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PQ is the new EQ

Updated: Oct 9, 2019

Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ became a business buzzword recently but the actual concept of emotional intelligence was coined back in the 90's. It is defined as "a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one’s own and others’ feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and action”. It's easy to understand why this aspect has gained traction in the business community due to the fact that increasingly we have to work as part of a group to get things done. If you have low EQ that only increases the difficulty in achieving objectives, expecially if you are in a leadership position.

But there's a big problem with EQ as a solution for the issues plaguing modern organizations. EQ has limited utility beyond personal development because the degree of one's emotional intelligence does not create a culture of people with emotional intelligence. It does not influence the environment. It does not inspire change within the organization. It doesn't move the needle of employee engagement.

That's unfortunate for those over invested in EQ as a management tool. For everyone else, however, I'd like to introduce a different concept - Positivity Quotient or PQ. PQ is derived from The Positive Impact Test introduced in How Full is Your Bucket by Donald O. Clifton and Tom Rath which focused on the power a few consistent positive actions can have on organizational productivity, engagement, and retention of key talents. PQ in a nutshell can be defined as a form of social intelligence that involves the conscious application of positivity to those around you in order to enhance one's own ability to influence productive outcomes as well as increase others' adherence to achieve their goals.

At this point you may be asking yourself how can positive actions enhance your degree of influence on outcomes and goal adherence. You are likely asking yourself this because of years of poor leadership examples have indicated that only top down power-based management can motivate people to give their best. If we were having this discussion in 1999 and working for Apple under Steve Jobs you might even be right. However, it's 2019 and there are people working alongside you and for you who actively disengage at the thought of working for a micromanaging, bullying boss who is more interested in personal glory than team achievement.

There are three proven benefits of implementing PQ as a leader:

  1. Strengthens your relationships with your colleagues: When you exude positivity you show up differently. People like when you are around. They open up to you. Trust blooms because people understand your only agenda is their success.

  2. Increases workplace productivity: PQ emphasizes focus on strengths based management principles which are nothing more or less than finding out what people are best at and putting them in a position to succeed. When people succeed at work doing something they are good at and enjoy they are naturally more productive.

  3. Leads to better decision-making: When people are fully engaged in the outcome they are willing to passionately debate until decision alignment is achieved. Having multiple points of view from passionate knowledgeable people is one of the best ways to ensure quality decision making. Believing that success is inevitable is one of the greatest benefits of PQ because this practice is about winning from right decisions made or learning from wrong one's. Fear of wrong decision making is replaced by positive action and continuous momentum.

Implementing PQ is of course, not easy. And it doesn't mean you go around simply patting people on the back in a false manner. It is a sincere effort to leverage positivity to deepen your engagement with the people who have to execute the mission and consciously supporting them with your belief, encouragement, coaching, and direction as needed. Like a boat with a strong sail and solid crew, the desired destination is all but assured.

How have you leveraged PQ to improve outcomes in your teams? What are other benefits you can identify in this approach. Let us know in the comments below. And if you enjoyed this article, please like and share with your network!

Omar L. Harris is Associate Vice-President and Country Manager for Allergan PLC in Brazil. He is the author of Leader Board: The DNA of High-Performance Teams available for purchase in ebook or print on Please follow him on instagramtwitter, and/or LinkedIn for more information and engagement.

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