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Career Success: EQ is Twice as Important as IQ

What does emotional intelligence have to do with career success?

You've undoubtedly known people like Dale and Maria. Dale never distinguished himself in an academic setting. On paper, he appeared to be just an average Joe. But he held a trump card: great interpersonal skills that got him in the door at his first job. Now he’s VP of Sales for a rapidly growing company and, by every standard, a star.

Maria was a brilliant administrator. But her ego and ‘my way or the highway’ approach made her very difficult to work with and led to unwanted turnover in her department. Maria’s lack of emotional intelligence became a liability to her employer.

Emotional intelligence is the ability to be aware of one’s own emotions and those of others, in the moment, and to use that information to manage oneself and one’s relationships. The business case for emotional intelligence (EQ) is an impressive one: 80-90% of the competencies that distinguish top performance are in the domain of EQ.

In addition to the business case, there’s an attractive health and wellness case. People with positive emotions have fewer illnesses and absenteeism, less stress and lower risk of chronic disease. They live longer, are more resilient, and report greater feelings of happiness and satisfaction.

Characteristics such as a high IQ, ambition and commitment are not surefire predictors of career success unless they’re augmented by EQ. Many of the top reasons for careers that stall or derail are directly related to a lack of it: think of the supervisor who is impatient and quick to find fault, the co-worker no one trusts, the leader who fails to develop others. The good news is that, unlike IQ which stays relatively the same throughout one’s life, emotional intelligence can grow greatly with coaching and training coupled by sincere desire.

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