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Forget Your IQ. Concentrate on This Instead.

Topics: Data & Research
emotional intelligence

Even if you don’t know your true IQ score, you probably still spend time trying to “get smarter.” But what you might not realize is that to be better at your job, you don’t need to boost your IQ. At work, it’s your EQ that counts.

What the heck is EQ?

EQ is shorthand for emotional quotient (or intelligence) — sometimes noted as your EI. Brought to popular attention by psychologist Daniel Goleman in the 1990s, EQ is often seen as a marker of why being “street smart” can be more valuable than being “book smart.”

Instead of measuring your intelligence, your EQ measures your ability to understand how you fit into the big picture. You are able to read people, but also better assess your own feelings and responses, too.

The five main categories of your EQ are:

  1. Self-Awareness
  2. Self-Regulation
  3. Motivation
  4. Empathy
  5. Social Skills

“One important aspect of emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive, control and evaluate emotions – in oneself and others – and to use that information appropriately,” writes Dr. Norman Rosenthal who studies EQ. “For example, recognizing emotional intelligence in oneself can help you regulate and manage your emotions, while recognizing emotions in others can lead to empathy and success in your relationships, both personal and professional.”

Why should a higher EQ help me at work?

“Your EQ is the level of your ability to understand other people, what motivates them and how to work cooperatively with them,” writes Harvard theorist Howard Gardner at Psych Central.

That sounds like something that might be a good thing in the workplace, never mind just getting along with people in the world.

Justin Bariso writes in Inc about his own EQ journey: “Since EI helps you to better understand yourself—and others—a high EQ increases your chances for successfully achieving goals.”

“What having emotional intelligence looks like is that you’re confident, good at working towards your goals, adaptable and flexible. You recover quickly from stress and you’re resilient,” Goleman tells HuffPost.

Studies have shown that being able to connect with others and effectively determine how they’re feeling (something that comes with having a higher EQ), can lead someone to becoming successful in their field. Not only that, having a higher EQ can actually lower your stress level. That sounds like a win/win to me.

How can I boost my emotional intelligence?

Some simple EQ-boosting tips you can incorporate into your everyday life, like taking time to reflect on your feelings and emotions and being more observant of others.

Rosenthal writes that much of the chance for improving your EQ comes from recognizing emotions and dealing with them. He offers 10 ways you can improve your emotional intelligence score, including connecting feelings with thoughts, and not judging feelings or emotions too quickly.

What’s your EQ?

Not sure if your EQ is high or low? Read about these 11 signs you might have some stuff to work on. Want to test your emotional intelligence? Take one of these online quizzes.

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How do you think EQ influences your success at work? We want to hear from you. Tell us more in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

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