By Louise Green

We all know what IQ is. EQ on the other hand, is a measure of a person's level of emotional intelligence. This refers to the personal and social aspects of overall intelligence, the elusive common sense and sensitivity that are essential to our effective daily functioning. It has to do with the ability to read the political and social environment; to intuitively grasp what others want and need; to remain unruffled by stress; and to be engaging. The kind of person others want to be around and will follow (Stein & Book, The EQ Edge).

At one point in time, IQ was viewed as the main determinant of success. People with high IQs were assumed to be the best managers and were destined for a life of high achievement. However, we began to realize that not only was high intelligence no guarantee for success in life, it was also too narrow a concept to account for the wide range of performance in the workplace.

Well (thankfully) we’ve moved on and nowadays we talk of leadership instead of management, and we talk of EQ as well as IQ. In his 1996 book Emotional Intelligence, author Daniel Goleman suggested that EQ might actually be more important than IQ. So just how important is EQ vs IQ? And does a high EQ rating make you a better leader?

DDI have recently been on the case and they have found that both do matter.

The bottom line is that when it comes to the business-focused aspects of leadership performance, such as being business savvy and having financial acumen, brainpower mattered a lot. Conversely, EQ mattered more when it came to people focused competencies such as leading teams and building networks.

Interestingly having influence depended more on IQ rather than EQ. Perhaps winning over colleagues relies on leaders being able to make a strong business case rather than a reliance on interpersonal skills.

"IQ alone is not enough; EQ also matters. In fact, psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else—including EQ.” (Bressert, 2007).

So in summary, both EQ and IQ matter, and today's leader needs both. Leaders deficient in either risk imbalance and/or failure. IQ may be important in certain leadership roles but the ability to work with people and have a high degree of EQ is critical to engage your people. It is therefore recommended that behaviors such as maintaining esteem, empathy, listening, coaching and supporting others be a focus for development in leaders.


Louise's original article appeared on LinkedIn here.

Louise can be contacted here.

Posted in: News

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