IQ or EQ: What is particularly important for mixed teams?

The business case for emotional intelligence

A leader’s intelligence must have a strong emotional component. He/she must have a high level of self-awareness, maturity and self-control. She/he must be able to deal with setbacks and, when those moments of happiness occur, enjoy success with equal parts joy and humility. but how does that actually work? this article aims to convey how EQ is an important complement to IQ, how to assemble mixed teams, and how to train for EQ

“A leader’s intelligence must have a strong emotional component. It must have a high level of self-awareness, maturity and self-control. She must be able to deal with setbacks and, when those moments of happiness occur, to enjoy success with equal parts joy and humility. Undoubtedly, the focus on emotional intelligence is rarer than on common intelligence tests, but my experience tells me that it is actually more important in building a leader. It simply cannot be ignored.” – I’m not saying that, it’s what Jack Welch, chairman of GE, says in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Intelligence and IQ as a measuring instrument?

Intelligence is something that is very important for investors, financiers and technicians. What can go wrong when combined with the ability to innovate, sound job skills and the ability to imagine the future? Many tech, fintech, blockchain specialists and those transitioning from legacy industries like banking, finance and insurance to the new blockchain and fintech space pride themselves on their accomplishments and intelligence; their ability to imagine the future. That’s an extremely important attribute. A necessary condition, so to speak. Is it also sufficient?

It’s safe to say that we’ve been taught throughout our lives how important our intelligent quotient (IQ) is, as a key indicator of our success. Therefore, it is tempting to read into someone’s IQ score and judge them based on that number alone. However, psychologists who study intelligence find that this is only partially true. Digital transformation demands all of our skills, plus a growth mindset.

Digital skills and more

Let’s take a brief look at digital competencies: We have our personal competencies, social competencies, technical and methodological competencies, and transfer competencies. However, these alone do not constitute a growth mindset. We have to be prepared to learn constantly and to expand our neural networks, to develop the Rainbow Brain within us.

What does this mean for modernity and agility? How do changes in business processes and culture influence and foster innovation ? The first thing to mention here is servitization. Today, it is not products that sell, but the services that are attached to these products, digitally of course.

Mixed leadership is the current formula for success in digital transformation in many industries. There are now enough studies to show that mixed teams perform better and are more innovative and successful in the long term. What is being solved in an exemplary manner in countries like Ireland is still in its infancy here. Studies have been proving it time and again since 2007: mixed teams are simply more innovative. Companies with women on the board are economically more successful than those with all-male members. “Mixed leadership” is therefore the current recipe for success in human resources management. And this is where training in emotional intelligence can help us. There are still many misunderstandings between men and women, in the interpretation of events and statements, and in the interpretation of what an event or chain of events means for our future viability.

The 2012 study by the accounting and consulting firm Ernst & Young (“Mixed Leadership; Mixed Management Teams and their Influence on Company Performance” ) compared the team structures of the 300 largest listed companies in Europe and concluded that women at the top of companies are a clear guarantee of success. Revenue, profit, headcount, market value – all key metrics in 2005 and 2010 were better than average across the board for these companies, and it was the opposite for all-male teams. “The verdict is devastating for those top managers who were all-male in 2010. Sales, profits, market capitalization or employment: everything there is worse than average.”

Mixed teams with a difference

Let’s sit back and imagine for a moment how successful your team would be if it were mixed, and the impact this would have on your employer branding.

Not only are women missing, but there also seems to be a missing link in the finance and blockchain industry: nurturing emotional intelligence.

IQ tests can predict how well people will do in certain situations, such as abstract thinking in science, finance, and engineering. But when it comes to well-rounded business success, there’s much more to it than that. What makes a team shine, for example, when using SCRUM is the fusion of intelligence and social appeal, the way you interact with others and yourself in the workplace. It is the interplay of intelligence and emotional intelligence that increases the success and work performance of teams and organizations.

Performance depends on many things, and the more we understand about how the brain stores and uses information during our daily activities, the more we can achieve higher levels of self-awareness.

Emotional intelligence, or EQ, has become a central form of intellect because once it is developed, we will have the unique ability to recognize our own emotions – and not fall into the trap of being more agnostic about our emotions. This is a prerequisite to foster professional development and business growth.

David Caruso, one of EQ’s founding researchers, said it best: “It’s very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, it’s not the triumph of the heart over the head – it’s the unique intersection of the two.

What can you do as an individual?

Once you gain the ability to recognize your emotions, you will be able to use this information to guide your thinking and behavior, which will ultimately help you better understand yourself and others. Developing high levels of EQ will increase your chances of successfully achieving your goals. For this reason, the financial sector has recognized the urgent need for this form of intellect. Financial institutions must prove themselves reliable in order for their customers to trust them with their assets. What better way to increase trustworthiness than to deal responsibly, directly and flexibly with current and potential customers, all of which are soft skills that can be enhanced through EQ.

Automation within the financial sector can never be replaced by face-to-face communication with key stakeholders and their customers. This reality requires a person’s ability to develop competencies so that they can positively engage with a range of people from different backgrounds.

Here are some competencies that can be strengthened by developing your EQ:

  • Flexibility
  • Understanding
  • Active listening
  • Communication, both verbal and non-verbal
  • Collaboration
  • Influence
  • Achieving a common goal
  • Empathy

Emotional intelligence can also strengthen the following personal competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Understanding personal competencies


Self-awareness enables a clear perception of your own personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions. Self-awareness enables you to understand other people, how they perceive you, your attitude and your reactions.


Self-management reinforces control over one’s own behavior rather than being controlled by others from the outside. Individuals who use self-management monitor their performance, take corrective action, and seek resources.

Social awareness is the ability to understand and respond to the needs of others.

Relationship Management

Relationship management enables interpersonal and social skills, such as inspiring, influencing, having the ability to develop others (Rozell et al., 2001).

These are key components when interacting with existing and new customers. The old hierarchical model no longer works in digital transformation. It presupposes a linear stable reality.


In 2020, we have finally arrived in the VUKA world, in which volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity determine market events. Leadership must therefore also redefine itself. Today, a leader stands within the group, not outside of it, works through social attractiveness and identity.

When you decipher the above personal levels, you become more empathetic, which is an essential competency when working with people in customer-facing situations as well as in SCRUM teams. If you can better understand where your customer is coming from, you will be able to provide the best service that addresses their specific needs and wants and design the customer journey accordingly. This also applies to your internal customers and teammates. The ultimate goal should be to assemble a team that can form, brainstorm, norm, perform, and create and implement SRUM sprint artifacts – regardless of what is happening externally. Impact investors pay a lot of attention to team compositions. In a crisis, it is much more important than in calm seas to include as many different perspectives as possible, including the feminine perspective, because after all, we are half of humanity.

Author: Karen Wendt

    SwissFinTechLadies create an ecosystem for antifragility in tech, fintech and finance. With our approach educate, instigate and innovate we foster diversity in male dominated financial and tech professions. With our scientific council we provide business intelligence on diversity and sustainability for our corporate members. We have virtual office hours for entrepreneurs and offer a free 360 degree coaching alongside our webinars.

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