For people looking for assistance with developing websites, building apps, or marketing online, technical prowess is all too often the only factor they evaluate in the selection process. While hard skills such as coding, graphic design, and search engine optimization are essential, they’re rarely the primary indicators of a successful project.
In this post, Werkbot, a leading web design and marketing firm, explores the importance of emotional intelligence in the tech industry, how it differs from IQ, and why business decision-makers should focus on finding firms with an emotionally intelligent workforce.
The Difference Between EQ and IQ
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to perceive, evaluate, and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others. Ultimately, emotional intelligence betters the ability to communicate, empathize, and process stressful situations.
EI often gets confused with emotional quotient (EQ). However, EQ is actually the level, or measure, of a person’s EI. In the workplace, those with a higher EQ tend to thrive in teamwork situations, take the initiative on projects, and are self-motivated. Further, a high EQ is essential when team leaders need to understand the thoughts and feelings of the teams they're managing and their clients.
In the context of web development and technology, an emotionally intelligent team can adopt the voice and aesthetic of its clients' companies to ensure their digital marketing initiatives feel authentic. When you find a company with emotionally intelligent employees, you'll realize a multitude of benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Better and clearer communication
- Enhanced problem-solving strategies
- Healthier conflict resolution
- High-quality collaboration
- Improved customer retention rates
- Increased return on investment (ROI)
On the other hand, intelligence quotient (IQ) refers to the ability to use information, logic, and reasoning to solve problems and complete tasks. Typically, IQ focuses on measurable skills such as word comprehension, math ability, and spatial awareness. Individuals with a high IQ tend to prefer independent work, find success with challenging tasks, and excel at research and development.
Because of its grounding in interpersonal skills and the relationship with oneself, most people consider EQ to be a personality trait. Unlike IQ, which maintains relative stability throughout a person’s life, people can grow their EQs over time by focusing on soft skill training to improve communication, conflict resolution, and leadership.
Benefits of High EQ in Tech
When it comes to developing beautiful, user-friendly websites and apps, a person with a high EQ is well equipped to deliver a product that is both functional and useable. More specifically, because they understand what makes people tick, they are able to create a high-quality user experience (UX). With an intuition about how people think and feel, it’s no wonder why 95 percent of HR managers say they believe it’s important for employees to have a high EQ.
The benefits of an emotionally intelligent team stretch beyond the limits of intuitive UX. In fact, tech firms that prioritize high EQs realize a variety of benefits for both their employees and clients, such as:
1. Improved Communication and Collaboration
The daily tasks of web developers and graphic designers aren’t centered around a computer. Many of their work hours are spent interacting, collaborating, and communicating with coworkers and customers.
Because of the barrage of buzzwords and acronyms that come with digital marketing, a web developer or designer’s ability to communicate clearly with a client is essential. Those with high EQ become translators for people unfamiliar with industry jargon.
But healthy client-agency relationships aren’t just fostered by how teams talk with one another; it’s about how they listen. Web developers, designers, and project managers need to be able to hear out a problem, digest it in real-time, and offer a workable solution.
On an internal level, effective communication can improve peer-to-peer relationships, foster inclusive working environments, and improve employee retention rates. Collaborative environments are vital for breaking down barriers between employees, ultimately improving efficiency, maximizing profits for customers, and building healthy business relationships.
2. Intrinsically Motivated Staff
Intrinsic motivation occurs when a person acts without any desire for external rewards. Instead, behaviors are carried out simply for personal enjoyment and fulfillment. When acting on intrinsic motivation, it is usually a way to find meaning or purpose in life, see progress toward project completion, or otherwise advance your own well-being and knowledge.
Emotionally intelligent employees are motivated by factors other than outside recognition. Instead, they work to fulfill their own passions, realize personal growth, and contribute to a sense of community and teamwork.
Put simply: Those with high EQs enjoy the feeling of completing a job the right way.
3. Client-Focused Empathy
Helping clients overcome their pain points is the crux of new IT developments. Be it a specific page on a website that needs reworking or you’re writing new code to develop a particular feature, most tech jobs revolve around troubleshooting problems for clients. And when it comes to offering up possible solutions, developers with a higher EQ have an easier time understanding the issue at hand and acting accordingly.
Additionally, empathy helps people both give and receive feedback more constructively. Though it can be discouraging to get negative feedback on a project that took days, weeks, or even months, being able to quickly digest the remarks and rework the outcome accordingly is an essential skill for optimal development.
For Our Fellow Tech Firms: Fostering EQ in Tech
Developing emotional intelligence takes practice. But as these skills become foundational, a firm’s culture can develop into a highly collaborative, person-centered environment that continually fosters growth and development for stakeholders inside and outside the organization.
Know Your Client, Know Your Purpose
Because a key characteristic of a high EQ is intrinsic motivation, it’s essential to first understand your purpose. When you align with your why–your reason for doing what you do–you’re better able to digest information, understand outcomes, and problem-solve effectively.
For those in tech leadership positions, establishing a guiding principle or reason for being ensures everyone is striving for the same outcomes. And when it comes to client work, both the tech firm and the developers on the project should be striving to meet the client’s aspirations. Though each individual might have their own beacon of purpose, setting a common goal around which your team can rally creates a collaborative environment in which everyone can thrive.
Encourage Self-Awareness and Reflection
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize your own emotions as they arise and use that recognition to better understand your behaviors, moods, and perceptions of others. Emotionally intelligent people tend to have high levels of self-awareness and practice it regularly.
Of course, building self-awareness involves a lot of attention to self, including positive self-talk, journaling, and other mindfulness practices. But it can also be grown organically through intentional interaction with others, such as seeking out constructive feedback, assessing and reflecting on the emotions of others, and learning body language.
Happy employees are more likely to produce better products, and better products can be a boon for everyone’s bottom line. Self-aware developers can better understand a client's needs, eliminating the need for too many re-works. Therefore, tech leaders hoping to maximize gains for their firms and their clients could seriously benefit from teaching self-awareness.
Practice Active Listening
In a social setting, listening to others and understanding their experiences helps the listener develop compassion and empathy, both of which are essential for raising EQs. Additionally, being an active listener encourages people to pay special attention to their own emotions as they relate to the speaker, thus organically growing self-awareness. What’s more, active listening helps us pick up specific communication styles, ultimately increasing our personal repertoires of ways in which we can express ourselves.
Find an Emotionally Intelligent Development Partner
If you’re looking for a team that can anticipate your needs, understand your pain points, and effectively communicate marketing processes and plans, we think you’ll find it at Werkbot. If you’re interested in learning more about what we do, how we work, and why we do what we do, reach out today by visiting our contact page.