Mind your Ps and Qs

by Liam Glover

[5 minute read]

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression – ‘Mind Your Ps and Qs’. There are a few different theories as to the origin of this expression. It is most often connected with manners, where usually someone older and wiser will remind someone younger to, “mind your Ps and Qs.” The suggestion is that P is short for Please and Q is short for Thank You.

Another common suggestion is that it is connected to teachers reminding children, learning to write, to watch the difference between shaping a “p” and a “q.” Perhaps a common mistake for those learning to form the alphabet.

Another assertion is that this expression comes from the publican (the person behind the bar pulling beers at the pub) who would remind his patrons to mind their “pints and quarts” – be aware of how much beer you are drinking. (Perhaps a precursor to RSA training?)

These ideas are all centuries old and so today, I want to look at something that seems a little more contemporary and perhaps more prevalent to the culture and context we find ourselves leading in.

As leaders, I want to suggest we need to mind our Qs. And by Qs I mean Quotients. There seems to be so much literature about various Quotients. There are some that I’m sure you have heard of – Intellectual Quotient (IQ) and probably Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Intellectual Quotient is a measure of someone’s mental acuity and reasoning ability. As leaders, having an ability to reason or process information well is important. We need to metabolise information from sources external to our organisation, information coming from within our organisation and revelation by the spirit of God. And synthesise these sources to navigate a way forward.

From what sources are you receiving information? And how are you processing the information received?

Emotional Quotient is a measure of how well we are able to manage our emotions and our relationships with others, with the underlying theory being higher EQ means we can facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. (Daniel Goleman formalised this idea in his book of the same name from the mid 90s.) EQ might be simply described as a measure of people skills. Leaders are leading people, so developing your EQ is mission critical to your role as a leader.

What steps are you taking to develop your emotional intelligence by developing empathetic abilities?

However, there are some Qs with which you may not be as familiar.

Social Quotient (SQ) is a measure of the ability to successfully build relationships and navigate social environments. Similar to EQ, Daniel Goleman released his study into SQ in the mid 2000s through his book, “Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships.” If you are a leader whose role requires you to develop and deepen connections with others, growing your SQ will become a priority. For ideas on how to improve your SQ, Goleman provides a roadmap in his book.

How is social intelligence an important skill for your role as leader?

Cultural Quotient (CQ) is a measure of the capability of a person to relate and work effectively across cultures. We live in a multi-cultural society. Having a well developed ability to work across cultures is a key distinctive in achieving exceptional outcomes when working with teams made up of a variety of cultures. David Livermore has researched this phenomenon, capturing his conclusions in his book, “Cultural Intelligence: Improving Your CQ to Engage Our Multicultural World.” Having a team with different skills, abilities, ages and backgrounds doesn’t necessarily equate to better outcomes. CQ enables and amplifies team outcomes as we work collaboratively together.

Who can you spend time with to increase your cultural intelligence?

Earlier this year, Robert J. Sternberg published “Adaptive Intelligence: Surviving and Thriving in Times of Uncertainty.” His contention is that humanity needs to focus on adaptive intelligence, which he defines as the use of collective talent in service of the common good. Adaptive Quotient would measure the ability a person has to harness and amplify the strengths and capabilities of a group to pursue altruistic outcomes for the betterment of humanity.

In what ways does adaptive intelligence inform your stewardship decisions?

These intelligences are enduring capabilities which will serve well within whatever leadership assignment we find ourselves.

I wonder which Qs you need to mind as you approach your next season of leadership?

And who is the person that will keep you accountable to taking action in this regard?