Apparently EQ is more important than IQ (I am ranting here)

Have you ever read something, and it was just like – are you kidding me – doesn’t everyone know that. Seriously, why do we have to spend time and money on research at our major institutions that tells us what actually happens on planet Earth.  

I read an article by Big Think recently, that just blew me away. I feel like the article added some value, but the title just caused me to do a very conspicuous eye roll. It detailed some studies that stated that Emotional Quotient is more important than Intelligence Quotient (Credit: Big Think: https://bigthink.com/the-learning-curve/emotional-intelligence-at-work/). I feel like most people know this…  

I am doing research (at Masters level) at the moment, in the leadership space, and what it takes to lead under pressure. I have spent a year just reviewing literature and pulling together a research strategy. I get how much time and effort goes into researching stuff.  

Then, I see research papers, and even meta studies (studies of a heap of studies – that take even longer btw) that could have the title that says something like this: ‘You should know this, we have spent a fortune researching it, but here is some data anyway that just simply states the obvious.’ 

Or maybe I am missing something. And am very happy to be educated on why this is ground-breaking research.  

In the interest of being positive, and reframing this article to something you can use, and to provide content that is practical, here is an overview of this article, and some tips on how you can improve your EQ. 

1. IQ is important; but what is yours 

“Intelligence as measured by an IQ test — that is, general intelligence — does correlate with beneficial life outcomes, such as educational attainment and life expectancy.” 

Yes, very true, agree. And there is research out now that demonstrates that just having an education, or a qualification of some sort, will even help you stave off the impacts of dementia and other forms of cognitive degeneration. Good to know, though if you ask Jordan Peterson, he will tell you that brain training doesn’t work to help your memory. I feel like it has to, but that is just me. 

Intelligence comes in different forms, too, there are different types of intelligence. For example, we can be high in linguistic intelligence, spatial Intelligence, musical Intelligence, bodily-kinaesthetic Intelligence, and intrapersonal Intelligence, amongst others (credit: Howard Gardner). So, you can increase your intelligence in a range of ways. 

The intelligence discussion typically turns to numbers. Measuring it. Categorising people, based on their IQ. Yes, you can do an IQ test. Not many people do, though. Most people rely on the Dunning Kruger effect (when a person’s lack of knowledge and skills in a certain area cause them to overestimate their own competence). Which is normal. It is human. 

I love the concept of IQ, and I feel like we should measure it, so we can work hard on improving it over time. Fun fact, though – if IQ can be measured, and that gets us started or improves our life, but EQ is actually more important – why don’t we measure that? Before you say that we can’t, we actually can. If you are going to measure your IQ, measure your EQ too. If you want to measure your EQ, please reach out, we can provide you with a detailed EQ profile, based on Daniel Goleman’s model. 

What gets measured, gets managed, and what gets managed, gets multiplied. 

2. EQ is more important; much more important, and it is important to learn 

“In other words, the vast majority — more than 80 percent — of general competencies that set apart superior from average performers depend on emotional intelligence” (Credit: Daniel Goleman). 

So, our business has been training the topics of EQ for between 10 and 15 years. We love the Daniel Goleman model (if you haven’t researched it, Google it for sure). That model, of self-awareness and self-regulation on the left, and social awareness and social regulation on the right hand side of the matrix, rocks. It really does. And it is so easy to apply.  

Unless you can’t put a name on your emotional state that is. And there are people that can’t (it is called having alexithymia – a condition that impacts people’s ability to name their emotional state). The vast majority of the population can name their emotion, and given that there are only six basic human emotions (fear, anger, joy, sadness, disgust, and surprise), it is not too difficult for most.  

Here is a pro tip, though. And this helps people when we are training this – instead of trying to name your emotion, just name your state. Name what you are experiencing overall, not just the emotion. Once you can name it, you can regulate it (not control it, regulate it). And use your state to your advantage (positive or negative). 

The next level pro tip is to get to the point where you can think fast and talk slow. Which means to be aware of what others are experiencing when they are with us. And not triggering the emotional state of others. That is true EQ.  

3. EQ as an ability

“Emotional intelligence is generally seen in one of two ways: either as a trait or an ability. ”  

In other words, if you are born with it, ie, if you have had a high EQ since birth, you can thank nature (trait). If you have developed your EQ skills, you have been nurtured (or nurtured it yourself), it has become an ability. 

In saying that, if EQ is an ability, which I 100% believe that it is, you must be able to learn it. There is no reason for neurotypical humans not to work on their EQ. And it is actually easier (in the humble opinion of this author) that EQ is easier to improve than IQ. After all, most people deal with other humans every day – you get plenty of opportunities.  

If you do nothing else, consider these two things, know your triggers so that you can know what impacts your emotional state, and demonstrate empathy so that you can understand the emotional state of others. 

In summary, EQ is more important than IQ. In case you didn’t know that. 

Here is an even more succinct summary. Work on your EQ. 

And please click the image below if you’d like to chat about what leadership means to you.

If you would like to learn more about Anton or The Guinea Group, please click hereto book into Anton’s calendar, to:

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About Anton

Anton has dedicated his working life to helping leaders to upgrade their mindset, upskill their leadership, and uplift their teams! With a focus on helps leaders to better lead under pressure. Anton is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, bestselling author and founder of The Guinea Group. Over the past 19 years, Anton has worked with over 175+ global organisations, he has inspired workplace leadership, safety, and cultural change. He’s achieved this by combining his corporate expertise, education (Bachelor of HR and Psychology), and infectious energy levels.
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