Is EQ really important in the workplace? How it can be nurtured?

They always say EQ is the new IQ. It seems like having emotional intelligence (EI) is an important factor to success, but is it true? Plus, it is inevitable that we bring our emotions to work, so how can one be more emotionally intelligent?

IQ versus EQ

Emmerling and Goleman mentioned in their 2003 study that IQ will remain a significant predictor of success in the workplace. This is especially useful when predicating which job and profession one can enter. In fact, Van Rooy and Viswesvaran found out that IQ is a better work performance predictor than emotional intelligence. However, it is found that when predicting if someone will become a “star-performer” (that is in the top 10 percent), or an outstanding leader, IQ is a less powerful measurement than emotional intelligence (Goleman 1998, 2001, 2002). This shows that IQ can only predict what type of job one should be doing, while EQ helps determine if they can excel as a “star-performer” or an effective leader.


Bill Gates, an example of a successful business leader who has made full use of both IQ and EQ.

Occupations that require inter-personal communication skills and conflict solving skills would require higher EQ (Carmeli, N.D.). It is quite straightforward simply because emotional quotient involves the skill of reading other’s emotions and controlling your own. Therefore, jobs involving leadership would require EQ. And what people perceive as “successful” in the business world usually involves leadership (Just think about CEOs and managers), thus EQ is indeed required if we aspire to be “star-performers”.

IQ on the other hand is more of a pre-requisite to perform well in knowledge-based jobs such as scientists and researchers. Take renown scientists, Einstein, Darwin and Isaac Newton, they all had an IQ of above 100. I also read more about, Chris Langan, probably the smartest person that ever lived with an IQ level of 200, was bullied in school. Could it be that Chris Langan lacked emotional quotient and thus could not connect with the other children?

Chris Langan, the world’s smartest man.

Intelligence seems largely permanent, but can emotional intelligence be nurtured?

Ways to Increase Emotional Intelligence

Fortunately, research has shown promising results for long-run and short-term increases in emotional intelligence (Nelis, 2009).  Nelis conducted a study on a homogenous group of participants and found out that some facets of EI, but not all, can increase with the right methodology.

Segal and Smith (2013), suggested several ways to increase EI.

Skill 1: Reduce Stress Rapidly

  • Realize it when you are stressed
  • Identify your natural response to stress and work against it
  • Discover stress busting methods

Skill 2: Build Emotional Awareness

  • Do you pay attention to your emotions and are they considered during decision making?
  • What kind of feelings and emotions do you experience?
  • Do you experience intense feelings?
  • Are these emotions accompanies by physical sensations?

Skill 3: Build Nonverbal Communication

  • Focus on the other person when communicating
  • Make eye contact
  • Pay attention to nonverbal cues like facial expression

Skill 4: Use Humor

  • Take hardships in stride
  • Simultaneously relax and energize yourself
  • Become more creative and flexible

Skill 5: Resolve Conflicts Positively

  • Stay in the present and forgive the past
  • Only argue over things that are worth it
  • Disengage from a conflict that cannot be resolved

I hope you have learned much more about emotional intelligence through these tips and information about it’s effect on work performance!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *