Emotional quotient and intelligence quotient, EQ and IQ concept with human brain shape and gears

How does DiSC relate to Emotional Intelligence?

Since Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book was released in 1995, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has captivated the corporate world. Goleman himself was surprised at how quickly the business world latched onto this new theory particularly in the areas of leadership and employee development. With the increased attention on EQ we wanted to compare between Everything DiSC and EQ assessments on the market, specifically the EIQ-2 assessment.

What is EQ?

At it’s core, EQ allows a person to identify their emotions so that they may understand how those feelings influence their actions. Researchers have discovered that our decisions are made from two different ‘systems’ in our brain: the Limbic System and the Frontal Lobe. The frontal lobe is responsible for a wide series of functions that we take for granted everyday (movement, speech, expression etc.). For decades, it was thought that all of our thinking and responses were housed in this part of the brain. 

Recently, research has shown that the limbic system actually responds first causing certain emotions to ‘hijack’ our thinking.

As an example, imagine you are having a conversation with your boss. During the conversation, your boss shares that they are moving to a new neighborhood. You exclaim that their new neighborhood has an outstanding Pizzeria. The best in the area. You start to tell them about your favorite pie. How crisp they are able to make the crust. How the sauce complements the fresh cheese that they use. Just as you are getting to all of the wonderful and unique toppings that they offer, your boss, rudely cuts you off and states that they never eat pizza. They think pizza is gross.

How might you respond? Would you freeze in your tracks not knowing what to say? Would you get angry (after all, who doesn’t like pizza)? Or would you be able to quickly move the conversation forward. Regardless of how you respond, you will feel something, and the emotions that you feel can influence how you respond.

EQ is the ability to recognize our feelings in the moment. Not only does it allow us to recognize how we are feeling, it allows us to use this recognition to change our response or to allow it to influence our response. 

Often, intelligence is associated with IQ. You are either a genius, a moron, or somewhere in-between. Unlike IQ, a person is able to develop their own EQ skills. Furthermore, it’s now understood that someone who develops their emotional intelligence could experience a larger amount of personal success or overcome challenges and setbacks quicker than those with lower levels of EQ.

Research has shown how a person with a high EQ can interpret nonverbal clues to understand how others are feeling. They are also better at determining what situations create stress or motivate themselves. These skills can lead a person to develop better negotiation  or conflict resolution skills, both of which are highly valuable in any workplace.

We have two brains. We feel before we think, and certain emotions hijack our thinking.

What Does an EQ Test Measure?

There are many EI or EIQ tests and assessments available on the market. For the purpose of this post, we will examine the EIQ-2 assessment that is published by Assessments 24×7. Like a DiSC assessment, the EIQ-2 is self-assessed, meaning the questionnaire will have the respondent answer a questionnaire to measure their own behaviors. Many EI / EIQ (including EIQ-2) assessments don’t measure emotional intelligence per-se’, rather they measure behavior within the context of emotional intelligence. The behavioral questions that are asked measure the following:

  • Emotional Self-Awareness
  • Emotional Self-Management
  • Motivations
  • Empathy / Social Awareness
  • Social Management (Relationships)

Comparing DiSC to EIQ-2

At first glance it might seem like Everything DiSC and EIQ-2 are identifying two very different sides of a person. Afterall, DiSC doesn’t measure emotions. DiSC measures a person’s natural and adapted behaviors, but we can identify which behaviors (if called upon) would cause a person stress or motivation, which is a primary set of emotions.

To understand this better, let’s look at how DiSC actually measures a person’s behavior. Any DiSC test measures two primary behaviors: Pace or outward activity level (Fast or Moderate) and how a person views their environment (Skeptical or Accepting).

As an example, a person who measures further on the Accepting side and the Moderate-Paced side would fall in the bottom-right quadrant and would receive a S-style on the DiSC scale (See Figure 1.1).

Figure 1.1 Map of a person behavior if they are inclined towards a ‘Moderate Pace’ and an ‘Accepting’ Environment.

A person with this style would find enjoyment when collaborating with others. On the other hand, they would be uncomfortable when having to give unpleasant feedback or needing to address problems directly.

With this simple exercise, we see that while DiSC and an EIQ-2 assessment provide reports with indications that are completely different. However their findings actually complement each other. DiSC can provide the ‘why’ we feel the way we feel, where EIQ-2 shows how well we manage those same feelings.

If we continue with the prior example, that same S-style person might find on their EIQ-2 assessment that they also scored low with ‘Assertiveness Behaviors’ under the Self-Awareness EQ. Using their DiSC assessment, they could work with the EIQ-2 worksheets to better identify their emotions and why they behave in certain circumstances.

It is important to highlight that both EIQ-2 and Everything DiSC provide this information as a way for people to understand their natural styles as a way to improve their own life and working relationships. While Everything DiSC isn’t promoted as a tool to learn about emotional intelligence, it can clearly help if utilized with one of those tools.

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