Harvard researcher Daniel Goleman, author of the 1995 best-seller ‘Emotional Intelligence’, argues that while IQ is important it doesn’t get you all the way in the world of work and entrepreneurship. Instead, what you really need to advance is EQ – emotional intelligence.
His book, which spent 18 months on the best-sellers list, states that non-cognitive skills – your EQ, can actually be even more important than IQ in securing success. Particularly when it comes to getting promoted or having your creations taken seriously.
“Even if you are a solo bench engineer coming up with a better widget, no one will pay attention to you unless you can communicate, persuade, and excite people about that widget — and that takes emotional intelligence.”
The following five traits are according to Goleman the key to understanding and improving your EQ.
These traits mean that you can see yourself as others see you. You understand and can accurately estimate your own strengths and weaknesses. Fairly often those with higher IQs will either see themselves wrongly as geniuses or as far less clever than what they really are. Understanding your own abilities lets you judge how best to use your talents.
This trait relates to emotional control. Those with high EQ can control their emotions, recover from setbacks easily and are not overly self-critical. Generally, people with a high EQ have a positive outlook on life as oppose to focusing on the negative.
People with a high EQ are empathetic and understand the lives and challenges of others. It also means being able to understand how team members will react in certain situations and what tasks they will be able to complete competently.
Those with high EQ are able to manage multiple different relationships, personal and professional, simultaneously. This often makes them natural leaders because they are able to speak to people at different levels of IQ and EQ and are able to speak to them in ways each individual will actually understand.This is often a key feature of great leaders. As Goleman writes:”You’re a natural leader who can gather support from others with relative ease, creating a group that is engaged, mobilized and ready to execute the tasks at hand.”
While we would all love to have a higher IQ, no matter how smart we already are, it is perhaps time to realise that IQ does not automatically lead to success. The tired trope of the troubled genius dying in poverty is well known through art and literature. Perhaps then we would all be better taking a look at our EQs and trying to improve them as much as we can – not only will it likely bring us more success, but it will likely make us happier and more empathetic as well!