A ladder called intelligence

April 13, 2020

The term Intelligenzquotient (IQ) also known in English as Intelligence Quotient was first used in 1912 by German psychologist William Stern. Simply defined, IQ is a test of intelligence that is designed to reveal the individual’s capacity to reason and to solve problems. It is not the intention of this write-up to go into technical details about how IQ is measured.

Suffice it to say that an individual’s IQ is a number arrived at by dividing the individual’s mental age by his chronological age and multiplying the result by 100. So, a six-year old with the mental acuity of a nine-year old can be said to have an IQ of 130 or of above average intelligence.

Many Ivy League educational institutions and some corporate establishments conduct IQ tests for their new intakes or employees in order to determine their mental capacity for handling the intellectual requirements of rigorous scholarship or particular demands of function. Graduates of such Ivy League institutions are considered appropriately mentally equipped to handle certain levels of professional responsibility that require above average intelligence. For this reason, they are likely to land well-paying jobs that mainly reward paper qualifications and hard skills. People with very high IQ are generally seen as eggheads or in contemporary – though somewhat derogatory – parlance, nerds, who are more content sitting behind a desk reading a book or cracking their brains to solve some technical/knowledge problem or the other than to actually be in the face of people enough to build strong, relationship bonds. The average ‘nerd’ prefers his own company to the company of other people. They make excellent fits in the Research and Development departments of an organization where they can continually conduct research on the development of new products and the reengineering of existing processes, or in the academia where they can publish as many academic papers as are required to make them become professors. When you try to take such people out of such environments, they feel like fish out of water. Because of their predisposition to working largely alone, they are generally not great team leaders or players. They thrive best in an atmosphere that provides them with mental stimulation and opportunity for intellectual discourse. They don’t suffer fools gladly and cannot see why everybody should not be at their level of idealism or ‘perfection and knowledge’.

Consequently, they can be very intolerant of people that they believe are not so intelligent. Their relationship with others is usually very perfunctory and to say the least, mechanistic. Someone with a high IQ prides himself on knowledge and performance. The downside of this is that even though they are very brilliant, they hardly rise to the peak of the corporate ladder, and in spite of their brilliance, can hardly win any election! Unless of course they have been able to incorporate a significant level of emotional intelligence into their function. This is largely because successful enterprise is about people.

Emotional Intelligence is a term generally used to describe Emotional Quotient. While IQ deals largely with mental or academic intelligence which is anchored on what a person knows or can do, EQ focuses on the individual’s capacity to get along well with others, whether at home, school or work, or even the larger society. It entails the ability to master one’s emotions and to use that capacity to connect emotionally with others. It begins with self-awareness. This capacity to master his emotions motivates the individual to show greater understanding or empathy towards others. The corollary of this is a manifestation of social skills that build bridges of relationship and trust across board. His consciousness of the importance of bridge-building makes him to constantly self-censor as a way of regulating his own public conduct because he realizes that more often than not, the eyes of his public are on him.  While the major working materials for someone with a high IQ may be statistics, machines, tools, documents, systems, structure and charts which he interprets with uncanny ease, the primary material for someone with a high Emotional Intelligence is people! EQ is primarily relational and attitudinal. A natural conversationalist and avid networker, he makes friends and wins people’s confidence anywhere he shows up. Unlike the ‘nerd’, striking up a conversation comes with the terrain for the person with a high emotional intelligence.

While IQ is about hard skills that enhance performance, EQ deals with the soft skills that enhance leadership capacity. IQ may advance a person’s career but without EQ, getting to the top of the corporate ladder may be a herculean task.

The person with a high EQ has a chin-up attitude and takes genuine interest in people in a way that makes them open up to him and feel relaxed around him. No matter his level of function in the organization, he exerts great influence on others in the system. This ramps up confidence-building and networking capacity that makes him a natural leader and great team player.

Emotionally intelligent leaders may not have the intellectual or technical knowledge to get certain things done, but they have the capacity to rally others who are more competent to get those things done. It is not surprising therefore that they sometimes start their own business or make their way up the corporate ladder faster even with an average IQ. In the corporate world, a people-person with minimum IQ will always lead the organization more effectively than someone who is very brilliant but lacks people-skills. A leader with an emotional intelligence gap needs to do everything within his power to acquire people skills because it takes people, not gadgets or figures to successfully run an organization. People-skilled leadership has the capacity to impregnate their people – through great communication – with the vision of the desired destination. This enhances the decision-making process in the organization. Followers who feel comfortable with a leader and buy into the vision are more forthcoming with suggestions and needed strategic inputs than those who have little or no emotional connection with their leader. People dedicate themselves to whoever and wherever they feel that their contribution is valued. This leads to increased loyalty and reduced staff turnover, factors that guarantee sustainability in the organization. Working in what they consider a conducive environment generally gives people a sense of well-being that enables them to function at optimum levels and with a positive attitude. Without knowing it or being deliberate about it, the system is producing more leaders who simply flow in the spirit of their environment of function. Enhanced personal leadership will automatically produce great teamwork in delivering desired outcomes. These results are achieved with minimum occupational stress because everyone comes to work fired up and eager to be part of something bigger than themselves!

To be truly successful, every leader must seek to have a blend of the two as essential legs for their climb to the top; for the simple reason that if you get one foot in the door, you need the other to keep it open. If one gets you on the corporate ladder, you will need the other to make it to the top and stay there!

Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!

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