• Maud Vanhoutte

EQ vs. IQ — Why emotional intelligence is just as important for success

"As more and more artificial intelligence is entering into the world, more and more emotional intelligence must enter into leadership." — Amit Ray

The difference between emotional intelligence and intellectual quotient

Before 1995 people believed that there was only one source of success in life and business — having a high IQ. The discovery of emotional intelligence exposed the missing link for the mystery: "people with an average IQ outperform those with the highest IQ more than 50% of the time". Here is what you should know about emotional intelligence.


The leading psychologist on emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman presented that emotional intelligence (EQ) is as relevant for success as cognitive intelligence (IQ). He claims that both matter, but in very different ways. IQ relates to the cognitive or intellectual ability required to obtain knowledge and use that knowledge to solve problems. EQ differentiates the high intellectual people between those who have great success and those who do not. EQ represents the bridge between having ideas, including emotions and managing these to the benefit of yourself and others. For example, a high IQ person may have good intentions, but as long as he or she is unable to manage these, there is little chance that those intentions reach their full potential.

IQ vs. EQ

Does emotional intelligence impact your career?

Yes, and more than you think. It is a powerful way to focus your energy to get results. EQ is the foundation of your everyday behaviour; it is a sound time investment.

"Investment in knowledge pays the best interest". — Abraham Lincoln

Daniel Goleman explains that there are four components to emotional intelligence; let us have a closer look at them to understand their impact on your career:


  • Self-awareness means being aware of your individuality — your emotions, strengths, weaknesses, needs and motivations.

Thanks to inner motivation, a self-aware professional is more likely to perform better than a professional who is not. The self-aware person deals with challenging situations by handling his or her emotions effectively.


  • Self-management is the ability to make use of your awareness, so your behaviour becomes manageable.

You can recognise a professional skilled in self-management because they will be more flexible and positive at work. Those professionals will be able to stay in control when confronted with disruptive impulses through negative emotions.


  • Social-awareness refers to the ability of accurately picking up on others' emotions and thought processes.

A professional who senses others' emotions and thoughts will be able to recognise and meet others' needs. And, use this information accordingly in the workplace.


  • Relationship-management is your ability to manage interpersonal interactions successfully — to develop, to influence, and to collaborate.

Great leaders and managers excel in relationship-management; they can develop, empower, inspire, and motivate others.

Quadrant of the emotional intelligence elements

Personal ability

A self-aware person is conscious about their actions, feelings and capabilities. By investing time into understanding who you are, you will gain emotional awareness and self-confidence. A returning feature that you will see in any confident person is that they know their strengths and limitations. They can exploit their strengths and work on their weaknesses through self-management. Managing yourself means taking the initiative and control over your actions that follow after dealing with your emotions. Gaining self-control, being adaptable and guiding your drive for achievement are all benefits from practising self-management. Impulses drive human behaviour; we are incapable of getting rid of these. The only thing we can do is try to guide them.


Social ability

Social ability is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; it is your ability to develop, influence and collaborate with others. Empathy is highly involved when it comes to social awareness. It is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. For you to have a deliberate impact in any way on your peers, you will need to understand and relate to their chain of thought. Working on your social ability will enable you to deliver a message effectively or convince someone with success.


Emotions are like a GPS; they guide us, protect us and help us make better decisions. A negative effect comes from how we deal (or not) with our emotions.

Your biological GPS

Here is how to develop emotional intelligence to boost your career

Mental acrobatics

The thing is, emotional intelligence seems simple, but that does not mean that it is easy. The problem is that your brain avoids feeling conflicted about its decision-making. It creates discord because it does not like uncertainty, so it performs mental acrobatics to avoid distress. Our brain tries to convince itself that whatever feels good equals what is good and right. This is what makes emotional intelligence complex. Deliberately taking a step back and reflecting on your emotions and managing these may feel contradicting. Luckily, this obstacle does not make emotional intelligence impossible to learn. If something doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you.


No quick fix

As for many personal development tools and technics, it is not a quick fix. Reading a book, an article, or attending a workshop will not turn you into the most emotionally intelligent human being overnight. Emotional intelligence can only be developed by deliberately taking actions, starting now.


Practise responding, rather than reacting

To increase self-awareness, learn about mindfulness. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment – including how you are feeling. Practise self-awareness: acknowledge your own emotions to develop an understanding of your feelings and behaviours. Find out what your motivations are behind your emotions.


Welcoming-an-emotion process

  1. Be aware of your inherent willingness to avoid negative emotions.

  2. Take time to observe your emotion, recognise and experience it: welcome your emotion.

  3. Focus on internal and physical sensations and try to identify them.

  4. Focus on your perception: the effect of the emotion.

  5. Focus on your breathing; this allows you to be in the moment.

  6. Examine your thoughts.

  7. When you are feeling lost in your thoughts, move your attention back to your central (internal) feeling.

  8. Elaborate on your thoughts: has your feeling changed? Are you going to do something different from what you were planning on doing before?


Also, reflecting on yourself with the use of a SWOT analysis helps you build self-awareness. SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. By doing this, it maps out your capabilities and limitations. Asking for feedback from your manager, friends, or partner may help you reflect better. After working out your personal SWOT, you can anticipate and adapt in situations concerning your capabilities.


"Seek first to understand before being understood." — Sean Covey

Self-regulation

Self-regulation is all about guidance. To develop your regulation skills, you have got to learn how to manage your emotions suitably. The first step is to accept your emotions and take responsibility for your behaviour. Give yourself time to pause and think. Methods for being alone with your thoughts to process your emotions:

  • Practise meditation

  • Keep a journal

  • Go for solitary walks

  • Do yoga


Human relations

You will need to develop active listening skills and be ready to acknowledge others' emotions to become a truly emotionally intelligent professional. Keep an eye out, emotional intelligence for relationship management will a follow-up article by New Reflections soon.


Developing emotional intelligence is not done overnight. Like many other skills, it takes time and dedication to grow as a person. Not chasing every impulse you get, and making deliberate choices will give more meaning to your life. If you would like to develop your emotional intelligence, start with taking a step back when you come up against difficult emotions, and reflect on.


Written by Sander van Hamburg and Maud Vanhoutte


Develop your emotional intelligence together with New Reflections:

Emotional intelligence workshop

Emotional Intelligence and Empathy for Carers

Dealing with Emotions and Stress


Discover more articles by New Reflections:

Emotional Intelligence: Develop your emotional vocabulary

Tired of giving up or doubting? 6 keys to be more resilient to reach your full potential


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