Does your EQ match your IQ?


For a long time, IQ has been the way that we measure the intelligence of a person. But in recent years, it’s become clear that a person’s IQ score does not demonstrate their emotional intelligence – a core competency of inclusive leadership and a key to a successful career.

Let’s firstly take a look at what both IQ and EQ are:


  • The first intelligence test was developed in 1904, by Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, as way of measuring the intelligence of school children.
  • The actual word IQ (Intelligence Quotient) was coined in 1912 by German psychologist William Stern.
  • The average IQ is around 100, and according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the smartest person in the world is Marilyn vos Savant who scored 185.
  • Yet people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This contradicted the view that many people had always had: that IQ was the sole source of success.

EQ (or Emotional Quotient, EQ).

  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) refers to the ability of an individual to recognise, understand, empathise and react to how people, including oneself, are feeling.
  • The term was coined in 1990 a research paper by two psychology professors, John D. Mayer of UNH and Peter Salovey of Yale.
  • In a book by Steven J. Stein, Ph.D. and Howard E. Book, M.D called: The EQ Edge, they define EQ as:

“Emotional Quotient is the set of skills that enable us to make our way in a complex world — the personal, social and survival aspects of overall intelligence, the elusive common sense and sensitivity that are essential to effective daily functioning. It has to do with the ability to read the political and social environment, and landscape them; to intuitively grasp what others want and need, what strengths and weaknesses are; to remain unruffled by stress; and to be engaging. The kind of person others want to be around and will follow.”

So it seems that whilst IQ is a good measure of a person’s intelligence, EQ is a better measure of practical life skills that are required to be a good leader.

Let’s take a closer look at the core elements of emotional intelligence, which are also required to be an effective inclusive leader.

1. Self awareness – you understand your own strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and you are open to constructive criticism. You are able to separate from negative thoughts to break the cycle of negativity and move towards a positive outlook. Leaders don’t get to have bad days – you are always optimistic. You are grateful and appreciate what you have now, you have ambitions and goals for the future but that doesn’t mean you’re not happy with what you have at present. You understand that perfection doesn’t really exist. Whilst you push your team to perform at their best, you don’t hold it against them for not achieving perfection.
2. Self-regulation – you are good at deciding what emotions to show and when, you know when to exercise restraint and to maintain control. You are good at dealing with difficult people and situations, because you can keep your emotions in check, and you take a rational look at things from both sides. You get a good amount of sleep, because you understand that you won’t function as well without this essential recharging time. You maintain a good work/life balance and know the importance of disconnecting to have time for yourself and your family.
3. Motivation – you have inner ambition that keeps you motivated. You are the master of your own happiness, and your self-worth comes from within. You embrace change and are adaptable to the many new situations that you face on a daily basis as a leader.
4. Empathy – you express compassion and understanding towards your team. You do this in a genuine way and it comes naturally to you. You don’t believe in holding a grudge against people, partly because you know it’s no good to hold on to that stress and negativity, but also because you understand that everyone deserves a second chance.
5. People skills – you are good at building a strong rapport with your team and gaining their trust. You enjoy the company of other people and you are a good judge of character. You’re generous in nature and remember ‘the small things’ about the people you meet, and by asking them how their family is you soon build a strong relationship.

In 1998, Rutgers psychologist, Daniel Goleman, established the importance of emotional intelligence to business leadership:

“Human competencies like self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy add value to cognitive abilities in many domains of life, from workplace effectiveness and leadership to health and relationships.”

If you look at the core categories of emotional intelligence as outlined above, these are synonymous with inclusive leadership. As Goleman concludes, good leaders possess a high degree of emotional intelligence.

According to TalentSmart, EQ makes up 58% of a leaders job performance, 90% of top performers possess high levels of EQ, and just 20% of low performers have high EQ. Emotional intelligence can also be developed throughout your life, and skills in these areas can be improved upon.

EQ is a fundamental part of being a good leader, if you want to find out more about the ‘how to’ of inclusive leadership, talk to us today.

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