As a female physician, you have been required to rely on the strength of your IQ. Making a diagnosis, doing calculations and delivering a convincing argument all require use of IQ. And when you want to lead a team or influence others to follow your lead, another kind of intelligence is needed- emotional intelligence. That is can be a problem, because as a physician, mostly your IQ intelligence has been valued. But, the key to effective leadership relies on emotional intelligence.

The impact of emotional intelligence, which many women are naturally good at, may already be the source of your success and you aren’t even aware of it. This week I was speaking to Dr. Elaine who had recently completed an interim role as Medial Director. Her department was preparing for a quality survey. Long hours, and even weekends, would be required to catch up on the backlog of charts. She worked right along side the staff and even brought in pizza to make those long evenings a little more enjoyable. When the office clerk was having a problem with her child, Dr. Elaine sent her home to take care of the situation. The stressed clerk expressed her appreciation with a look of gratitude.

Dr. Elaine told me that this interim position had been the most rewarding work she had done in a long time. The staff had pulled together as a team, and together they had accomplished an unbelievable amount of work. When the acting Medical Director returned from leave he asked her, “ What did you do to get such amazing results?” She couldn’t explain the source of her success. She was asking me as a coach to help her understand what she had done so she could do it again!

What made the difference? Emotional intelligence explains why despite equal intelligence, training, or experience, some people succeed while don’t. In fact, 90% of the difference between outstanding and average leaders is linked to EQ. Dr. Elaine paid attention to the personal needs and perspective of her team. Her behavior demonstrated that she cared about each person as an individual. Attending to the emotional needs of the team created the commitment, engagement and collaboration needed to get the job done.

The Majority of Competencies Needed for Successful Leadership are EQ in Nature.

Typically, we want to share what we know so others trust our expertise. You need to flip your focus from IQ to EQ if you want others to follow you as a leader. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

To read more content about leading change, click here.

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