OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects

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FIVE REASONS PROFESSIONAL SERVICE LEADERS SHOULD PRIZE EQ OVER IQ

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE IS ESSENTIAL TO SERVICE FIRM GROWTH

Originally published on Forbes.com

Have you ever heard the saying, most people make decisions based on emotion and use logic to justify them? I won’t say I’ve found this to be absolutely true in my 25 years of coaching mid-sized professional service firms. But I would say that I’ve yet to meet a completely rational person, the kind who never allows emotion to sway their decisions, words and actions. If that unicorn exists, I’ve never met them.

This is particularly true among leaders of service firms. I’ve coached hundreds of professional service leaders and they all share one common trait: passion. They’re passionate about what they want to accomplish in business. They’re usually driven, strong-willed and deeply committed to their goals. They don’t quit when things get tough because they’re resolved. They inspire people around them with their tenacity.

If emotion plays such a prominent role in service leaders, why do we hear so little about it? Have you ever read a case study where the source of someone’s success was their emotions? I’ve never read that one. Usually, the story highlights intelligence, strategy, analysis or shrewdness. Or it might talk about character: integrity, perseverance and determination. But emotion—almost never.

However, the most successful leaders I’ve worked with share another trait in common: high EQ (emotional intelligence). They’re not always the smartest person in the room, and usually, they know it. But they have an almost uncanny ability to control their own emotions and to understand the emotional states of people around them. They’re not manipulative, but they are in control. Over time, they’ve developed a sixth sense that guides them and allows them to get the very best from themselves and their colleagues.

This is why I’ve come to believe that in the world of professional services, EQ matters more than IQ—especially for leaders. I’m not downplaying the importance of intelligence. But this is my singular observation. Not one of the 70-plus organizations I’ve coached has lacked intelligent people; that’s found all up and down their rosters. IQ was abundant. But EQ is what set apart the really effective leaders and companies from the underperformers.

In IQ-oriented companies, I’ve seen unhealthy competition, unproductive arguments and an unwillingness to acknowledge the strengths of someone else’s ideas. I’ve seen an unwillingness to relent—to admit that an idea someone sponsored may not be the best one.

In EQ-oriented companies, I’ve seen the opposite. Emotionally intelligent leaders quickly relent and readily acknowledge the genius of other people’s ideas. They praise far more than they criticize and they give, rather than take, credit. Their energy field leaves people feeling encouraged, focused and unafraid to try innovative new ideas.

Five Reasons To Prize EQ

After reflecting on the leaders I’ve coached and worked with over the last 20 years, I’ve identified five reasons to prize EQ over IQ.

  1. You greatly decrease the likelihood of making decisions you’ll regret. Decision-making is risky territory. Leadership teams that cannot consistently practice a best-idea-wins approach put themselves at unnecessary risk. Decision-making requires healthy conflict and debate, a willingness to argue ideas but not people. A leadership team that practices EQ is far less likely to make bad decisions because their egos are in check. They define wins based on what’s best for the entire company, not their personal scorecard.
  2. You deeply enhance trust with team members. There are two kinds of trust in business: trusting that someone will do what they say and trusting someone not to hurt you when they get the chance. It’s the latter form of trust that really matters. This frees people to be innovative without fear of embarrassment. Teams with high EQ are more inclined to take the kinds of risks that can produce huge breakthroughs.
  3. You enhance performance from staff. In professional services, people are the product. If you can engender greater performance, most of the time it’ll go straight to the bottom line. What would it mean to your organization to see a 20% increase in EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) without adding a single new staff member? I’ve seen emotionally intelligent teams accomplish feats that high-IQ teams said couldn’t be done.
  4. You resolve conflicts with minimal disruption and without losing key staff. Every service firm I’ve coached has experienced conflict. But firms whose leaders practice high-EQ experience very different outcomes from mere IQ contenders. In IQ-only firms, conflict can lead to work stoppages, emergency situations and even key people unexpectedly quitting. In high-EQ firms, many conflicts are imperceptible to staff. They don’t even know there was a problem until they hear later about how it was resolved.
  5. You weather crises with far less damage. Nearly every service firm I’ve coached has experienced a crisis at some point on its journey. This is when high EQ really pays off. Teams with EQ-oriented leaders tend to maintain morale, a focus on the mission and even psychological safety despite the crisis. They don’t blame each other but instead focus on solutions to get out of the crisis. Teams with IQ-oriented leaders often experience the opposite. They play the blame game, focus on the problem and experience a sense of impending doom.

How To Enhance EQ At Your Firm

If you want to experience the benefits of high EQ, I have a few recommendations.

  • The leaders must go first. Staff will follow the example you set.
  • Practice vulnerability by telling each other personal stories. When leaders reveal important details from their personal history, others tend to trust them more.
  • Practice a best-idea-wins decision-making model. During deliberation, when you are evaluating potential options, separate the ideas from the people who introduced them. Give the ideas a name, like option A, so that it stands apart from the person who sponsored it.
  • Practice inquiry far more than advocacy. Advocacy is about proving the worth of your point of view and arguing alternatives. Inquiry is about seeking to understand why someone holds a particular point of view.

While IQ is necessary and important, EQ is key to unlocking high performance for service firms.

About The Author

Randy Shattuck is a seasoned entrepreneur who works hand-in-hand with senior leaders of mid-size professional service firms to grow revenues, acquire clients, open new markets, increase profits and effectively position their brands.

OUR BLOG

LEADERSHIP

Ten Traits Of Organizationally Healthy Professional Service Firms
To Grow Your Professional Service Firm, Prize Culture Over Strategy
TP35: The One Tipping Point Mid-Size Service Firms Must Address To Keep Growing
Seven Reasons Most Mid-Size Service Firms Don’t Grow Very Much
Five Reasons Mid-Size Service Firms Need A New Leadership Operating Model
How Leaders Can Address The Growth Tipping Point For Mid-Sized Service Firms
Five Reasons Professional Service Leaders Should Prize EQ Over IQ
Why Mid-Size Service Firm Leadership Teams Need Collective Objectives To Grow
How To Grow Your Mid-Sized Service Firm: Jealously Protect Your Focused Energy
Why Professional Service Firms Should Consider Circle Of Seven Mentoring Networks
How A Leader’s Energy Field Impacts Team Productivity
Don’t Trade Misery For Money: How Professional Service Firms Can Leverage The Great Resignation
Strong Personality Vs. Strong Person: The Makeup Of A Leadership Council
Custer Or Marshall: Why Mid-Size Service Firms Must Choose Their Leadership Model
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Define And Defend Your Values
If You Want To Grow Your Mid-Size Service Firm, Establish A Formal Leadership Council
Want To Grow Your Professional Service Firm? Focus On The One
If You Want To Grow Your Midsize Professional Service Firm, Align Your Leaders
Why Midsize Service Firm Leaders Must Think Like Entrepreneurs To Grow
How To Grow A Mid-Size Professional Service Firm Today
Why It's Important For Great Leaders To Tell Great Stories
How Great Leaders Persuade Using Word-Pictures
How The Say-Do Ratio Influences Trusted Advisor Status And Profits
Why Service Firm Leaders Should Nurture The Entrepreneurial Instincts Of Their Top People

SALES

Five Strategies For Midsize Service Firms To Break Through Revenue Plateaus
How Pro Service Firms Can Fix The ‘Drop Everything — Chase Money’ Problem
Prospect, Originate, Navigate: How To Fill Your Professional Service Pipeline
To Grow Your Mid-Size Professional Service Firm, Think Carefully About Your Promise
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 7
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 6
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 5
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 4
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 3
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 2
How To Sell Professional Services Today – Part 1
How Mid-Size Service Firms Can Acquire Great New Clients On LinkedIn
Five Ways The Consultative Sale Improves Profits
How To Win The Complex Service Sale Consistently
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
How To Break The Grip Of Rainmaker Culture
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
How To Know When Prospects Are Ready
How To Pull Prospects Into Conversations
Nurture Organic Relationships Online
How To Build Relationships With Jaded Prospects
Do Prospects Want To Buy Or Be Sold?
Close Deals Faster Using Proof Statements
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough

MARKETING

How To Market Managed Services - Part 3
How To Market Managed Services - Part 2
How To Market Managed Services Today – Part 1
Why Service Firms Need A Multichannel Digital Marketing Strategy
Does Your Website Attract Ideal Clients?
Why Service Firms Need The Ultimate Digital Marketing Stack
The Myth Of The Time-Starved Service Buyer
Do You Choose Clients Or Do They Choose You?
How To Market & Sell Professional Services Today
Why You Need A Generous Brand
How Content Impacts The Service Sale
Are You Measuring Your Time Funnel?
How To Get Mindshare With Busy Decision-Makers
How To Get Great Prospects Leaning In
How Digital Marketing Creates Sales Funnel Velocity
Five Digital Marketing KPIs
Do Your Users Experience Content Regret?
Content Registrations Are Not Enough
Is Your Website Open For Business
How To Build A Great Digital Marketing Plan
Digital Marketing Perfect For Complex Sales – Part 2
Digital Marketing Is Perfect For The Complex Sale
The Value Of An Idea Driven Website
Who Benefits From Your Content?
Your Best New Client Is Looking For You
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 3
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 2
Why Service Firms Should Focus On Ideal Clients– Part 1
How To Get The Greatest Value From Content Marketing
Why You Should Absolutely Give Away Your Best Ideas
Do This to Fill Your Sales Funnel
What You Must Do To Acquire New Clients
An Audience Of One
How to Attract New Ideal Clients
Are You A Content Marketer Or A Thought Leader?
Consider The Source: Theorist Or Practitioner
Why Pain Points Are Not Enough
How To Nurture Ideal Prospects