Balancing IQ and EQ

May 2013

I love going for long bike rides this time of year.  As the weather improves, I take my bicycle out of storage and get it rolling once more. I think more clearly on that bike, enjoy nature breezing by me. I have time to contemplate personal, professional and community matters and strengthen my body at the same time.  Riding my bicycle reminds me of the importance of balance, simplicity, time for reflection, and offers a helpful metaphor I will share in this month’s blog.  What follows is an idea presented by Lisa Griebel, EQ expert and trainer, at a workshop I attended last month.

Think of the back wheel of the bicycle as your IQ, the driver of decisions that comes from your native intelligence and logic.  The front wheel represents your EQ, your emotional intelligence.  That front wheel guides your interpersonal interactions less from pure logic, and more from finesse, patience and attunement to others.  When communications are flowing well, the logic that emerges from your IQ is channeled through the interpersonal filter of your EQ.  While this might appear to be common sense, during times of stress this can easily become uncommon practice.  Job transition, employment interviews and networking sessions can represent times of significant stress.  Is it time for you to slow down and think more now about this balanced approach?  If you are in, or anticipating, a job transition or transformation and likely have some upcoming networking and interviewing meetings, I suggest you take some time now to consider this balanced approach.

If you are familiar with how golf carts operate, you might think of EQ as the governor that automatically slows down the speed, direction and energy (IQ) that the cart has built up so that it can be steered more safely and accurately (EQ) through the hills and curves ahead. Are the wheels of your IQ/EQ  bike in balance, of similar size and significance?  Are each creating a smooth ride, or are you out of sync?

I frequently conduct mock job interviews with my clients and too often notice that their lips are moving, their brain is fully engaged, but the rest of their face and body, and especially their emotional tone and connections with me the interviewer, are out of sync.  Choosing the right words and applying the right logic are too often the exclusive priorities, not the all important focus on connecting with the person across the desk. I will play back the tape, and suggest that if this was a written transcript, they might not be doing too badly.  But seeing the video clip often reveals to both of us how poorly aligned their head (IQ) and their physical, interpersonal and vocal attunement with me (EQ) are.  If this was a song they were singing, you could say that the words (IQ) and the music (EQ) simply did not come together.  The feeling of “fit” then becomes too hard to imagine, and the opportunity is likely lost.

So how does one build up the EQ sensitivity, and balance those wheels for a better conversational flow, better impression, better chemistry?  It starts with awareness, and tends to work best when you are so smart about it.  These two words “so smart” are actually an acronym memory aid that can be used to describe what emotional intelligence looks like.  In a future blog entry I’ll get into greater detail about what it means to be “so smart” in networking and interviewing.  Here is a teaser.  High EQ (so smart) includes:
Self Observation
Self Management
Relationship Traction.

More on that in the upcoming blog.  For now, start thinking about how smart you are in both IQ and EQ.  Go for a ride on that IQ/EQ bike of yours, and remember to keep the wheels balanced and true!