EQ 101: A Different Sort of Clever

Why do smart people do stupid things sometimes? It’s a question that had researchers stumped until an American Psychologist named Daniel Goleman popularised a new concept in the 1980s. The theory suggested that there were two measurable forms of intelligence: IQ and EQ.

You’ll probably have heard of the first – general intelligence, or IQ. This is a measurement of our ability to process and register information. IQ accounts for two-thirds of the variance in students’ school exam results, and predicts how well people will handle complicated and unexpected challenges. If you have a high IQ, there’s a good chance you’ll do well in school – which means more options will be available to you when you start your job hunt.

So, general intelligence can open doors, but what happens once you’re over the threshold? To navigate the workplace, you’ll need emotional intelligence as well. EQ relates to your ability to process and recognise the emotions of others, and your own. It’s a vital skill for life – and the office in particular – because you need a certain level of emotional intelligence in order to navigate social situations without rubbing people the wrong way. 

Some psychologists reckon emotional intelligence might be more important than IQ – but that’s a controversial point. For one thing, how do we measure EQ? It’s subjective. Also, whilst IQ is very difficult to change, EQ can be developed – so we shouldn’t really compare them.

Still, it’s hard to deny that many people are academically brilliant but socially inept – and that’s probably due to a high IQ and low EQ. Similarly, there are plenty of absurdly successful people who didn’t do at all well in school, but have a magic touch when it comes to dealing with people. Emotional intelligence plays a huge part in being a good leader, so it’s something a lot of companies are taking the time to evaluable before making a hire – and we can expect this to become even more important as we move into a future with robots who still can’t make small talk or calm down an irate customer. 

Keen to develop your own EQ score? Discover how The Employability Experts can help you take your career to the next level.