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Navigating the “T” transition to leadership

Navigating the “T” transition to leadership

As a successful executive, you knew exactly what you needed to do to get where you are today. You acquired degrees, mastered the needed skills and accumulated the relevant experiences.

Hard skills often come easy to executives and carry them far. But, at some point, IQ alone is not enough to ascend to leadership. Emotional intelligence or EQ is essential.

According to a MHS study, 90% of top performers are high in EQ. In fact, EQ is three times more likely than IQ to predict career success.

Navigating the transition from relying on IQ to expanding EQ is an important, but turbulent pivot point in an executive’s career.

Think of the hard skills as the base or vertical part of the letter T. The soft skills are the horizontal line. It’s at the intersection point where executives find themselves feeling uncomfortable.

Getting to know yourself to improve your relationships is a different kind of work than executives are used to. Sensing others to inform and influence their behavior is not an exact science. You can’t balance humans like a spreadsheet.

You often feel like you are flying by the seat of your pants, unable to know if you are driving change. You are presented with myriad options at every turn. Despite being plagued with uncertainty, you need to stay true to yourself and maintain your ability to read others.

If IQ is about how much knowledge you can demonstrate, EQ is often about how many negative patterns you can unearth and unlearn to improve your relationships. It takes tremendous resiliency and strength of character.

To make this T-shaped transition from IQ to EQ, executives need to throw their logic to the wind and embrace the creative process of self-discovery. Soft skills are hard won, but well worth it.