Even veterinarians with a high IQ and excellent diagnostic and medical/surgical skills should pay close attention to how they rate on the emotional intelligence (or emotional quotient, EQ) scale. This scale measures seven key varieties of intelligence: intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical/rational, linguistic, musical, spatial, and kinesthetic. Intrapersonal and interpersonal skills are the aspects of EQ that keep you in tune with your emotions and those of the people around you. Learning and handling emotions are at the core of emotional competence and can mean one's success or failure. Individuals with high EQs are sensitive and can respond effectively to others' needs. A high EQ combined with a high IQ allows potential achievement and professional emotional cohesion with the staff and clients and enables one to withstand constructive criticism. Bullying is a behavioral example of a lack of EQ that is not limited to schoolchildren. It exists at work where and when adult emotional situations are not recognized, understood, or appropriately handled.

Without a high EQ among practice management, staff turnover is high and there are fewer long-term, satisfied clients. All practice members should be able to recognize and handle personal, colleague, and client feelings and conflicts. Properly handling conflict and stress leads to "good resilience in the workplace." The road to EQ entails personal assessment to gain valuable insights into personal knowledge and understanding. Emotional intelligence involves an ongoing learning and reflective process-with rewards in social as well as emotional competency.

COMMENTARY: One of the areas in the recent report of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues receiving considerable attention is that of EQ. This is the array of skills that allows us to know and understand ourselves, our colleagues, our teammates, and our clients at a higher level; to gauge our own emotional input; and to "tune-in" to other people's emotional needs. While EQ is defined in many ways, it is most commonly thought of as the admixture of a high level of communication skills, professional integrity, personal value systems, empathy/compassion, and personal life lessons (wisdom) that allows us to practice better fellowship, followership, and leadership in our work environment. Efforts to increase the EQ of any animal health care team will most certainly lead to an enhanced working environment, improved customer service, and greater satisfaction and financial rewards for everyone involved.

Emotional intelligence: how important is a high "EQ"? Stobbs C. IN PRACTICE September: 506-507, 2003.