Historically, intelligence (IQ) has been thought to be the best predictor of professional success.  Educational institutions certainly adhere to this philosophy as students are tested, and then judged, on their grades and GPA.  Then students get admitted to colleges primarily on their SAT or ACT scores.

Now a dose of reality. We need to ask:  which one is a better predictor of success?  IQ or EQ?

First, let’s define Emotional Intelligence.

Daniel Goleman defines it as:

“The subset of social intelligence that involves

the ability to monitor one’s own feelings and

emotions, as well as monitor others’ feelings

and emotions, then to … use this information to

guide one’s thinking and actions.”

EQ is basically the ability to be aware of our own emotions and then manage those emotions, before we can understand others and build relationships with them.

However, the authors of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 have organized those competencies into two major categories:  personal competencies and social competencies.

Personal Competencies (understanding and managing my own emotions) consist of:

  • Self-Awareness is your ability to recognize and understand your emotions as they happen, as well as how your emotions can affect your behavior.  Once our emotions kick in, it is natural to react without thinking.
  • Self-Management, then, is your ability to keep a lid on your emotions until you can choose and manage what you say and do.  In other words, by taking a moment to think about consequences of a reactive response, you can instead choose to take a more proactive approach.

Social Competencies (understanding others emotions and managing relationships) consist of:

  • Social Awareness is your ability to observe, recognize and understand the emotions of other people, so you can successfully control your reactions and better manage relationships.  In other words, as other people react to situations around them, your social awareness allows you to stay objective instead of getting drawn into the emotions of the situation.
  • Relationship Management , then, is your ability to use all of the previous three competencies to form and sustain, and deepen relationships with others.  To be aware of yourself and then manage yourself, as well as being aware of the emotional reactions of others, you’ll be in a better position to help manage relationships to achieve the maximum outcome.

Lest we dismiss this topic as an airy-fairy attempt to understand psychology, let me remind you of what Daniel Goleman and others have discovered about EQ.  For example,

According to Dr. Steven Tobias, studies show that only 20% of a person’s success in life actually comes from their IQ. Where does the other 80% come from? Emotional Intelligence!

Regarding that 20%, Goleman said, “It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but mainly as a ‘threshold capability;’ that is, they are the entry-level requirements.”  Thus, your education, IQ and basic technical skills get you in the door. But it is your emotional intelligence that will keep you there and lead to success. He went on to say, “You can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas,” but you still won’t succeed if you don’t have a high level of emotional intelligence.

So, I believe it’s not how smart you are.  It is about HOW you are smart.

Excerpted from Bonnie Cox’s book 52 Secrets to Being a C.O.R.E. Employee.