EQ versus IQ in the workplace
Every business out there is looking for the competitive edge. Every employer wants the best employees – the hardest working, the most reliable, the most co-operative colleagues. While this has usually been picked and determined by the IQ level of a person applying for a job (a measurement of cognitive ability), many businesses are starting to look at other qualities, and in particular EQ or emotional intelligence.
What is the difference between the two and how can employers benefit from recruiting differently and thinking outside the box?
Two psychology professors , John Mayer (University of New Hampshire) and Peter Salovey (Yale University), discovered the concept of EQ back in 1987 when they realised that good decision making and other employable skills depend on more than just the intellect of a person.
This theory was explored further by Dan Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ (1995). He concludes that leaders use ‘people skills’ in the workplace to build relationships, respond effectively to the needs of others and are in tune with their own emotions. He defined EQ as the ability to recognize, understand, use and manage emotions in oneself and in others.
And the good news for all of us? Unlike IQ, EQ can be taught, learnt and developed.
So what qualities does somebody with a high EQ possess?
- Self awareness (intra-personal) – a knowledge and understanding of their personal strengths and weaknesses and in tune with their own emotions
- Empathy (inter-personal) – An understanding of others
- Self control (stress management) – Thinking before acting
- Optimism (mood) – an ability to see the ‘cup half full’
- Adaptability – be grounded and realistic rather than a ‘dreamer’
The more of these qualities you possess, the higher your EQ and all of these qualities can be developed. While our personalities are unique to us as an individual, emotional intelligence is not.
In the workplace, having a high EQ means making decisions based on the needs of yourself and others, playing by the rules but challenging yourself and making a success of your endeavours. While it does not necessarily mean that you will be a higher achiever, those with a high EQ will be easier to work with, more productive in a team and help with the overall mood of a workplace. In other words, many employers are starting to appreciate a higher EQ compared with a higher IQ to help their workplaces flourish.