When the concept of emotional intelligence gained popularity through a book published by David Goleman in 1995, it was said that one’s emotional intelligence (EQ) gets people hired.

Initially the idea was heavily criticised by scientists and academics. Today emotional intelligence has become part of common parlance when one speaks of leadership qualities.

With the development of artificial intelligence, it is recognised that human IQ can be replaced by machines. Doubt is expressed whether AI can also be emotionally intelligent. Some believe it does. This is why those who believe in the power of AI, also believe that the machine will replace the human person in all respects.

Jack Ma, founder of Alibaba, a global company based in China specialising in e-commerce, retail, internet and technology, certainly has other ideas. At the World Economic Summit, held in Davos, he was quoted as saying: “To gain success, a person will need high EQ; if you don’t want to lose quickly, you will need a high IQ, and if you want to be respected, you need high LQ – the IQ of love.”

He seems to suggest that love quotient (LQ) is the next thing beyond IQ and EQ.

We will be hearing more about love quotient in leadership at work

It is a very interesting idea as many hold the view that love has no place at the place of work. One goes to work and needs to deliver the results expected. This brings out the importance of IQ. Since we all work in an environment that includes other people, we also have to nurture and manage our relationships with others; and this brings out the importance of emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence puts into focus the importance of relationships at work. Even that was not initially looked at favourably as many thought emotions have nothing to do with work. It had recognised that we are driven by our emotions either consciously or subconsciously. As such a good leader is required to understand one’s emotions and the emotions of others and how one’s emotions affect relationships at work. We now need to go beyond this.

However, one may ask whether it is taking things too far that we now have to express love to ourselves and others. We could put in other words – touching hearts. This is not such a new concept as in education it is more than 300 years old. I ask anyone who is doubting this to read about the teachings of St John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

Although touching hearts is an idea that works well in education, does it really work well at work? Is it correct to state that the world’s most successful leaders have a high love quotient, as Ma claims?

I guess the answer lies in one’s experiences. When we think of the persons who have been our leaders at work, who do we think of first? Those who have been very competent at their job but stopped there, or those who have been able to touch our hearts? At work do we want to have more understanding and less conflict, more compassion and less judgement, more kindness and less distance?

I believe that we will be hearing more about love quotient in leadership at work, especially in a working environment where technology will play an ever greater role.


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