NEW TRENDS IN HUMAN RESOURCES FROM
We used to believe that a high IQ, by definition, results in a successful career. That is not the case anymore—now a high IQ can be regarded as a social challenge. These days, we focus on emotional intelligence (EQ) instead. Companies are increasingly hiring people with emphatic abilities, intuition, self-knowledge, and social skills. —Soulaima Gourani
You only need go back a few years to stumble upon the belief that you can equate a person’s average grades with the size of his or her future paycheck. However, times have changed, and we are moving away from the notion that a high IQ necessarily leads to a successful career—which is not the case nowadays. People—consumers as well as colleagues—have become more critical and are looking for the authentic and meaningful, and something or someone they can trust. This trend will continue to grow as the world becomes more and more complex and impossible to grasp. Trust is the most important prerequisite for growth in all companies and organizations. However, trust is very hard to build and very easy to lose. A serious company or business executive should develop their ability to build trust. It should be a top priority in their strategy agenda. Everybody should ask themselves, how can the company and its employees build a strong and trustworthy image? Renowned political scientist Francis Fukuyama and Nobel Prize awardee Gary Becker confirm that societies, leaders, and companies that are able to build the highest level of trust deliver the best results in a long-term perspective. This is also the case for individuals—you! Do people trust or mistrust you? Do you get many referrals, or do people get warned against you? This is important for you to know.
Life is not necessarily fair Who will become successful? Today it is not necessarily the cleverest student who is the most successful (measured on traditional factors such as salary and job position). Life is not fair and does not necessarily favor the most hardworking or the cleverest person. Increasingly, it is not the cleverest person who does best at all. The focus is now changing from IQ to EQ. EQ means a person’s combined ability and motivation to understand other people and the ability to be part of relationships. We live in a relationship-based society, unlike before, where having the right relationships and contacts was reserved for the few. Now, everybody can build a powerful platform. However, you have to inspire confidence in people to be able to build this platform. Are you skeptical? The other day, my good, critical colleague wrote to me after he read my arguments about IQ being replaced by EQ as the most sought-after competence: “I agree that EQ in many ways is more important than IQ because a person with a super high IQ is of little use if he/she is unable to work together with other people due to a low EQ. However, I do believe that requirements differ depending on the specific job function. For example, I know a technician who works for Nokia, and he definitely has some problems with his EQ, but he scores VERY high on IQ, and in his job function, the company can accept that he is a bit ‘difficult’ because he is capable of quickly solving very complex technical problems. It
would probably not hurt if his EQ was higher, but I have to say that it could be interesting to investigate if there is a connection between IQ and EQ in the sense that if you have an IQ higher than X, then you will not be able to have an EQ higher than Y. In my experience, people with a very high IQ always seem to have some serious problems when it comes to the emotional aspects of work and life, so perhaps there is a connection.” I could not agree more! What do you think?
Trust is the new black Trust is the new black—and it is here to stay. To inspire confidence, you have to get involved in dialogues and pay attention to the way you are perceived in social contexts. That we live in a so-called networked society is old news, meaning we are dependent on relationships in achieving our individual and organizational goals. Your ability to build trusting relationships with people who are loyal to you is a prerequisite for getting access to contacts, contracts, inspiration, influence, and information. Increasingly, companies are casting their employees based on the criteria that they must be individuals whom other people can remember and trust because it is good for business. Your professional competences and current knowledge are no longer decisive factors. How and through whom you or your employees upgrade their knowledge is interesting for your manager and your company to know. This is new fact in our networked knowledge society. We are dependent on relationships in getting the results we aspire to as individuals and organizations. As a knowledge worker, it is a prerequisite that you know what you know and what you do not. After reading Soeren Harnov’s report on our networked knowledge society, I got inspired that I decided to present some of his points together with my thoughts. Since the 1990s, many scientists and thinkers have tried to explain what it means to be part of a knowledge society. In a nutshell, the hallmark of the time we live in today is that, unlike in other times, you cannot master all the aspects of your job because the world is complex and the contexts that you operate in are becoming more and more diffuse. According to Harnov, we are in the middle of a phase where the focus is on a “new” kind of capitalism referred to as knowledge capitalism. The challenge is to understand it and live in it.
Your knowledge is ephemeral We live in a time characterized by vast amounts of information and a high demand for knowledge. The concept of knowledge defines something intangible, and it is difficult for you and other people to determine whether you are the most competent in your field. Knowledge is too complex. Generally, the key to becoming part the knowledge society is understanding that knowledge has become much more important than ever before to an individual’s success, a company’s competitiveness, and the nation’s welfare. Knowledge is the most important means of handling the increasing complexity and the rapid change that characterize our society. What good does your high IQ do if nobody knows what it is that you know? The trend is to share your knowledge through articles, blogs, lectures, social media, etc., so that people will find out what you know and what skills you have. He who lives in quiet does not live well! These days, you have to think long and hard about how you can communicate to the world about your skills. Knowledge has always been and will remain in great demand. Before, you could hold on to your knowledge and be rewarded as a specialist. Nowadays, we avoid working with people who keep their knowledge to themselves. Employing people who do not generously share their knowledge is too expensive and risky. The reality
is, knowledge is only valuable when shared. Also, certain types of knowledge are characterized by an uncertain shelf life. It is virtually impossible to predict exactly when specific types of knowledge will become worthless, but they are bound to become worthless! We know from experience that current computer technologies will become irrelevant, that a particular vacuum cleaner will no longer be the best in cleaning floors, and that early manufacturing processes will become outdated. The same thing is true of knowledge. Therefore, you should think critically about how often you expand your knowledge as well as where you get your new knowledge and inspiration. Useful and respectable sources are available to those who are looking long and hard enough. Access to knowledge will contribute to sustaining the growth of your career. More importantly, how you apply your knowledge will determine the extent of your success. You should ask yourself whether you are doing enough to share your knowledge. Knowledge is easier to share than goods, especially these days, where people are active on social media. If you are the type of person who keeps his knowledge to himself or herself, you will face a serious challenge because it is difficult to prevent people other than your client, manager, or colleague from accessing that knowledge. Do not be afraid to share your knowledge; doing so helps increase your market value. What good does it do if, for example, you are the best programmer in the world but nobody knows it? The downside of keeping your knowledge “close to your chest” is that people tend not to share their knowledge with you as well and you will become less and less knowledgeable than someone who shares their valuable knowledge generously. If you find it difficult to share your knowledge, you will also find it difficult to sell it—your knowledge will be useless. After 10 years of research and practical work with professional networking, I have made a clear conclusion: “Most of us do not know the skills of the people we know, and we do not know how strong and loyal our relationships are.” Do you know? Your newly acquired knowledge is only relevant for a very short time. Eventually, it will be outcompeted by some other knowledge. Your market value will be difficult to maintain if it is based only on a piece of paper from an educational institution or from a workplace.
Knowledge and management are the product In the next five years, we will increasingly look at knowledge as a product. More and more companies will produce and trade knowledge rather than material objects, especially in Denmark, where we are unable to compete in the market for traditional commodities. In management, the keyword will be trust. People from the organization named Great Place to Work support this idea. When they started conducting their surveys on the best places to work, they did not know that trust is so important. They thought that employees are concerned mainly about salary and benefits. They were in for a surprise. Trust in the organization, in the manager, and in the products is of much higher importance. Other studies show that trust is also the most important factor in management. Quite simply, trust is the key factor in motivating people. You may liken trust to a glue that binds people together, and you could say that trust is a result of a series of actions and a behavior practiced by the manager. It becomes even more complex when we look at distance management (which we should increasingly relate to because of the global labor market). Further, a colleague told me about a quite interesting dilemma. He described it like this: “In my company, we are in the process of recruiting a highly specialized programmer on behalf of a client. Since the programmers are based offshore, the client finds it important that they can work independently and have excellent communication skills, which makes good sense when you as a manager are not able to be in the same room with your employees on a daily basis. Therefore the programmers’ EQ becomes important. However, the ‘funny’ thing is that our tests show—without exception—that every time we interview a technically skilled software developer, we
can see that the social/communicative competences are weak, and whenever we interview a programmer with good ‘soft’ skills, we find out that the technical competences are weak.” Quite a dilemma. Interesting, right?
Trust-driven management In the next 5–10 years, increasingly we will realize that we have to specialize and become known as a society that offers knowledge and management. In Denmark, we can no longer produce our way to growth because we cannot compete on price or quality. In the next 5 years, it is important that we utilize our knowledge in management to outcompete some of our biggest competitors in the global market. The keywords will be management, trust, knowledge, and networking. What will this mean to you? In the next few years, the ability to inspire trust in people will become the scarcest and most indemand competence for both employees and managers. However, keep in mind that based on experience, generally, when trust is lost, it can never be regained—or it takes a very, very long time to regain it. It has been documented that trust in people or organizations takes many years to build. Trust is about being able to rely on people and knowing how they react when problems occur. Therefore, trust has a lot to do with predictability. Open, honest, consistent, and predictable managers almost always inspire trust, thereby allowing people to know that the rules will not change suddenly, so they become more willing to take risks and deliver extra effort to help achieve the goals of the organization.
Good managers are scarce The sought-after manager of today, and up until 2020, knows that the art of being emotionally smarter is one of the three strongest and most in-demand competences. The other two are integrity and creativity. A good manager must have a deep self-knowledge to really understand people. In 2015, we will face the challenge of having three to four generations in the workplace. In 2020, the figure is estimated to reach five generations. Never before have we experienced these many generations living and working side by side. Understanding one another and getting the best out of these generations’ differences, strengths, and challenges will be a challenging task. Imagine this scenario: You work as the team leader of a team consisting of Annie, who wrote her dissertation on a typewriter; Henrik, who prefers to work from eight to four and hangs his personality in the cloakroom; Ditte, who tries to strike a balance between her role as a homemaker and mother and her role as a tough businesswoman; and Christopher, who identifies himself with his work and firmly believes that e-mails are outdated. As a manager, how do you create a positive work environment in a team influenced by individuals with different views on the concept of work? This example might be extreme, but it is not impossible. Many organizations lack knowledge on how to attract, retain, and develop these very different generations simultaneously—and that is with good reason because there is no recipe for it. Age diversity and understanding different generations will be the next big challenge for you, your manager, and your company. They will make big demands on your combined EQ.
It is not about being the most intelligent People have become less authoritarian, and the younger generations have become even more so compared to the more mature employees. People follow those they trust and listen to those who do sensible things. Create something meaningful or disappear, as I usually stress. Therefore, your EQ is incredibly important if you want people to listen and follow you. It may eventually be accepted that a
person’s IQ cannot be used to predict a person’s success, either in personal life or in business—a realization that has made Daniel Goleman an award-winning author. If you want to become successful, you need to consider that your achievements must go hand in hand with your ability to collaborate, motivate, and communicate with other people. Indeed, it seems that many not-so-well-educated, selfmade people do significantly better than expected and have achieved incredible success despite having an average IQ. While working on my book Take Control of Your Career, I realized that there is no connection whatsoever between how clever a person is and how successful he or she will become. After 10 years of work analyzing leaders and companies’ ability to build, nurture, and expand professional relationships, I have made the conclusion that EQ is more important than other personality traits and that it exceeds IQ as the most relevant factor of one’s ability to achieve success in life as well as in business.
The 70/30 rule A company once asked me to train their employees in the art of selling a good idea. This need for training stemmed from the fact that their employees came up with many great ideas; however, only a few of them were developed into sellable products and services. The reason was that the employees only focused on the idea in their presentations and not on the people whose backing they needed to realize the idea. Quite simply, they had not thought about the fact that the idea, which they considered amazing and revolutionizing, needed to be viewed the same way they did by the executive management, who had the power to approve or reject the idea. Hence, many good ideas did not pass the introduction phase. This prompted me to develop the 70/30 rule, which, in all its simplicity, is about reminding people that if they need backing for an idea or project, they must put 30 percent of their effort into creating a personal and trusting relationship with their contacts. Every time you attend a meeting, a reception, a job interview, an investment meeting, etc., people look at you subjectively, and they think about their current and future relationship with you. Are they open to spending their valuable time and resources on you? People size up each other. The question is, if you know what they are looking for.
Relationships are formed based on these:
Your personality brought about by your EQ (your EQ manages mutual trust and chemistry between you and others) Your current power base (your existing network) Your current and future skills (your potential) Identifying what the other person can get out of the relationship (it’s not all about you)
The big question is whether you inspire confidence in others. Their trust depends on what they know about you and your life. What personal history are you willing to share? What questions do you ask to help others open up to you and talk about what lies in their hearts? You can measure the strength of a relationship by the number of times you and the other person have come to an agreement and the number of personal stories you have shared with each other, and how familiar you have become and will remain with each other over time.
Be personal—not private Do you want to test the 70/30 rule on your life? When I need to familiarize people and build trust with them, I refrain from talking about my MBA, directorships, and the like. I tell people that I am married to Brian (they usually laugh about it because it is not every day that you hear of a Soulaima married to a Brian). I tell people that I have children and that I live in one of the old neighborhoods in Copenhagen. It somehow makes people think I am pretty down-to-earth, and it breaks any barriers. Most people have heard about or have been to my neighborhood and have questions about what it is like to live there. I also talk about the causes I am passionate about and how I help people through my work. Based on my experience, people are preoccupied more with who I am than with what I have to sell. Once they are convinced that I am a “good” person, they go far in their quest to understand my business and recommend me to others. Show people who you are and what you stand for more than what your credentials are or what you can “sell” them. I do not share private stories that could make some people uncomfortable. What story do you tell? Most people talk about the weather, mumble about their names, or talk more rather than ask; and such conversations are not memorable and will soon be forgotten. Your “small talk” does not have to be unimportant. The purpose of allocating 30 percent of a meeting on personal concerns is to build trust, which enhances people’s impression of your professionalism. Therefore, you should use the time you spend with someone efficiently—and you do not do that by exchanging some chitchat about the weather. Before you meet a person, research a little bit about him or her; find out what kind of person he or she is. Do you have anything in common? You can easily get a lot of information about him or her by searching the Internet—this is just a small effort, but it pays off many times over. Now you are more likely to be remembered, to be recommended, and to become someone people would like to meet again and again. Do you inspire confidence or mistrust? Ask yourself these questions:
Do my colleagues consider me trustworthy? Explain why yes or no. Place your relationships on a model (such as the one below) and assess them on a scale of 0– 100 (100 = high on mutual trust). Whom and how many do you believe you have a strong, trusting relationship with?
Do you want people to remember you? Based on my experience, people do not remember academically talented individuals—they remember the passionate ones. Do you ever doubt that statement? Maybe this can make you believe it: Think about how often you judge a person based on his or her energy, charisma, and what other people say about him or her. The impression you leave has a more lasting effect than what you say or do. Think about how you react when you meet someone who is enthusiastic, energetic, informed, and excited. These people are contagious, and they are the type whom you listen to when the conversation centers on professional topics. The energy you bring to the table and leave in the room becomes part of your business image, your business card, and it is far more important than the title on your business card— remember that anybody can obtain a title. Therefore, it is important that you consider whether you inspire confidence or mistrust in people. For example, think about the idea that experts inspire a higher level of confidence than salespeople. As much as 50 percent of the reason people buy from you or believe in what you endorse is influenced by whether or not they like you. Do people like you? Do they recommend you or warn against working with you? Or even worse, do you get merely archived in the imaginary folder titled “Unimportant—throw out and forget”? What emotions do you evoke in people? You can determine the level of people’s trust in you based on the extent to which you are involved in the professional life of the people in your network. How many of your connections spar with you—for example, people who sent you an article that they thought you would like, or recommended an event that was right for you? That is personal involvement. People recommend people they like and trust. If you are academically skilled AND at the same time have a high EQ, you are obviously in a good position. Having both qualities maximizes your potential and allows others to see your authenticity! A recruiter once told me that such people do exist. They are few, but they do exist.
Personal interest and involvement is a critical factor Do you work in a company that sells something? Or are you in a situation where you must convince others about something? Are you dependent on the support of others? If so, read carefully. So many people consider it their job to keep a cool, objective distance from their surroundings, including their customers and colleagues, believing that they should remain an impartial mediator of facts. So many professionals believe that they serve best their career and their company’s interest by being detached and consider it unprofessional to get involved personally. They believe that they have achieved or will achieve success because of their objective, impersonal, and transaction-oriented relationships with their customers, colleagues, and partners. I believe they have achieved a measure of success in spite of this kind of practice; otherwise, they would have achieved even more in less time. I have heard people say that they leave their personality at the door when they enter the workplace. This is misguided “wisdom.” My point is that personal involvement, which is how well you understand yourself and others in order to adapt to your immediate surroundings and the current demands, is indispensable. It is a direct extension of your EQ and will advance your career. To paint a clear picture, imagine a business professional looking for the most dispassionate, matter-of-fact adviser, partner, or salesperson—not very likely. Businesspeople want to feel that the person they are talking to has concern for them as an individual, not just business interest. Try to remember the last time you felt that your bank manager, dentist, or accountant was interested in you on a personal level. You might have needed to dig deep into your memory. It was a good feeling, right? That feeling gave you the urge to call them the next time you had a problem, or even recommend them to others. If you can establish trusting relationships with your clients, colleagues, and managers, you will have a unique platform for your career. You will then become an extremely valuable asset to the company you work for, manage, or own because you increase brand value and create loyalty. There is also a more commercial benefit to building relationships based on personal involvement: the deeper and more comprehensive your relationship is, the longer the relationship will last; and therefore, more value can be created. You and your company are transitioning from solving individual, specific problems to solving complex problems. Taking a personal interest in people that you encounter in your career does not mean that your professionalism will be compromised. Your professionalism will always be your entry ticket. Presenting yourself as an authentic, trustworthy professional will help you create long-term relationships. Occasionally, you may find yourself in a situation where you cannot serve all customers or cannot be everything to everyone. It is a fact of life that sometimes personal chemistry between individuals is not suitable for sustaining a fruitful professional relationship. Do not be discouraged by this infrequent occurrence. You will experience greater job satisfaction, creativity, development, and synergy with your loyal customers and the many new ones you will get! What remains for you to think about is how to work with relationships. Strive to be introspective over the course of your career. Do not be afraid to ask yourself relevant questions: How involved am I with my customers, clients, and partners? How do I express my personal interest? What can I do to improve my ability to connect to them?
You are guided by emotions EQ (emotional quotient) measures emotional intelligence, which is the ability to assess what is happening to you emotionally. Most of us work in a job with responsibilities greater than those we had previously. Specialists are being forced to become broader and broader in their capabilities. Even positions that were previously identified as best suited for introverted and internally oriented individuals have come to depend on cooperation and human contact. Many studies on neuropsychology suggest that our emotions have their own logic and that our business choices are not entirely rational. All the while, we try to give the impression that we act analytically, logically, and rationally. Modern
brain research allows us to study how emotions play a far more central role in the choices we make than we previously thought.
Is your IQ a limitation or a resource? EQ and SQ are somewhat diffuse terms. However, these terms can be broken down to intuition, compassion, empathy, self-awareness, social skills, the ability to control and self-control, and our understanding of others. In writing this article, I contacted one of the leading recruiters in Denmark, and he told me that they test the EQ of all their recruits regularly. They often refrain from hiring candidates with the highest IQ scores for the simple reason that they are often difficult to work with and do not interact positively with other people. Basically, he finds that managers who understand themselves and are in tune with their emotional states are often the ones who understand others well. We are all born with a certain temperament that affects our EQ. Fortunately, everyone can improve their EQ, unlike IQ, which is innate. Because your EQ changes throughout your life, you should test yourself regularly.
A mini test can contain these questions:
Is your temper high or low? Are you quick-tempered, or do you rarely get angry? Do you express what you feel quickly, or not at all? Do you hold a grudge for a long time, or do you move on quickly?
Your answers could indicate your ability to observe, learn from, and control your emotions. However, you should avoid having too much self-control that you lose your authenticity.
Four important qualities Do you see yourself as a person with a high EQ? In my experience, you should have these four important qualities for you to have a high EQ:
Integrity Responsibility Courage Immersion
The important aspect of developing a high EQ is accepting that you cannot obtain it by studying. You have to go out and practice and not be afraid of making mistakes. You have to practice and evaluate your initiatives and abilities continuously. Working on your EQ is a lifelong process with a finish line, and since you have to work with many different types of people, you have to develop your EQ and SQ constantly.
You need to continuously develop the following:
Your social competences Your attitude toward other people
Your comfort zone Your attitude toward yourself
Constantly you face new problems, new relationships, new technology, etc. The question is how you cope with these changes. Your reaction is nothing but a learned habit that you have chosen to live with! So the next time you consider signing up for a technical course to strengthen your profile, you should reconsider. Perhaps you should spend your time nurturing your customers, your network, or your ability to enter into trusting relationships? This investment offers a better return than focusing only on developing your professional skills. So the next time you meet another person, make an effort to be interesting and interested because it will take you farther than handing out professional terms and buzzwords. Good luck with your EQ—keep in mind that it is more important than your IQ.
We used to believe that a high IQ, by definition, results in a successful career. That is not the case anymore—now a high IQ can be regarded...
Published on Oct 11, 2013
We used to believe that a high IQ, by definition, results in a successful career. That is not the case anymore—now a high IQ can be regarded...