If Knowledge is Power, EQ is King

Today, many believe science and technology, alone, will solve the world's problems. But while science can inform us what is possible and technology can increase productivity, neither can be counted on to tell us definitively if our actions are either right or wrong. Whether or not something is good or bad or supports or impedes human flourishing can only be determined by wisdom and empathy to appreciate any unintended consequences. Without wisdom and knowledge, profit and efficiency become ends in and of themselves, leading to an impersonal, transactional society in which people are treated as numbers, not individuals. To avoid this impersonal and transactional approach towards life we must seek to understand human nature, how human relationships work, suffering and death, and most importantly the character of the creator Himself.

So you see, there is knowledge without wisdom. But can you have wisdom without knowledge? No. We believe that there is a different kind of intelligence, emotional intelligence (EQ) that is unquestionably necessary to becoming a wise person. These abilities differ from IQ, which solely measures one's cognitive ability. It is EQ that helps people recognize, understand, and manage their feelings as well as those of others. It is this type of knowledge or “intelligence” that will allow you to appropriately apply what you cognitively know with the discipline, discernment, and discretion to be your best self. 

Although both are important, in a team environment, EQ is a better indicator of someone's ability to collaborate and make their colleagues around them better. At Weatherford Capital, we are intensely focused on building out a team that has a high degree of both IQ and emotional intelligence, but if given the pick of one or the other, EQ would come out on top. In fact, part of our philosophy has been to make sure that an appreciation for emotional intelligence is deeply embedded in the DNA of our firm. You cannot be wise without a high degree of EQ, and without wisdom one will fail to have the discernment necessary to tell the difference not just between right and wrong but also among good, better, and best.

So What is Emotional Intelligence?

According to psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, EQ is not only the ability to identify, understand, and control our own feelings; rather, it is the ability to perceive, understand, and influence the emotions of other people as well. It’s not about manipulation; it’s about empathizing with the perceptions of others to find solutions and compromises that serve everyone. In Mr. Goleman's book "Emotional Intelligence," he identifies the following as the five central traits that distinguish those with the highest EQ.

1. Self-Awareness: Acknowledging your strengths and weaknesses, your emotions and moods, and how these characteristics and dispositions affect other people. A self-aware person anticipates problems without falling into either the danger of overconfidence or, what my football coach used to call “paralysis of analysis.” Additionally, a self-aware person, for instance, is not easily offended by constructive criticism but instead sees it as an opportunity to get better and improve. 

2. Self-Management: Being thoughtful before taking action and communicating your feelings, free from emotionally charged sentiment or bias. An emotionally intelligent person can regulate impulses and reactions rather than being controlled by them. It is not only knowing what to do but rather knowing when to do it. The ability to delay gratification, recognizing the rewards that often await or the repercussions that don’t, is a vital key to success. 

3. Internal Motivation: Pursuing goals merely for personal development and self-gratification, rather than money, power, or fame. People with a high EQ have a keen understanding of what they feel called to do, and how they will go about doing it. It is from that place that their contentment and joy is derived, not from the success that may or may not follow.  

4. Empathy: Being conscious of others’ emotions and feelings. Empathy involves meeting someone emotionally where they reside, or simply, putting yourself in their shoes. When a friend loses a loved one to cancer, sympathy is expressing how sorry you are. Empathy, though, requires one to either draw on their own experience or even use their imagination to consider and contextualize the sources of their friend’s pain to the point that they share in it and shed tears alongside them. Empathetic people genuinely understand and respond to the needs of others.

5. People Skills: Building trust, confidence, and respect with the people around them. Emotionally intelligent people can quickly establish and maintain relationships. They also avoid unnecessary conflict and power struggles. People skills are team skills and without trust and respect, most teams will fail to ever produce anything of substance.

True EQ is being aware of your thoughts and emotions in relation to the information you receive and the perspectives and feelings of others around you. In a world in which data and analytics are now influencing everything from the news and media you see to the route you “choose” in your daily commute, EQ has perhaps never been more important to channel the moral wisdom necessary to recognize and opt for a better path. There is no denying -- at a time when the data across the digital universe more than doubles every two years -- that data driven decision making is here to stay. But it’s against this backdrop, in particular, that an emotional skillset will be the differentiator that drives success in both life and business.

-Drew Weatherford

Caroline Collins