective HR interventions to retain
and manage talent within the organization.
realities have evolved significantly in last few years, and the factors seen to
make a disproportionate difference in the fortunes of the organization are the
softer elements like agility, dealing with ambiguity and managing change which
are not easy to quantify or replicate. The organizational leadership and
culture have a critical role to play as organizations have become networked,
boundaryless, flat and lean, indicating a visible shift in the ways of working
and, and how power dynamics are determined. Today leaders authority and ability
to influence others are not determined by seniority/ level but by how swiftly
one can gauge and manage the changing priorities within the context of how
people react/ would respond to these changes.
While, we discussed an organizational dimension
focusing on culture, leadership, and talent, there is an equally important
dimension and focuses on its ability to anticipate the changes which would determine
its future relevance in the marketplace The success of this dimension largely
depends on the cognitive and technical capability of the organization and can
be attributed to the IQ intelligence of its employees.
Organisations today are investing a significant
amount of resources and money in hiring the right technical capabilities and up-skilling employees to remain relevant and a step ahead of their
competition. Organisations are a part of
recruitment and assessment process leverage tools that ensure fitment of the job role with the
inherent interests areas of an employee.
Well, one can argue both ways, but both cognitive and
emotional abilities play a complimenting role to determine the results.
A high IQ does
give one an edge to analyze & synthesize
data and identify solutions, but it is EQ which helps to determine the best
approach to deliver the identified
solution.The approach chosen could vary depending on numerous factors like organizational culture, work dynamics, people involved and motives for engagement.
Would you be
headed in the right direction if your leader is a great orator but lacks
strategic perspective and insights to drive the right
agenda? History has many examples where
the right purpose coupled with the wrong approach has led to failure.
IQ & EQ – both
complement each other
The question today is not about IQ or EQ? It is also
not about which is more important and relevant? The real question is how effective
a leader is in understanding the context and being able to leverage
his/her IQ, EQ or both as the situation demands
to drive people/team or organization towards the aligned goal.
Is management an
art or science? It is an age-old debate which now often gets concluded by saying management is both
science and art at the same time. I find this debate
quite relevant to the topic of EQ and IQ. If I had to draw a parallel EQ would represent art dimension and IQ would
represent the scientific dimension in an individual.
Both EQ and IQ will play an important role for an
individual or a leader to be effective and successful. However, the relevance
of IQ and EQ would differ based on the context/ need of the situation and would
need balanced interplay of EQ and IQ dimensions to ensure desired
I would like to leave you with a question that might
help you put this debate to rest … Would Virat Kohli be a great captain if he
was not a good cricketer or the other way around?