Or they can lead to failure.

Throughout the last few centuries, the United States’ most brilliant thinkers and philosophers  (Albert Einstein, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Mark Twain, etc…) were making their mark on the world. Many of these thinkers were able to create and invent timeless and original work through novella, physics, and philosophy.

What did these individuals have that separated them from the rest of society in their intelligence? A better question however, is what did these brilliant individuals have in common gave them the advantage within their given fields?

Until recently, much of what society used as a litmus test was the Intelligence Quotient Exam (IQ). An IQ test determined intelligence based on a series of standardized tests and cognitive ability. As the 21st century was ushered in, CEO’s and other leaders of organizations began to face incredibly difficult and trivial complications.

One of these business leaders was named Geoff Smith. He is currently  the CEO of EllisDon, a construction company bringing in an annual revenue of 3.5 billion. Smith started noticing issues when countless customer started to complain and report immense dissatisfaction with his company. As Smith followed the trail he found it was his employees that were rotting his company from the inside out.

Employees were gossiping about one another, passive aggressive individuals were setting a culture of secrecy, and speaking out in rebellion against his core team. Although Smith’s IQ was high, it wasn’t going to be his knowledge of standardized tests and cognitive ability that was going to get him out of the predicament before him. Smith saw the situation for what it was: a company with little or no boundaries.

Smith began to address the different issues he had discovered only weeks ago. He started to address the toxic employees that were rotting his company by either confronting them in their behavior or firing, but always taking the proper steps in order for the toxic employee to show they could change. He calmly went about business with a non-anxious presence and sure enough, within nine months, things at EllisDon were running smoothly and customers were no longer complaining of the toxic employees.

We can measure our intellect all we want. However, if we are unable to separate our emotions from logic and make key decisions that lead to positive results, our intellect will simply go to waste in the midst of a myriad of ill advised, emotionally unintelligent choices.

Smith could have panicked by finding every toxic employee and firing them on the spot. This action would have solved part of his problem by removing the negative effect of those employees, but the rest of his company would be struck with fear and would eventually either leave his company or enter into stagnation, ridiculed by fear of being fired for any sort of ill behavior. Rather, he moved forward in a positive direction utilizing his composure, wisdom, and logic by calmly addressing these toxic employees and creating space for conversation as well as room for reformation.

In today’s world, this response to high intensity situations would be an example of emotional intelligence (EQ). Simply put, EQ is the ability to manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. We can measure our intellect all we want. However, if we are unable to separate our emotions from logic and make key decisions that lead to positive results, our intellect will simply go to waste in the midst of a myriad of ill advised, emotionally unintelligent choices.

Photo by Timothy Vogel FLICKR

Daniel Chae is the Founder of EQ Plus+ Consulting Services. He works alongside people to help them grow in their gifts and talents; his work has taken him to nearly every continent. Daniel is currently based in the Bay Area, California and attends Baylor University.