EQ Over IQ

Jun 30, 2020 Share This 

Age_of_DisruptionOur world is experiencing disruption in ways it never has before. Within a matter of weeks, our entire country practically came to a standstill, global markets went on a tailspin, millions filed for unemployment and consumer spending plummeted.

It’s difficult to know how to navigate today’s landscape when things change on a daily basis. But how you as a financial advisor choose to respond may be the difference between thriving, or just surviving, on the other side of this or any other crisis.

The Many Forms of Disruption

It’s easy for our thoughts to be consumed by recent events, and dealing with the fallout of economic shifts and market volatility certainly is important. As with disruptions in the past, the one we’re experiencing now may present opportunities. However, there are other disruptions and changes that are occurring in our world that shouldn’t be forgotten during this time.

When we come out on the other side of this pandemic, it’s important to have kept abreast of other continual changes happening behind the scenes. Pay attention and be prepared to harness changes, not in an opportunistic manner but in a way that helps you fulfill your mission and demonstrate your value to clients who may come to you with heightened fears and anxieties.

Even though the economy has slowed to a snail’s pace, technologies continue to advance at lightning speed.

  • Keep up with innovations.
  • Leverage available tools like never before.
  • Consider how advancements like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual assistants can augment your performance and equip you with skills and insights to help your clients move forward.

Emotional Intelligence May Be the New Benchmark

Sharing knowledge with clients isn’t enough these days. Consider how things have evolved in the financial industry and others over the past couple decades. For example, it used to be that employers highly regarded a potential hire’s SAT scores or GPA to indicate their intelligence. Having a high IQ presented a distinct advantage. While arguably still important, many employers may now consider a candidate’s emotional intelligence (EQ) as a determining factor when hiring talent — the ability to manage one’s own emotions and those of others.

It’s easy to see how technology, social media and other advances have increased the availability of information. The power and data contained in a single, handheld mobile device surpasses what once was stored in massive computer rooms or data centers.

Today, the playing field has been leveled, and nearly everyone has access to knowledge; it’s what you do with that knowledge and how it influences your decisions that are important. Whether it’s a recruiter hiring an employee or an investor hiring a financial advisor, a major factor in that decision may weigh much more on EQ than IQ.

The Advantages of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence involves more than simply the ability to make better decisions based on available information. Those with EQ may also have an advantage when it comes to influencing others to make the changes that are in their own (and others) best interests. Such personal skills are of particular importance for financial advisors who often need to guide clients through difficult decisions or troublesome financial times such as we’re experiencing now.

  • Forward-thinking leaders need to embrace changes in technology, including AI, predictive modeling and other advances. However, EQ is required to interpret that data, recommend a strategy and, perhaps most importantly, influence a client to adhere to it.
  • The current pandemic has taught us that computers and algorithms can’t interpret every scenario, and advisors who consider themselves leaders can’t allow those technologies to make decisions for them.
  • The role of a successful advisor involves much more than managing spreadsheets and portfolios; it also involves managing emotions. Doing that requires demonstrating empathy, compassion and an ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes.
  • Just as technology has leveled the playing field when it comes to knowledge, the global pandemic has leveled the playing field societally. Every individual in our country is being impacted in some way.
  • When communicating with clients, you have the opportunity to connect with them on a deeper level due to your shared experiences. Consider how you can demonstrate your EQ in caring ways that project the empathy and care you genuinely feel inside.
  • Disruption may bring about negative effects, but it also has the potential to bring about positive changes, especially when it comes to strengthening relationships with your clients. Consider that now may be the ideal time to reach out to them.

For additional insights, download our guide, The Changing Retirement Landscape. In it, you’ll learn about ways to address your risk-averse clients’ fears during times of uncertainty. Simply click the link below.

A Word of Note

Many of the insights shared in this article were gleaned from a Think2Perform podcast featuring Don MacPherson, CEO of 12 Geniuses, an organization dedicated to educating leaders today and building leaders for tomorrow.1 While the podcast was recorded prior to the current worldwide pandemic and shared much more than could be highlighted in this article, his insights provide timeless guidance to help leaders grow through disruption and experience their fullest human potential.

The Changing Retirement Landscape Guide


Think2Perform, The Inevitability of Change, July 16, 2019.


Topics: Client Relationships