How high is your EQ?

By Hannah Wallace December 31, 2005

You may have graduated summa cum laude from Harvard, but can you empathize with a co-worker when he breaks down before a deadline, understand why your boss lost her temper, or control yourself when a subordinate mouths off? If not, you may not have what it takes to be a truly good manager. Having a high EQ-the capacity to recognize feelings and motivations in ourselves and others-can be one of the most important factors in good leadership, says Larry Face, business-development coach and owner of Sarasota-based Next Level Achievement.

"Emotional intelligence is a set of abilities that create and improve the skills of managing ourselves and relating with and influencing others," says Face, a former Marine with 30 years of experience as a public speaker, entrepreneur and teacher. "The first rule of great leadership is that in order for us to lead others, we must first clearly understand ourselves and what motivates us."

High EQ may not have been as necessary 30 years ago in a hierarchical manufacturing economy, when people performed one task at one job until retirement. Joy and fulfillment weren't considered as important as they are in today's service-oriented economy, where people work in more flexible, team-oriented environments. Today, people look to leaders in the workplace who make them feel valuable and motivated, and leaders rich in EQ often do a much better job of creating such an atmosphere, thus retaining employees and improving output. In fact, women, who traditionally are more empathetic, collaborative and intuitive, often do better in EQ tests, says Face.

High EQ has four components, says Face, the first being self-awareness. "This is the ability to recognize the causes and effects of your own feelings as well as your reactions to other people's feelings," he says.

He cites the example of an ambitious young man who aims to own his own company. Decades later when he has achieved his goal, he finds himself unhappy because although he has had business success, he no longer knows his now college-bound children. This is why Face's clients write a mission statement that includes their top five personal values and top five needs. If the man in the example had understood that time with his family was one of his five needs, he may have channeled his energies differently.

The second component is self-management, the ability to be in control of your emotions. "It includes being adaptable and optimistic, even in the face of life's setbacks and upsets, and is a key to building relationships," says Face.

The third component is social awareness, the ability to build genuine relationships with others, be empathetic and a good listener, helping you to accept and respect individuals even when you're in disagreement with them. And the final piece is relationship management, the ability to manage interactions with others in a constructive and positive way-the ability to inspire and influence people, manage conflict, be a catalyst for change, help others develop professionally and personally, and build trust into your relationships, says Face.

EQ can be assessed and EQ skills can be developed and improved. Face has an arsenal of tools, such as helping clients recognize self-defeating attitudes and behaviors, and teaching them to write gratitude journals, in which they have to create an intention for the day, acknowledge something good they have done, and express appreciation in others. He also helps clients "reframe" scenarios, teaching them to reinterpret situations in the best light and understand that their first, and often negative, conclusions may have been wrong. (The person who turned you down for a date may have done so because they had other plans, not because of a deficiency on your part.)

One woman came to Face because she could no longer deal with the constant phone calls from her boss, who she felt was manipulative and tough. Face helped the woman discover that fear of failure was the root of her problem. After coaching, she now looks forward to work, calls her boss three times a week and has had excellent performance reviews.

"Being a great manager or leader today is no different from being a great parent," says Face. "It's much more difficult today to be a parent than in the past. Today's children are more aware of what they can expect as a child and grow up expecting to be respected."

For more information, visit or call (941) 953-7737


Rate your EQ by giving yourself a score from one to five, one being "don't agree" and five being "strongly agree," on the following statements from a sample EQ assessment by Larry Face. The higher you score, the more likely you'll be a good manager. For the best results, ask close family members or co-workers to answer these same questions about you, since they're often a better mirror for your own strengths and weaknesses.

    I recognize both my strengths and my limitations.

    I am flexible and competent in coping with change.

    I am sensitive to others people's emotions and feelings.

    I help other people stay motivated.

    I am open to feedback from others about my performance.

    I am passionate about my mission.

    When giving feedback to others, I make sure it is given in a positive, constructive manner.

    I am able to adapt my communication and listening styles to meet the needs of others.

    I have great self-confidence that others can see.

    I handle stress in positive, constructive ways.


Check out some of the most common self-defeating attitudes and behaviors and see if you've fallen into the trap.

Bad Attitudes

Uniqueness: Symptoms include comparing yourself to others and making excuses.

Perfectionism: Symptoms include not wanting to give yourself credit, feeling unqualified, not wanting to look bad in front of others, and harsh criticism and judgment of others.

Fear of living life: Symptoms include fear of commitment, fear of rejection, fear of looking bad, and a need to be in control.

Focusing on negatives: Symptoms include suspicion of others, losing faith and lack of motivation.

Unworthiness: Symptoms include jealousy, defensiveness, giving up too soon and feeling uncomfortable with success.

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