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How Managers use the EQ Model

By Daniel Bobinski

If you’re wondering how managers use emotional intelligence (EQ), I suppose it depends on how effective those managers want to be. If they want to be top performers, they need to use it well.

Why? Because a strong correlation exists between how well managers use emotional intelligence and their performance ratings. Research in over 200 companies worldwide shows that in middle management positions, two-thirds of the difference between average performers and top performers is emotional intelligence.

This means that if you’re rated as an average manager and you’d like to be a top performer, the biggest bang for your buck will be studying EQ.

How does one use it?

The four-step EQ model provides a great foundational framework. It starts with step one, self-awareness. Managers need to know their own strengths, their weaknesses, their personal goals and motivations, and also their behavioral and cognitive styles. Multiple assessment tools, such as a DISC behavioral style assessment or the Cognitive Style Indicator, help a lot in this effort.

The second step is self-management.

I often refer to this as “work management.” In other words, what are the best ways to do our own work effectively? As a hint, we’ll need to use what we learned in step one so we can capitalize on our strengths and also know when to ask for help. To borrow a line from a famous Clint Eastwood movie, a man’s got to know his limitations.

Step three is called social awareness. In the workplace, it starts with knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the people on our team. This is a core responsibility of management that is rarely emphasized in management schools. As one client told me, “In my business degree, they taught me project management and accounting, but never how to run a team.” One thing to realize here is that understanding people doesn’t happen by osmosis. A manager must become a student and purposefully learn the strengths, weaknesses and motivations for each person on his or her team.

With that knowledge, managers are equipped to excel in step four, relationship management. In this step, managers know how to best interact with each employee, as well as to how to best delegate. All of this makes managers more productive, effective and profitable.

And isn’t that what we expect from managers? Don’t we want them to create productive, effective and profitable workplaces?

Let me also state that if you’re a manager, you’re never too old or too young to learn EQ. The other day I read that people can’t learn EQ after their 40s. What nonsense! I’ve had lots of clients in their 50s and 60s who’ve learned EQ and put it to work right away with excellent results.

As I’ve observed in my 30 years of working with teams and team leaders, managers and supervisors who become students of their people are the most effective managers. Why? Because when they’re aware of each team member’s strengths, weaknesses and motivators, they know how each person performs best. The result is a top-performing team and a highly rated manager.

Daniel Bobinski, M.Ed., is a certified behavioral analyst, a best-selling author and a popular speaker at conferences and retreats. He loves working with teams and individuals to help them achieve workplace excellence. Reach him through his website,, or 208 375-7606.



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