A high IQ certainly won't hurt you as the owner of a remodeling company. But how often does your business require you to complete number sequences or figure out which word doesn't fit in with all the others?
The problems you run into day in and day out are of a different nature, and to solve them, you have to deal with other people. That's where emotional intelligence (EQ) comes in.
Dr. William Sparks, assistant professor of management science at the McColl Graduate School of Business at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C., says that EQ "refers to your ability to recognize and regulate your emotions and the emotions of others to achieve positive outcomes."
Sparks says that there are four general domains of EQ, two dealing with how you relate to yourself, and two dealing with how you relate to others.
Self-awareness. People with good self-awareness recognize their emotional strengths and weaknesses and manage them appropriately. Postponing a meeting when you are angry or otherwise distracted is an example of this skill.
Self management. In addition to being aware of your emotional state, you also need to be in control of it. This includes being flexible and patient with clients who are constantly changing their minds.
Social awareness. This domain refers to empathy. Aptitude here means that you put yourself in other people's shoes and actively listen to and address their concerns.
Relationship management. This is the confluence of all the other skills, used to connect with others positively. This includes persuading and influencing others, building trust, and managing conflict effectively.
According to Sparks -- who has a doctorate in organizational behavior and development and has done extensive research on emotional intelligence -- we all have tendencies, either innate or learned, to behave in a certain way. Putting EQ to work means recognizing those behaviors and what triggers them and then harnessing emotions instead of acting on them immediately. In a professional context, a remodeler with good EQ will keep himself from chewing out difficult clients (even when he has a right to) because of the negative consequences -- say, the loss of future business -- that may result.
There are ways to measure EQ, but the most important thing, according to Sparks, is to be aware that it does exist. From there, you can begin to evaluate your own deficiencies and learn to manage your emotions.