Last week, I spoke with a collegiate golf team about Emotional Intelligence. My work with them is based on the work I have done with a successful PGA Tour player and two articles I published in Golf Fitness Magazine within the past few months. Essentially, consider that in competitive golf it takes 4 ½ hours (on average) to play a round, but the actual amount of time spent hitting a shot is less than 5 minutes. Thus, the overwhelming majority of a competitive golfer’s time is really spent … with him or herself. In a non-reactionary sport like golf, the singular most important aspect of competitive advantage is the golfer’s ability to manage his or her emotions, especially after a bad shot.
Now, if you’re interested in the golf aspect, you can read my articles at Golf Fitness but in this blog I’d like to apply the theory to the workplace. Athletics is the ultimate arena for performance. Regardless of the sport, the results are right there in front of everyone. In the end, you win or you lose… you performed your best, you were mediocre, or you played horribly. Such results are quite instant. The better players are always those who seem to “thrive under pressure” – who can play well “when it counts,” which is usually when the game is on the line. Imagine a basketball player who has one second left and is on the free throw line. He has to make the free throw to win for his team. The only difference between this shot and the countless others is the timing – and the anxiety associated with that timing. The size of the ball, basket, or the distance to the rim has not changed at all. What has changed, during the “critical times,” are the emotions that the player is experiencing. So I continue to argue that EQ (your emotional intelligence) is one of the more defining, yet underrated, components of performance – both in athletics and in the workplace.
Granted, the workplace does not have a shot clock or an audience watching your every play, but we all have performance metrics we are expected to hit…either those we set ourselves or those that our bosses/companies set based on our roles. If you’re in sales, you must have a target/quota that you need to meet. Performance EQ translates well into the workplace – it is your ability to perform under the gun that also defines your success. Again, EQ is the centerpiece of this puzzle as well.
The bottom line… given a baseline set of skills and IQ, imagine your potential with a higher level of EQ.