Star Wars Darth Vadar

Use your EQ powers for inspiration, not manipulation, like this guy. Photo courtesy of

Emotional Quotient, or EQ, is defined as “recognizing, understanding and managing emotions.” In The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence, author Adam Grant warns that a high EQ can be good or bad, depending on whether you use it to manage your own and other’s emotions “for good or for evil.” What prevents leaders with high EQs from crossing over to the dark side and using their powers of manipulation for self-gain?

High EQ and Self-Serving Motives

Grant writes, “New evidence suggests that when people have self-serving motives, emotional intelligence becomes a weapon for manipulating others.” I’d like to talk more about these “self-serving motives” in the context of this argument. I don’t think that self-serving motives are things that we just happen upon by accident or birth. When we are motivated to only serve ourselves, it’s because we see ourselves as all-powerful beings in complete control of our lives. In short, without a desire to serve a higher power than ourselves, whether it be a spiritual being or a cause for the greater good, those of us with very high EQs are in real danger of becoming egomaniacs intent on ruling to universe.

EQ IQ SQ Diagram

SQ is a fundamental piece in the whole individual. From

High SQ and Using the Force for Good

The SQ is defined by Dr. Snehal Shah as, “an alignment of the individual to a higher purpose to accomplish worthy goals.” Recent research has shown that workers with high EQs are less likely to have self-serving motives if they also have a high SQ, or Spiritual Quotient. The SQ, according to the research, is what tempers and manages both the IQ and the EQ. Without an SQ, the leader is imbalanced, disconnected and stunted by his or her own desires. Other research talks about transformational leadership and how fundamental the SQ is for this type of leadership to emerge.

The Spiritual Quotient, or SQ is the final piece in making a whole, balanced leader or leader less prone to stress. Since the early 2000’s companies have been taking a more holistic approach to hiring the kind of people who feel that their lives have a purpose. Companies can’t discriminate based on religion, but they can ask questions about your overall life purpose, altruistic aims or volunteer work. If your answer, delivered with a conspiratory wink, is: “My life is all about the coin. I’m working my way into early retirement.” That’s a big red flag. Welcome to the Dark Side.