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It’s June in Texas, which means the forecast is calling for three-digit temperatures. Given this, it seems totally appropriate to write about the topic of… warmth. More specifically, let’s discuss your Warmth Quotient.  WQ for short.

“What’s that?” you might be asking.  Put very simply, it’s how well and how often you exude these traits:

  • Cordiality and friendliness
  • Integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness
  • Authenticity and sincerity
  • Helpfulness, tolerance, and patience
  • Generosity, grace, and understanding

Sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?  Almost saintly.  And yet, if you want to enjoy an abundance of good things like happiness, positive conversations, productive and loyal relationships, a successful and satisfying career, vibrant health, increased longevity, and much more, it behooves you to take your WQ seriously.  I mean, honestly, is it all that hard to be a good person?

“But what about being smart, skilled, hardworking, and able to do my job well? Doesn’t all that matter?”  Absolutely!  However, research proves again and again that being perceived as “warm” by your peers, customers, clients, patients, vendors, and anyone else you work, live, or interact with is just as important as your competence. In fact, warmth AND competence are THE key traits of happy, successful people.  Some experts say your WQ (whether it’s high, low, or just meh) can influence as much as 80 percent of your social interactions and your personal reputation and brand. It can also determine whether you get to keep your job (or not) during a layoff.

In short, your WG (combined with competence) really matters. 

As a little exercise to get you thinking… Try this!

  1. Think of someone you know who exhibits a high WQ. (Refer back to the bullet list of traits above.) What feelings come up for you when you think of this person?
  2. Now think of someone who has a low WQ. What feelings come up?
  3. How about someone who’s just lukewarm in the WQ department. How do you feel?
  4. Now reflect on your own WQ levels. What category above do you think you fall into?  High, low, or just meh?  Would others agree? What shifts might you need to make?

But wait!  Aren’t there jobs and organizations where leadership doesn’t give a rip about your WQ? They only care about the results you create and the bottom line? Sure. And don’t some people who possess all the warmth of an iceberg succeed in climbing the ladder to success and make lots of money?  Oh please. Don’t even get me started on that one.  The news is full of stories about these people.  Would I ever work with or for one of these organizations? Heck no. Would I want to be someone who is famous, rich, and “successful” yet has the WQ of a snowbank? Double heck no!

I sincerely hope you’re not working in a cold, just-get-it-done environment or with chilly, rude, heartless jerks. I also hope you’re not creating that kind of scenario for yourself or for others. If you are in any of these situations and don’t have an immediate plan to escape or change, the hard data shows it will slowly kill you. At the very least, it will make you sick.

With that, how will you honestly assess your WQ and work to enhance it?  I’m learning through my own research and experience (including Lessons Learned the Hard Way) that people who exude a high WQ are dearly loved and highly-valued friends, partners, peers, and professionals. They are also ultimately better at sales, communication, managing, and leading. And they are ultimately better humans who enjoy a bounty of benefits.

To wrap up, consider this passage from my new book More Than Just Talk:  “Everyone is looking for an edge,” writes Arthur C. Brooks, a Harvard professor, social scientist, best-selling author, columnist, and enthusiastic teacher on the art and science of living a better life. “That edge is being pleasant and friendly.”

Amen to that!  And here’s to your summer of warmth! May the only frosty things you experience for the next three months be refreshing beverages and delicious ice cream!