Over the past couple of decades, scientists, researchers and educators have started changing the way they perceive and evaluate a person’s intelligence. Thanks to Daniel Goleman, Ph.D, a renowned psychologist who has written several books on the topic of emotional intelligence (EQ), the idea of grading a person’s EQ in addition to their IQ has become mainstream. Dr. Goleman has even posed that EQ is more important than IQ, and a debate on the topic has raged ever since.
IQ vs. Emotional Intelligence: What’s the Difference?
IQ stands for intelligence quotient, and it literally represents how academically intelligent a person is. To find a person’s IQ, they are given one of a number of standardized tests. Based on how well they perform, they are given a score, which is compared to other people in their age group. Those who rate well on IQ tests have been found to perform better academically, make more money and are generally healthier than those with low IQ scores.
EQ stands for emotional intelligence, and it relates to a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions . While those with high EQ scores may not have a great deal of technical or academic knowledge, they have been shown to perform better in the workplace than those with high IQ scores. Why? They are more aware of themselves, better able to regulate their actions, are better at owning responsibility, are motivated, and have empathy for others.
Why Your EQ Is More Important than Your IQ
While most researchers say that an individual’s performance in life is determined by both their IQ and EQ, there is evidence that IQ only accounts for a small percentage of that. Only around 10 to 25-percent of the equation in fact, which leaves EQ responsible for an incredible 75-percent or more of a person’s ability to succeed. For this reason, many companies have started giving applicants EQ tests before hiring them. Other companies have instituted EQ training programs in the workplace.
When I was in retail business, one of the rules I lived by when hiring someone for an entry level position was – “Hire for personality; train for skill”. That basically means that you can train someone in the technical skills they need to perform a job, but you can’t train a persons personality.
Why the emphasis on EQ? Simply put, a person with a high EQ is better to work with in a team environment. They can relate to others and are more approachable.
Several studies have also shown that those with high EQ scores perform better in the workplace, make better leaders, are more self confident, are trustworthy, and are just more likeable than those with low scores. All of these factors lead to an increase in productivity and sales across the board.
The Five Categories of EQ
There are five categories of EQ, and once you understand them you will begin to realize why having a great deal of emotional intelligence makes a huge difference in how well someone performs in life and at work. Following are the five categories and how they affect one’s personality:
- Self Awareness – In order to control your emotions, you must be aware of them. This is where self awareness comes into play. Those who are self aware are able to tune into their emotions, which makes them more confident about what they can do and what they have to offer.
- Self Regulation – If you’re not in control of your emotions, you can become combative in the workplace or resistant to change. Those who can control their emotions, however, avoid the temptation to indulge impulses, take responsibility for their own actions, adapt well in the face of change, and are open to new ideas.
- Motivation – Those who are unmotivated rarely meet goals. However, motivated individuals are constantly striving to improve, to meet the next milestone. They are also less likely to get discouraged when faced with setbacks or opposition. Motivated individuals make great salespeople and are often the morale boosters of an organization.
- Empathy – Empathy is the ability to recognize how people feel and how your actions can affect them. Those with empathy are perfect for the service sector, and they also make great mediators and negotiators. Since they can pick up on how others feel, they are in a better position to motivate them.
- Social Skills – Social skills are important regardless of what type of career you have. Successful people communicate effectively. Great communicators are needed for conflict management, team management, leadership roles, and tasks where cooperation is necessary.
As you can see, there are several areas where your EQ determines how successful you’ll become in the workplace. You can also see how these five categories can affect your personal life as well. In a world where most knowledge is only a Google search away, emotional intelligence has taken on greater significance, and we’re likely to continue to see employers looking for these skills rather than technical knowledge. Which truly makes emotional intelligence more important than IQ in today’s world.
 Bressert, S. (2007). “What Is Emotional Intelligence (EQ)?” Psych Central. http://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-emotional-intelligence-eq/0001037