This essay presents a comparative research on the two different metrics used to measure the people’s capabilities. These are the intelligence quotient (IQ) and the emotional IQ, or emotional quotient (EQ). Whereas the two quotients are similar in that they are commonly used to assess peoples’ performance, the IQ and EQ in fact pertain to the different abilities of the human brain.
The components of these metrics and their implication for professional development and private life are examined in the research. Namely, the paper presents the specific evidence from the research on how the emotional intelligence contributes to employees’ professional performance and peoples’ day-to-day interactions. By contrast, IQ metric, used as a traditional benchmark tool, has more relation to academic achievements, rather than competencies that are critical for the communication and interaction outcomes. The paper contains the author’s personal observations and considerations on how IQ and EQ levels affect the daily life.
Two Different Types of IQ: Definitions and Concepts
The intelligence quotient (IQ) represents a popular metric used to assess a person’s capability to handle tasks of high cognitive complexity as well as estimate the potential for academic achievements. For a century or more, IQ tests were deployed excessively in school and job screenings to assess logical reasoning and intelligence; often they are still a prerequisite for rising to top job rankings.
The concept of emotional quotient (EQ), or emotional IQ, was developed in 1990-s. It served to solve the curious anomaly suggested by empirical findings: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. There is also a popular anecdotal evidence of low IQ scores obtained by the people who achieved highest academic results or showed great success in their career. This observation is explained by the fact that people with average IQ often possess some other distinguishing characteristics that drive their success. These skills will be considered in more details in the sections below.
While IQ is certainly a desirable characteristic, it is certainly not the crucial factor of success, nor is solely EQ, as recent studies showed. Rather the overall human performance remains a complex phenomenon, where IQ, emotional EQ, personality, and environment each play a significant role.
Intelligence quotient is generally measured with the following characteristics (obtained from IQ Test Experts): verbal intelligence, mathematical ability, pattern recognition and spatial reasoning skills, skills related to visualization and perception, logical reasoning skills. IQ is a standardized important metric of intellectual capabilities and academic potential. The drawbacks inherent to this model remained largely unnoticed for decades, and the IQ benchmarks were used extensively without regard for social, cultural or demographic differences.
Verbal intelligence block tests how familiar a person is with proverbs, how he or she solves verbal puzzles, the ability to find analogies, antonyms, synonyms etc. Logical reasoning questions are related to the concepts which are used in our daily life.
While the former sections have more relation to the way people act and behave, and are a necessary complimentary element to our daily emotional intelligence, mathematical components of IQ test only the ability to fill missing numbers or detect series, and solve puzzles. The visualization, spatial recognition have more to do with the capability to deal with abstract objects and concepts. Pattern recognition is attributed to have the most correlation with general intelligence (see IQ Test Experts).
Components of Emotional IQ
By contrast, emotional IQ is related to the way people act in the social environment, which makes this concept largely different to IQ, which is related to intellect. To continue the story of high IQ not correlating directly with performance, it is necessary to briefly review the common conflict of a hiring CEO and his top-graded, but poorly performing MBA professionals. It provides a valuable comment on the nature of emotional intelligence, as opposed to IQ: “As long as those super-smart MBAs are working by themselves, their IQ and self-mastery makes them high performers”. This is an evidence that there are several elements that drive high performance, including, first of all, intellectual abilities (IQ), than the ability to identify and control your own emotions, and the last (perhaps the most important) is the way how people manage their behavior and relations with other people.
There are four principal components of EQ, which can be grouped in the two categories mentioned by Goleman. These two groups are personal competence, comprised of self-awareness and self-management, and social competence, comprised of social awareness and relationship management. There are measured with such abilities as self-regard, independence, drive for achievement, empathy, social responsibility, impulse control, stress tolerance, reality-testing, flexibility, self-motivation, optimism (EQ-i).
There are multiple types of EQ tests, from a simplified 10-question version to a complex study which takes up to 1 hour to complete. The questions of EQ tests also show the way EQ differs from IQ: they do not imply a specific correct answer, rather it is a set of subjective judgments related to a person’s assessment of self-abilities, behavioral aspects, identification and expression of emotions.
Emotional intelligence is related to behavior and impacts greatly our daily actions and decisions. It is a key area of our abilities, and it is very different from IQ in that it related to our private life and personal relations, whereas IQ influences mostly the academic and career achievements. In a Forbes column a neurology-based background on how IQ and EQ work together in the human brain was presented by Bradberry. Namely, emotional intelligence is developed in the interaction between the rational and emotional centers of the brain, which is possible due to the ability of the brain called ‘plasticity’. Most importantly, it implies that it is possible to train the brain and increase emotional IQ. Among the practices are the continuous training to make more deep observations, ask questions, pay attention to own emotions, notice differences in own and others’ behavior, and carefully examine nonverbal signs. These concepts were brought up by other experts as well, with multiple types of intelligence described and discussed, such as “body intelligence” or “moral intelligence”.
The next section presents some research data that proves the importance of emotional IQ for interpersonal and professional performance and contrasts the implications of emotional intelligence with that of a more common IQ index.
Validity and Reliability of the Two Concepts
With the development of EQ research it became clear that no single metric of IQ can be a principal factor to predict people’s performance. In current academic and professional environment the IQ is acting more like a conventional prerequisite, a necessary screening that shows a person’s technical competence. However IQ by itself does not guarantee the high performance compared to other people. According to the study of Carnegie Institute of Technology, only 15% of financial success can be attributed to technical skills measured by IQ. In his research, underlying a popular book on emotional intelligence, Bradberry states that “the link between emotional intelligence and earnings is so direct that every point increase in emotional intelligence adds $1,300 to an annual salary”.
The study performed by Cherniss showed 19 different statistics-based cross-cultural cases that proved that employees with higher EQ scores generally performed better in terms of productivity, profits, and loyalty to the company. Namely, the senior executives and consulting partners who showed stronger emotional intelligence competencies delivered more than twofold revenues; they also demonstrated much higher “success rate”, in terms of the general business performance evaluation and expert estimates from their partners. Specialists in the medium-complexity jobs, in particular those who are communicating with people on a daily basis (recruiters, sales representatives, insurance agents, supervisors, debt collectors etc.), presented the ability to drive revenues and productivity by 30% up to hundreds of percent of incremental increase. They also were subject to less turnover and higher loyalty. Among the characteristics studied, leadership, achievement drive and ability to handle changes were identified as especially important for senior executives, whereas self-confidence, empathy, initiative, optimism, and self-control were generally important for all positions. Still, the research is appealing in that it does not underrate the importance of technical competence and cognitive ability (measured via IQ scores), which contribute to about one third of performance.
While in the recent years the concept of emotional intelligence became increasingly popular and received a lot of positive feedback in media, the exact implications of these competencies are subject to the personality, specifics of interrelations, and particular situation. An experimental study by Kyoto University showed that emotionally intelligent people may demonstrate excessive self-concentration and retaliation, which drive them to “manipulate others' behaviors to suit their own interest, rather than achieving general prosocial outcomes”.
Impact of IQ Skills in Our Life
With regard to our life, I feel an increasing importance of soft skills represented by emotional IQ. It is very important to establish good contact with people and handle complex situations that we nowadays are facing more and more often. I consider emotional intelligence to be a most important factor that drives relationships, and it is also valuable for establishing good professional competencies in most of the jobs. Although there are many abilities I possess already, there is yet plenty room for improvement here, and it will be a continuing life-long mission.
To develop emotional IQ is more difficult and at the same time more simple than conventional IQ. For example, one fact that diminishes the value of IQ metric is that there have been already multiple detailed strategies to pass the IQ tests. If you studied these ‘manuals’ or at least answered the test questions once, it is much easier to cope with them repeatedly. Generally, a high IQ score might even indicate that the person with a good memory just passed the test several times already. In itself, this is a piece of evidence that suggests the person’s high intellectual and cognitive abilities. However one cannot rely on comparison of the IQ levels anymore, as it was practiced in the previous years. That is why IQ scores should be considered as an academic benchmark you need to reach, and they have less relation to the way people perform in our real life.
Despite the similarity in the names and the allusion to intellectual skills, the terms IQ and EQ pertain to the different categories of peoples’ abilities. IQ represents a conventional benchmark tool to measure the peoples’ ability to think logically and handle complex problems. The elements of IQ metric pertain more to academic achievements and describe a limited scope of intellectual abilities. They cannot be viewed as a single metric indicating the intelligence of a person. By contrast, EQ has limited relation to the intellect, in the common understanding of the term. Instead, EQ characterizes the abilities and competencies that people use to handle emotions of their own and other people as well as to manage their behavior. Neither of two characteristics can be used exclusively to assess the people’s potential with regard to education, career or personal goals; rather, they are complemented with other skills to form a comprehensive picture of peoples’ capabilities.