IQ or EQ? Why Both Matter

By Margie Chiang 2022-08-06 17:23:44

Learn the difference between IQ and EQ, and why both are important

As an education coach, parents often ask me, “Which is more important for my child’s success? Intelligence Quotient (IQ) or Emotional Quotient (EQ)?”

I pause before answering. My leadership development background has provided the opportunity to work with executives who have evolved to become successful leaders in business. I consider the long-term perspective, given that life success is a function of many factors.

Both IQ and EQ play roles in overall success, as well as health, wellness and happiness. Instead of weighing which has a more dominant influence, the greatest benefit manifests through learning to improve skills in multiple areas. This dovetails with many USA universities’ mindset of welcoming multi-faceted, comprehensive students who not only demonstrate academic prowess but also leadership in their passions and in community service. 

What is IQ and EQ?

IQ, intelligence quotient, is a quantity derived from a standardized intelligence test. This number shares how far above or below their peer group people stand in mental ability. In all cases, the peer group’s average score or average IQ is 100.

Those who are geniuses have a very high intelligence quotient. Experts believe that Albert Einstein had an IQ of between 160 and 180. People with a score of at least 140 are considered to be geniuses.

IQ  demonstrates abilities such as:

  • Logical reasoning

  • Knowledge of the world
  • Visual and spatial processing

  • Working memory and short-term memory

  • Quantitative reasoning

EQ, emotional quotient, refers to a person's ability to evaluate, manage and express emotions. Researchers such as John Mayer and Peter Salovey, as well as psychologist and author Daniel Goleman, have espoused emotional intelligence, catapulting the concept into education and business management.    

EQ demonstrates abilities such as:

  • Identifying emotions

  • Evaluating how others feel

  • Managing one's own emotions

  • Empathizing with others

  • Leveraging emotions to facilitate communications

In the past, IQ was considered as the only determinant of success. The assumption was that high IQ individuals were destined for accomplished lives. Yet critics began to realize that a high IQ does not guarantee life success. IQ is a narrow concept that does not fully appreciate the breadth and complexity of human abilities. With that being said, IQ is still recognized as an important element of success, particularly when it comes to academic achievement. But today experts recognize that IQ is not the only variable that determines life success.                                                                                                                                          

Since Goleman mainstreamed emotional intelligence, the importance of EQ has become widely validated, especially in the world of business. As an article from Fast Company by Deutschendorf put it, “While the question of which is more important, IQ or EQ, is often asked, the answer is quite complex and not particularly helpful. It is like asking which is more important, the heart or the lungs. They are both important, and the more relevant question might be, how they are important, and to what degree are they connected to each other?”

Goleman shares that IQ may help us get the job from a technical competency level but it is our EQ that helps us advance throughout our careers. As we progress, our tasks shift us from participant to leader. In a leadership role, it is imperative that we are able to connect with others to accomplish goals. Nobel prize-winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman believes that we buy from people we trust and may even pay more for the psychological safety of working with someone we trust. Studies on the success of sales people have validated this. Much of our success in life comes from an authentic ability to connect with others.

Can EQ be learned? Absolutely. 

“Strategies for teaching emotional intelligence include character education, modeling positive behaviors, encouraging people to think about how others are feeling, and finding ways to be more empathetic toward others,” according to an article by Cherry from Verywell Mind's website. 

Concentrated programs such as the “Born @ Google Search Inside Yourself (SIY)” workshop occurring every December in the American Chamber of Commerce office in Shanghai can also help folks increase self-awareness as well as understanding of the impact of our communications with others.

Both IQ and EQ play roles in overall success, as well as health, wellness and happiness.  Instead of weighing which has more dominant influence, the greatest benefit manifests through learning to improve skills in multiple areas.