A Good Detective Knows Emotional Intelligence Trumps IQ– Just Ask My Dad

In the fields I have studied, emotional intelligence is much more powerful than IQ in determining who emerges as a leader. IQ is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesn’t make you a star. Emotional Intelligence can.”
–Warren Bennis, leadership pioneer, author and researcher

My dad was in the business of chasing bad guys across paper.

And he was really good at it; he had found his true passion in work and life — his groovy do-be-do.

As a detective in charge of forgery and fraud in the California Central Valley town I grew up in, chasing bad guys (and gals) across paper was how he always described it to my sister and me.

Dad’s passion as a young man was justice, maybe a little on the side of the professional wild west side of justice, but full of “to protect and serve” just the same.

After the Air Force and years of being a patrolman he found what we was really good at: finding the folks involved in check scams and credit card scams and embezzlement scams and identity scams and the like.

My dad was (is) smart — book smart and street smart — but he had an edge, the uncanny ability to empathically connect with anyone, anywhere at anytime. As the kids would say, he had the “soft skills” goin’ on.

He had organically developed the ability to lead “self” with lots of emotional intelligence, before emotional intelligence was truly defined and developed as it is today in the workplace.

Good guys, bad guys, in the middle guys (and gals) — it didn’t matter. He could immediately connect with them. Rapport and trust soon followed. His emotional self-awareness and awareness of others’ emotions and actions knew no limits. Some can counterfeit this behavior, but it can’t be sustained with any authenticity.

No wonder those he arrested couldn’t help but like him; he called them his “clients”.

That was all well and good, but from a police “business” perspective, he had a very high case-closed ratio and his arrests usually stuck and were prosecuted.

Of course, he had return customers, but he just kept doing what he did until he retired in early 1994.

During his career he had the opportunity for multiple leadership roles and was recruited by other city police departments and even the secret service, but he never wanted to leave where has was and the position he was in.

Thank goodness for that, because otherwise my mom and him maybe never would’ve met.

There are those who just naturally develop their emotional intelligence (EQ), who live a synchronous melody appropriate action and reaction, but most of us need assistance in the form of assessments, development programs and coaching in order to be better empathic leaders of self and others.  The good news is that we can develop it and sustain it.

Here are a couple of business examples of what developing high emotional intelligence (EQ) can do:

1) Fortune Brands saw 100% of leaders who developed their EQ skills through classroom training, coaching, and online learning exceed the performance targets set for them in the company’s metric-based performance management system. Just 28% of leaders who failed to develop their EQ skills exceeded their performance targets (Bradberry, 2005).

2) Emotionally intelligent leaders are indeed more successful than their less emotionally intelligent peers. So are their companies. At PepsiCo, for example, executives identified as emotionally intelligent generated 10% more productivity and added nearly $4 million in economic value; for Sheraton, an emotional intelligence initiative helped increase the company’s market share by 24% (Freedman & Everett, 2008).

And the 2011 New Year episode 81 of HR Happy Hour featured author and consultant Adele Lynn of the Lynn Leadership Group who talked all about the value of emotional intelligence in the workplace.

There’s a lot more research out there to substantiate the value of assessing and developing emotional intelligence.

Groovy do-be-do intersects at Emotional Intelligence HQ. That’s hip Em-Tel worth having.

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