How can stress lead intelligent leaders to make very poor decisions?

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How can stress lead intelligent leaders to make very poor decisions?

The combination of a high intelligence quotient (IQ) and high emotional quotient (EQ) is necessary for the success of any entrepreneur or leader. The higher one goes in the company hierarchy or the more complex the company is, the more this phenomenon is true. It is even recognized that the EQ and the emotional skills comprising it are more likely to determine success than is an IQ of 120-125 (100 being average). However, it must be understood that the two forms of intelligence have to work together.

One of the key skills of EQ is stress management. When people cannot manage their own stress properly, the cognitive or superior functions of the brain, the IQ, are greatly affected. Research clearly demonstrates that, in an intensely stressful situation, we no longer have any access, or have little access, to our intellect. In fact, stress paralyzes the superior intellectual functions, such as those allowing us to be logical, analyze facts, plan, find solutions, incorporate information and make decisions—in short, our senior manager.

We may observe the following behaviour during significant stress:


  • Inability to listen
  • Decreased comprehension
  • Over-analysis, inability to make decisions or making very impulsive ones
  • Errors in decision-making
  • Poor decision quality
  • Decisions too emotional (based on anxiety, fear, anger, guilt and depression)
  • Short-term vision
  • Defensive reactions
  • Searching for escape and/or compulsive behaviour: drugs, sex, alcohol
  • Aggression
  • Slower thinking, trouble concentrating

Therefore, it is crucial to invest in your ability to manage your stress better, not only for your company but also for your quality of life. Managing stress is an emotional skill that can be developed. It is a process, not a destination. It has to be viewed as a developmental toolbox.

  • Recognize the significance of stress in your life;
  • Compare the costs of stress versus the benefits of developing anti-stress strategies;
  • Recognize your symptoms (physical, psychological and behavioural);*
  • Decide to invest in developing stress-management skills, which requires time, energy and money;
  • Use various tools to help yourself: reading, training, coaching and exercise **



Pierrette Desrosiers,

Work Psychologist, professionnal speaker, author and business coach

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2020-03-23T17:50:51+00:00 January 5 2019|Emotional Intelligence, Stress Management|0 Comments

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