IQ Versus EQ in the Workplace

Reading time:  4 Minutes

Is your team in need of a quiet problem solver or an empathetic ear? Understanding how to assess IQ and EQ will help you decide – and reap the rewards.
The most effective CEOs make good use of both their intelligence quotient (IQ) and their emotional quotient (EQ). The eloquence, good memory and capacity for learning indicated by a high IQ are attributes that you would expect any prominent business leader to possess. However, EQ is equally important. An executive’s ability to read body language accurately and tune into the emotional state of others can make the difference between winning or losing a deal. So what’s the best way to reflect on the respective strengths of these measures? 
The makings of a leader 
A successful leader needs to be at ease switching between emotionally driven decisions and purely intellectual ones. Analytical work, such as developing a profit and loss model, should be carried out without bias or personal preference. On the other hand, when you’re winning over new clients, the methodical side needs to take a back seat in favor of evaluating their emotional state and understanding what matters most to them. Success in the role isn’t determined by IQ or EQ alone, but by an awareness that each factor brings new layers of understanding to every situation.
Those with high IQs are creative problem solvers who can think quickly and constructively in order to determine the best course of action – important attributes for senior management in a company. They are able to accurately weigh the advantages and disadvantages of complex situations and make nuanced decisions. As a result, they can lead teams to exceed targets and become more productive. 
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 reports that every one-point increase in EQ adds $1,300 to an employee’s yearly salary across all industries, markets and roles. Call center agents, salespeople and counselors are all better at their jobs if they have a high EQ score. However, research in the Journal of Applied Psychology reveals that high EQ produces lower performance in fields such as accounting and technology, where tasks are likely to involve more calculation than conversation. In this type of job, workers who are able to distance themselves from emotional concerns are more efficient and successful.
Building teams with brains and hearts
Staff members with high EQs can be great at engaging and motivating their less socially adept colleagues, but may not be as naturally creative or innovative as others on the team. On the flip side, workers with high IQs might deliver excellent insights and solutions, but struggle to integrate and collaborate with colleagues unless they are properly understood and supported.
People with high IQs are good at absorbing new information and thinking on their feet, but that doesn’t mean that they’re always geniuses. While it may be the most commonly used test for intelligence, Mensa warns that the IQ measure is “often confused with knowledge, wisdom, memory or a myriad of other attributes.” Even people with extremely high IQs may struggle to solve problems or think laterally, while people with lower IQs may be able to make unexpected contributions by drawing on their life experience or technical skill set.
Whether you’re hiring a line manager or looking to further develop your own professional skill set, EQ can make the difference between narrowly missing the mark and exceeding all expectations. Strong leaders are able to bond well with their team and can empathize with their struggles – both of which come naturally to people with high EQs. In order to build a highly effective team, it is crucial to look for a healthy balance between the two quotients. Weave this into your recruitment process by integrating behavior-based questions related to self-awareness and relationship management into your initial interviews.
Using IQ and EQ to understand your team 
An awareness of IQ and EQ can help you to get the best out of the individuals that make up a team. If you use these measures to identify where your staff members’ strengths lie, you will be able to mitigate their shortcomings and capitalize on their strengths more effectively. For example, it’s natural for high-IQ workers to sometimes struggle with self-expression, even though their ideas are worth shouting about. By the same token, it might be difficult to quantify the value of the office "good guy" if you don’t look beyond KPIs, but his ability to draw his shy teammates out during discussions is a useful skill. Keeping EQ and IQ in mind helps you to consider and articulate the subtleties of your team’s dynamics, allowing you to lead more effectively and achieve the outcomes that you desire.
On the surface, we’re all familiar with the stereotypes surrounding high-IQ and high-EQ workers. However, managers too often overlook one of these measures when assessing and motivating their teams. Ultimately, appreciating the differences between the two types of intelligence and utilizing this information to manage individuals and teams gives everyone the best chance of excelling in their roles. 
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