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There is IQ and EQ – But Do You Have HQ?


no hq

paul hebert[There is IQ and EQ – But Do You Have HQ? – From Betsy Nichols – Employee Engagement Architect. Read more about her on our Leadership page.  And because you know you need it – don’t forget to subscribe to one of our subscription options for 2014 here.]

Think of the best leaders of your life. The coach, teacher, boss you’d “take a bullet for.” What made them great in your eyes? For me, it was my high-school softball coach.

“Kerch” was her name. Her expertise and athletic skill was second to none but when I think of her I don’t remember that.   What I do remember is the time she told me as team co-captain I wasn’t performing at the level I should and it was time to rise to the occasion.  And I did – it was her challenge and her belief in me that made the difference.  I remember a year later when she told me she was proud of me, that my character and commitment convinced her I would be a great woman one day. It wasn’t her IQ or skill that elevated her above the other leaders in my life, it was her ability to connect with me at a human level – it was her HQ if you will – her “human quotient.”

This week when I sat with a group of talented leaders in a large DFW company they said the same about their leaders.  They all intuitively knew great leaders have the ability to see, value and inspire the people they lead.  And for years they have been successful leading their company knowing that.

But this year, surprisingly, this cool, culture-rich company did not make The Top 100 Places To Work.  Why?  Because a survey showed a random sampling of their employees didn’t feel a strong sense of camaraderie, didn’t feel fully at home on their team.  These talented leaders saw the evidence that even the greatest companies – with the greatest benefits and perks still need HQ. The survey showed some of their managers weren’t connected at that human level.  We all know employees join companies but leave managers. And these leaders realized they needed refocus on being humans – upping their HQ so to speak, to keep, lead, and help their employees perform at their potential.

How to Find Your Human Quotient

Kevin Roberts, president of branding firm Saatchi and Saatchi, says truly successful  brands, brands that are not just liked by customers but beloved, have 2 variables in common: Respect & Love.  They are respected for their consistent product quality, but they are loved because they “see” their customers.  They don’t just meet their needs, they connect with them as human beings.  They inspire them.

Successful leaders do the same.

Great leaders win respect by:

  • Living with an open hand rather than a clenched fist.
  • Demanding more from themselves than from others.
  • Pushing for results while building relationships.
  • Courageously taking on challenges with others.
  • Letting others speak for themselves. Not reporting for subordinates but bringing them to the meeting.
  • Apologizing. They know “I was wrong,” builds more respect than, “I told you so.”
  • Knowing and acknowledging their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Respecting the strengths of others.
  • Inviting correction, suggestion, and advice. They are learn-it-alls, not a know-it-alls.
  • Associating with the front-line, not just top dogs.
  • Not working too hard to be liked. They know the secret to being liked is liking others.

And leaders lose respect by:

  • Acting like they know when they don’t.
  • Keeping a bus handy to throw people under.
  • Refusing advice.
  • Running from tough calls.
  • Flopping like a fish on the dock.
  • Refusing to change their mind.
  • Listening only as long as they like what they hear.
  • Kissing-up and kicking-down.
  • Prioritizing personal advantage.
  • Massaging the message to manipulate.

So, how are you doing with your HQ – your human quotient?  Are you cultivating respect with your people?  Which phrase in these lists jumps off the page because you know in your heart of hearts, “I can do that better?” Go do that better and watch your people respond.

Let’s take a lesson from our heroes and turn our focus to the human quotient.  It will make all the difference.


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2 responses to “There is IQ and EQ – But Do You Have HQ?”

  1. Great perspective, Betsy. People really are the most important thing. It is my goal each day to be that leader that connects with people. I want to be the reason people stay with a company to make it succeed.

    I can always do better with apologies and admitting when I’m wrong. There’s always room for improvement in many aspects of leadership. I am
    just trying to be more aware and present as a leader. I really appreciate your post!

    • Betsy Nichols says:

      Brandon, thanks for your comment. It’s always so good to find leaders who are mindful of the need for being more human with their people and diligent to work on it. I find that’s one of the critical factors in helping any engagement succeed, a leader who is willing and humble enough to keep learning and growing in it. Way to go, Brandon! I’m glad there are leaders like you.