According to Dr. Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence, many psychologists would argue that EQ (Emotional Intelligence Quotient) trumps IQ as a more holistic measure of the scope of human intelligence (Goleman).
IQ is a quantitative measure of a person’s ability to learn and understand factual information. It can be useful in tracking intellectual development, as it is often calculated considering a person’s chronological age. People with a high IQ tend to do well in school have high academic achievements (Cherry). For a long time, IQ was considered one of the main predictors of success.
It is turning out, however, that IQ is not all that it’s cracked up to be. It is measured in isolation from real life, where the emotions play a significant role in most outcomes. A person’s cognitive function and ability to make sound decisions can be severely compromised if they are feeling stressed, anxious, or rushed (Thompson).
But, if a person is able to stay calm and alert using emotional control, they can function at their full capacity. Their circuits are free from worries and they can think clearly, learn quickly, and come up with creative insight.
Emotional intelligence is the future of intelligence quotients. It is a qualitative measure of a person’s ability to understand emotions and use cognitive skills. People with a high EQ tend to have a good understanding of their own emotions and those of others which gives them a high capacity for reasoning and relating to other people.
People with high EI also harbor a developed sense of self-discipline. This enables them to be poised negotiators and leaders. Studies show that emotional intelligence can affect the bottom line and effectiveness at work. EI competencies also outweigh both IQ and experience in top performers (Stone).
A forty year follow-up study of 80 Ph. D. graduates from Berkley showed that social and emotional abilities were four times better than IQ for predicting professional success (Feist). Emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence, but rather an ability to combine the use of facts and feelings (Jensen).
THE IMPORTANCE OF EI TODAY
In today’s digital age, it can be easy to assume that success is determined by how well you navigate technology or how many accolades you’ve received. As we’ve discussed, however, emotional intelligence has a big role to play as well.
Clear and effective communication is very important for garnering success in almost any industry. There is less visual feedback from the people we communicate with electronically, so success requires finesse. Choosing to have just a few extra minutes of face time with a client dedicated to understanding their needs and yours, and how they relate to each other, can make the difference between doing business together or not.
Exercises of emotional control and awareness can be helpful for people of all ages in helping to reach their full potential. There are several methods for improving EI.
- Make a marked effort to reduce stress with calming thoughts or rituals. This can be as simple as taking a deep breath. Being calm can prevent unnecessary reactiveness.
- Work on developing an awareness of one’s internal moment-to-moment emotional state can be useful as well. Try writing down your feelings and a quick note about their causes in a journal for a few days and see if you recognize any patterns in the experiencing of negative emotions.
- It’s important to remember that non-verbal communication such as body language and facial expressions can be used to communicate just as much, or in some cases, more than words.
- Maintain a sense of humor and try to lighten up in difficult situations. If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with frustration. Take a deep breath and acknowledge that negative emotions are not problem-solvers. If anything, they prevent you from finding a solution.
- Emotional intelligence is also very important for maintaining harmony in one’s personal life. Part of EI is learning to see conflicts from the other person’s point of view. You’ll grow your emotional intelligence every time you take the initiative to forgive or resolve a conflict in a positive way (Stone).
Though there is a lot to be said for IQ, it seems that a high IQ does not go far without the help of a well-developed emotional intelligence. Many people with a high IQ assume they are reaching their potential for success because of their smarts. What they don’t realize is how much better they could be doing if they spent time developing the EI as well.
No matter what your goals are in life, everyone can benefit from practicing and developing their emotional intelligence.
1. Goleman, D. (n.d.). Emotional Intelligence.
2. Cherry, Kendra. “IQ or EQ: Which One Is More Important?” About.com Psychology. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014. .
3. Thompson, H. (2010). The Stress Effect. Why smart leaders make dumb decisions. Jossey Bass.
4. Stone, Carol, ed. “Emotional Intelligence: EQ vs. IQ.” Bard Value Analysis & Standardization (2009): n. pag. C. R. Bard, Inc. Web. 4 Mar. 2014.
5. Feist, G.J. and Barron, F. (1996). Emotional intelligence and academic intelligence in career and life success. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Society, San Francisco, June.
6. Jensen, K. (2012). Intelligence is overrated: What you really need to succeed. Forbes.