IQ v EQ – Defining intelligence in the workplace – part 1

Does a high IQ signal success in workplace? 

Your IQ (intelligence quotient) has always been seen as the pre-eminent standard for measuring how clever you are. If you’ve got a high IQ, you’re a bright spark; great at mental arithmetic and always getting the conundrum on Countdown.

But, how effective is your IQ score at predicting potential career success and your ability to become a leader?

Let’s dig deeper.

IQ measures intelligence purely on standard logical stuff like reasoning, attention, memory and math’s, so whilst excelling at these traits is a “great to have” let’s be honest, we live in a pretty illogical world these days don’t we? So sure it may get you in the door, but does knowing the Pythagoras’ theorem* help you once you’re there?

Well yes, but no.. You see being able to think and act logically is a big asset of course but not a big differentiator when it comes to your career.

Defining Emotional Intelligence

emotional intelligence


  1. the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success

Your emotional intelligence  (EQ) is a much better guide than your IQ, and the features below are a much more important measure on how successful you could be at work and whether or not you have the all round ability to become a leader.

Features such as;

  • Imagination
  • Self-esteem
  • Conscientious
  • Intuitive reasoning
  • Playfulness
  • Curiosity
  • Adaptability
  • Empathy
  • Joyfulness
  • Big-picture thinking
  • Social dexterity

Some great traits here and look, as our world gets more automated and more technical, it’s even more necessary to have an ability to work around this and show that you are a decent human being who cares, is creative and can build lasting professional relationships. In the words of business author Daniel Pink, what will distinguish leaders in the coming years is the capacity to

“understand what makes their fellow woman or man tick, to forge relationships and to care for others”

And hands up who thought emotional intelligence was a bit fluffy?

Let me leave you with one thought..

Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence is not static. You can develop your EQ and become a better person and leader in the process.

Which got me thinking.

I imagine older workers, given their time spent on Planet Earth, would have had more time to develop these positive emotional traits so in turn, should have stronger leadership traits too and a higher EQ?

Maybe. Let me know your comments and what attributes you believe you need to be successful in the workplace firstly and a successful leader too?

Until Part 2 team. When we’ll look further into the meaning of emotional intelligence and how it impacts on positive leadership.

(*Pythagoras is our lead image by the way)

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