Emotional Quotient (EQ) versus Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

Emotional Quotient (EQ) versus Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

An Intelligence Quotient (IQ) measures a person’s intelligence. IQ involves measuring the brain and its capabilities with things like math and logic. A person’s IQ can be developed over time. Think back to when you started elementary school. How much intelligence did you have? Now think about today. How much do you think your IQ has developed over the years? IQ is also thought of as a way to measure a person’s level of potential ability.

People with a high IQ tend to excel at problem solving. They can often figure out the best solution to highly complex situations. A person who has a high IQ has a high level of knowledge gained throughout their career and has a wide range of skills. Organizations, in the past, have tended to gravitate towards people with a high IQ, high levels of experience and qualifications ensuring successful leadership and management. However, we now know today that having a high IQ is not absolute. Leaders and managers must also have emotional intelligence (EI), which is measured by an emotional quotient (EQ).

Keep in mind that IQ is a measurement tool of intelligence while EQ is a measurement tool of emotional intelligence, or EI. Emotional intelligence is the skill and ability to recognize one’s own emotions, the impact of those emotions on others, and empathy – being able to identify and understand the emotions of another person. Measuring a person’s EI means to measure their ability to control their emotions.

Emotional Intelligence

People positively react to and follow those with high EI. It’s an important skill that can be learned and with practice can become second nature. Self-managing one’s own emotions, thoughts, and actions are a part of EI. Having the ability to stay calm under pressure or during high-stress situations is a skill that should be developed to manage your emotions, as this provides better decision-making during these situations. Plus, others recognize this ability to manage during stressful times and will follow the person that can positively lead under pressure.


Empathy, an element of emotional intelligence, is the capacity to understand the perspectives and opinions of others. An empathetic person listens to seek understanding, not merely to respond. No one likes to be misunderstood, particularly in the workplace, thus an active attempt to understand someone helps you build a rapport with them. Further, if you truly understand another person’s perspective, you are better equipped to communicate effectively with them.


Self-awareness refers to modifying your behavior to interact successfully with others. It’s challenging to successfully interact with others if one is not aware of their actions, mannerisms, and communication styles and how it may impact others. Modifying behavior to interact successfully with others can only happen with careful reflection and awareness, which can help to reduce tension in the workplace.

Another way to define emotional intelligence is that it is the ability of an individual to recognize their own emotions as well as the emotions of others (hence emotional intelligence). Further, it entails being able to distinguish between different feelings and to use emotional information effectively to guide thinking and behavior. Part of emotional intelligence includes the ability to self-assess and incorporate this self-assessment into your awareness of emotions – are you aware of your feelings as well as those of others? Do you know what those feelings mean and what the basis is for those feelings? Understanding the answers to these questions enables a person to tap into positive feelings to lead effectively. Further, it aids an individual to recognize negative emotions and establish an appropriate strategy to handle those feelings. This skill becomes the basis for developing competency in situational awareness and can be powerful for leading.

EQ and IQ in the Workplace

While there has been debate as to which is more important in the workplace, EQ or IQ, it is undeniable that EQ is a key element that distinguishes exceptional performers from those less than outstanding. TalentSmart (Schweitzer, 2015) found EQ to be the strongest predictor of work performance with 58% of success in all fields contributed to EQ. When thinking about it, EQ involves the ability of social awareness and relationship management and this means being able to handle workplace relationships well. It also infers having the ability to work well with others in the workplace, which involves being able to lead others and manage teams.

When hiring for a position, it is essential to know what skills are most important and when “people skills” count the most. When you think about brilliant people with a high IQ, but have a low EQ they are often awkward when it comes to working with people. However, put them in a think tank, and they will make the earth move. Each job has different aspects, which will determine whether a strong leader, a strong manager, or a strong physical person is selected for the job.

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