IQ vs EQ: Workplace Success

By Richard Wood, Director

For generations, Cognitive Intelligence (IQ) has been the important measure of determining how successful someone will be in life and business. However, there has been a growing push to use Emotional Intelligence (EQ) as the best measure as the smarter individual does not always perform best in the workplace. So firstly, that begs the question, what’s the difference between IQ and EQ and which is most important?

The difference between IQ and EQ?

IQ is a number derived from a standardised intelligence test. This test focuses on estimating intelligence through cognitive abilities. EQ is a measure of emotional intelligence looking at a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions. This focuses on a person’s ability to detect cues of emotions and appropriately manage or adjust behaviour to adapt to an environment or achieve goals.

IQ represents abilities such as:

  • Visual and spatial processing
  • Knowledge of the world
  • Fluid reasoning
  • Working memory and short-term memory
  • Quantitative reasoning

EQ is centred on abilities such as:

  • Identifying emotions
  • Evaluating how others feel
  • Controlling one’s own emotions
  • Perceiving how others feel
  • Using emotions to facilitate social communication
  • Relating to others

So which one is the best measure?

IQ has historically been the primary determinant of success as people with high IQs were destined for a successful life full of achievement. However over the last 20 years many critics had challenged this narrow concept as it doesn’t look at wider human abilities or knowledge.

IQ is still recognised as an important element of success, especially in academia but today many agree wider assessments are needed. In business, many companies are now utilising EQ tests as part of the hiring process and conducting EQ training due to the performance benefits. According to Dale Carnegie, EQ is a predictor of success and their research makes for interesting reading;

  • The percentage of your financial success is due to 15% technical knowledge and 85% is due to skill in human engineering, leadership and influencing people.
  • 90% of top performers have high EQ
  • 58% of job performance is based on EQ
  • Your EQ levels tend to be at their highest at manager level then drop off as you progress to CEO level.

So…can you learn EQ?

In short, yes. Many behavioural psychologists have categorised behaviour types into four main groups. By recognising your dominant style and developing the ability to identify traits in others, you can train your EQ enabling you to interact positively with a wide array of personality types in various environments. Therefore, the first point of call is to better understand yourself.

If you resonate with any of these situations, it may be a sign of low EQ:

  • Getting into disputes
  • Not understanding how others feel
  • Thinking that other people are overly sensitive
  • Refusing to listen to other points of view
  • Blaming others for mistakes
  • Inability to cope with emotionally-charged situations
  • Sudden emotional outbursts
  • Difficulty maintaining friendships

So let’s just focus on EQ then?

Although EQ seems to trump IQ both measures undoubtedly play roles in influencing your overall success at work and in life. Self-awareness is crucial and by understanding your IQ and EQ you would have set the foundations from which to grow. The pitfall, like any other learning, is to focus your attention on one area. EQ should form part of a balanced development plan as we all have a natural tendency to put too much effort into the particular ability we’re developing at the moment without maintaining our other strengths. Get this balance right and you will become a talent in the workplace.

If you wish to discuss EQ further, contact us today to explore individual coaching and development plans delivered by our specialist consultants.

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