Friday, February 17, 2012

IQ or EQ?

“Marks don’t matter; what matters is the intelligence”, we tell ourselves every time we get a low score in our exams. IQ (Intelligence Quotient) and aptitude are considered far more important than marks. Ever since companies have started taking aptitude tests for short listing candidates for recruitment, the whole facet of IQ and aptitude has risen to an entirely new level, with mock aptitude tests being conducted and students learning the meanings of thousands of difficult words by rote.

However, there is another ‘intelligence’ to be considered which has a broader impact on our future – Emotional Intelligence (EI), measured by Emotional Quotient (EQ).

Emotional Intelligence

The term Emotional Intelligence was coined by Salovey and Mayer in 1990. Daniel Goleman, author of the ground-breaking book Emotional Intelligence says “The capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others for motivating ourselves and managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships is called Emotional Intelligence. In Emotions: The Science of Sentiment, Dylan Evans writes, “Intelligent action stems from a harmonious blend of emotion and reason…Knowing when to follow our feelings and when to ignore them is a valuable talent that some have called ‘Emotional Intelligence’”.

EI is the way we perceive things emotionally, how we react to stressful situations, how we control our impulses, how sensitive we are to others’ feelings and emotions – in other words, how we manage our emotions. Emotions impact relationships, creativity, productivity and achievements.

How did the concept evolve?

Why is it that often people with high IQ end up nowhere, while seemingly ‘moderate’ people move high up the ladder? Why is it that a person with less knowledge reaches the top, while more learned people often fall out? Gradually it was felt that there are a host of other factors which determine success, including our ability to interact with people or our ability to handle stress, in other words – EQ. Daniel Goleman goes as far as to say that IQ contributes only 20% to our successes, while EQ contributes 80%!

Psychological research has shown that IQ is a reliable measure of cognitive capacity, and is more or less constant over time. However, EQ is more dynamic and evolving; it is more flexible, unlike the rigid and monolithic concept of IQ. EQ can be nurtured at an early age to ensure a better emotionally managed life in the future.

In today’s increasingly stressful world, even companies are realizing the importance of having emotionally intelligent employees. Companies spend huge amounts of money to manage their finances, now they are starting to spend at least a small fraction of that to ‘manage’ their employee’s emotions. Seminars are being conducted and circulars issued to help employees cooperate as a team and decrease friction among team members.

IQ or EQ?

The importance of having a high EQ along with a good IQ can hardly be over-emphasized. Unlike IQ, EQ is not something that we are born and die with – It can be improved.
After all, it’s not the aptitude that counts, it’s the attitude. A high IQ may help you score well in aptitude tests and in your studies; but a high EQ will help you lead a better life. Which one would you choose? 


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