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Brains, Emotions and Attitudes: What A Few Telling Qs Reveal About You

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On TV, he's Dwight Schrute, the over-achieving, over-bearing salesman from NBC's Thursday-night hit, The Office.

In real life, there's someone just like him on a million payrolls--a man or woman who is competent but insufferable.

At one time or another, most of us have worked with a person who fits this description. I sure have. And what a drag it was every time. You know the type: skilled but grating. Often, they are loathe to compromise and reluctant to collaborate. These workers secure jobs because of their unique capabilities, but rarely advance due to their objectionable personalities.

I try to avoid these types of people and instead by surround myself with individuals who are highly evolved in three critical areas: intelligence, emotions and attitude. Call them the three quotients of workplace fitness.

I'll start with intelligence. More than a measure of mere brainpower, your IQ is also an indicator of your competence. It reveals how much you can do and how well you can do it.

Highly competent people are ready for what the world has to offer. They prepare for assignments meticulously. They manage duties thoroughly. And they never stop acquiring new skills or insights that they can apply to new tasks.

In my experience, high-IQ people are better able to anticipate difficult challenges and identify important opportunities. They can synthesize more data, and make better sense of contradictory developments. As a result, they make everyone they work with more competitive.

But not always more productive.

Unfortunately, some high IQ people try to get by on their wits alone. They believe they are smarter than others and aren't afraid to show it. This makes them seem arrogant if not antagonistic. People who demonstrate such qualities can have a detrimental effect on workforce cohesion. They may lower morale, which reduces productivity. If you've ever spent part of your day counseling the office know-it-all to get along with others, then you understand exactly what I mean.

This is why I look for more than mere intelligence in a job or promotional candidate. In addition to IQ, I try to assess Emotional Quotient (EQ) as well.

Just as an IQ provides a snapshot of an individual's competence, an EQ provides a glimpse into their emotional maturity--their ability to connect with others, in particular. This is incredibly important in today's workplace, where different personalities, backgrounds and generations come together.

Due to this diversity, we all need to think about being both a superstar and a team player. That's true now more than ever, given how globalized, specialized and decentralized business has become over the past 15 years. Because of this, work today is collaborative in nature. Rarely is something ever designed, developed and delivered to the market by a single person. Instead, products and services are produced and sold by teams of individuals who leverage an array of inputs from more people than ever before.

People with high EQs tend to shine in these environments thanks to their self-awareness. They feed off the enthusiasm of their colleagues, and sense when they may have over-stepped their bounds. High-EQ individuals tend to increase workplace morale, and productivity along with it. They don't seek recognition, nor do they covet authority. Instead, they avoid office politics and distractions, and instead focus on the task at hand.

And some look good doing it, too.

No, I don't mean how they are dressed per se, but instead the attitude they display when working on an assignment. This is my third quotient of workplace fitness--a person's "GQ."

People with high GQs understand that appearances matter, but not in the way Madison Avenue or the fashion world would have you believe. Instead of trying to look better than others, people with high GQs try to appear more respectful. It's a significant difference that goes beyond one's choice of garment, grooming or accessories.

A person with a high GQ dresses to put others at ease. He or she doesn't wear their ego on their sleeve, but instead tries to put forth the most polite appearance they can. To them, life is all about the positive attitude they can project, not the superior look they can afford.

Whether you're looking to hire someone for an opening or trying to fill one yourself, remember the three Qs of workplace fitness: IQ, EQ, and GQ. In good times and in bad, they will never lead you astray.

Inder Sidhu is the Senior Vice President of Strategy & Planning for Worldwide Operations at Cisco, and the author of Doing Both: How Cisco Captures Today's Profits and Drives Tomorrow's Growth. Follow Inder on Twitter at @indersidhu.