Emotional Intelligence: Is EQ the new IQ?

Apr 23, 2015

Let’s begin by defining the two terms:

IQ: is a number derived from a standardized intelligence test

EQ: is a measure of a person’s level of emotional intelligence. This refers to a person’s ability to perceive, control, evaluate and express emotions.

Emotional intelligence has become a hot topic in the world of business and education. Since the early 1990’s emotional intelligence has moved from a fluffy, obscure concept to a well researched and popular term today. According to Forbes magazine, in the mid 1990’s Emotional Intelligence began to serve as a missing link in a peculiar finding where people with average IQ’s outperformed those with the highest IQ’s in 70% of cases. Researchers then started to believe that the standard measure of intelligence such as IQ is too narrow and doesn’t measure the full range of human intelligence. This new research threw a curve ball at the established assumption that IQ was the sole source of an individual’s success. Decades of research now points to EQ as a critical factor that sets high performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Studies now suggest that there is no real link between your EQ and your IQ. Your IQ is your innate ability to learn and it is the same at age 13 as it is when you are 30. Emotional intelligence on the other hand is a more flexible set of skill sets that can be learned and improved on with training and practice. Of course some people are born more emotionally intelligent but everyone can learn to develop emotional intelligence which makes it a much more important area of focus in life and business!

Researchers now believe that how people perceive and manage emotions can hugely effect how they fare in their careers and relationships. Indeed some schools in the United States are now including social or emotional learning as part of their curriculums. Psychologists generally agree that IQ counts for roughly 10% of each individuals success, the rest depends on everything else including EQ (Some researchers believe that EQ can account for up to 25 %!). The most interesting part of the new research proves that EQ can be developed and improved! So learning to manage your emotions, particularly when there is pressure and stress, can directly improve or strengthen your performance, leadership skills and even your happiness!

So to what degree can our emotional intelligence affect our professional success? Well the answer seems to be a lot! According to Forbes, there was research completed on emotional intelligence alongside 33 other important workplace skills and the studies found that emotional intelligence is the strongest predictor of performance explaining a full 58% of success in all job types (skills including presentation skills, time management and communication). The report also suggests that EQ “is the single biggest predictor of performance in the workplace and the strongest driver of leadership and personal excellence”. There is now a proven link between emotional intelligence and earning potential and it seems that these findings hold true for people across all types of industries and levels the width of the globe. Interestingly, there are companies that are now starting to use EQ testing as part of their recruitment process as this is now a key factor in recruiting strong business managers. So let’s make sure that we are giving EQ the time and focus that is deserves – for ourselves and the businesses we work in!