Emotional Quotient vs. Intelligence Quotient: What is Really Needed to Succeed

Emotional Quotient vs. Intelligence Quotient: What is Really Needed to Succeed

Before analyzing EQ and IQ, let us familiarize ourselves with what exactly these terms mean. Emotional Quotient (EQ) refers to an employee’s understanding of his or her emotions along with his or her colleagues’ emotions at the workplace to create better work coordination and environment. In one study, experienced partners with high EI in a multinational firm delivered $1.2 million additional profit from their accounts.

In contrast, Intelligence Quotient (IQ) defines the level of intelligence an employee possesses to understand, interpret, and implement one’s knowledge in varied situations, leading to his or her growth as well as the Company’s. Psychologists generally agree that among the ingredients for success, IQ counts for roughly 10% (at best 25%); the rest depends on everything else – including EQ. 
(Bressert, 2007)

IQ is mainly used to measure one’s cognitive capabilities, such as the capacity to learn or understand new situations; reasoning through a given predicament or setting, and the ability to apply one’s knowledge in current circumstances. Emotional Intelligence (EI) skills do not limit themselves to sympathy, intuition, imagination, flexibility, stress management, management, truthfulness, genuineness, intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills, but extend far beyond these.

When working in an organization, an employee with a higher EI than others can convince his or her colleague(s) about a certain argument by appealing to their emotions rather than presenting facts and figures. While judging an individual’s EI, keep in mind these few points. An employee’s ability to:

  • Comprehend and apply his or her personal emotions
  • Express his or her feelings, beliefs, and thoughts
  • Recognize and appreciate his or her own potential
  • Manage his or her personal and professional life under stress and pressure
  • Adapt to different work environments and handle varied challenges that come his or her way
  • Possess self-confidence
  • NOT only work towards the growth of the company but also toward the growth of his or her co-workers

For best results, employees must develop communication and organizational skills for good decision-making as well as good interpersonal relations with co-workers. An individual’s success rate at work depends on his or her EQ as well as IQ in the ratio 80:20.

Why 80:20? Well, because, EQ helps individuals build and maintain relations with peers and superiors, increases productivity, and opens doors for clarity in communication (good listening is integral to EQ). Research carried out by The Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that IQ can help you be successful to the extent of just 20 percent in life. The rest 80 percent success depends on your EQ; 80% EQ 20% IQ.

While hiring, corporates look at an individual’s EQ rather than IQ. Having a high IQ will help build interpersonal and intrapersonal skills to a certain extent, unlike EQ, which talks about one’s character based on the way he or she writes or replies to mail, collaborates and networks with peers and subordinates, and works towards attaining Company goals.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

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  • Dear Asma

    I’m interested in the fact that while you are supportive of the EQ/EI concept, you appear to contextualise this in relation to IQ. I would encourage you to read the following and consider the background of IQ, it’s rather humble origins which were exploited for a variety of unsavory purposes, and instead remove the comparison and strictly focus on the EQ/EI side of things.


    My thoughts and opinions.


  • Hi Ayesha, at your request, here is my response to your question on Linkedin…

    Hi Ayesha,

    Research shows that the following areas are ‘predictors of success’ in the workplace to the following degrees:

    IQ – 25%
    EI – 22%
    Motivations – 30%
    Personality – 15%
    Other – 8%

    I don’t have time to reference the material directly, but if you visit the EI Consortium website it has research papers on all of this sort of stuff. If you can’t find it there let me know and I’ll dig out the academic papers directly.

    The key thing though is that, when talking about this subject, it’s fair to say that EI is as much an indicator of success as IQ, and that – most importantly – high IQ but the absence of high EQ is a dangerous way to assess someone’s capability for a role.

    I hope you find that interesting and useful, cheers, D

  • Nice article Ayesha. If we are considering team management and related issues, in my view, it is EQ which is more important than IQ assuming that every member of the team has more or less comparable IQ.

  • Today, IQ is a commodity. Its the EQ which is the differentiator.

    People and companies can make or break depending on the EQ and sensibility. Most of the organisations which went bankrupt in the time of great American recession of 2008-09 had very high IQ – but they reduced their great companies to disasterous levels. So have done chairmans of companies like Satyam in India.

    But I fear one thing – today temporarily, companies and hiring managers are giving more importance to IQ rather than to EQ. Its because they are interested in short term profitabilities rather than long term sustainability. Still, I feel their decisions of today would make or not make organisations of tomorrow…

  • If a sales candidate lacks the 4 Crucial Elements of Success: Desire, Commitment, Outlook and Responsibility — and/or has some, most or all of the 5 Major Weaknesses: Need for Approval, Controls Emotions, Weak Buy Cycle, Record Collection and Money Weakness, he/ she will NOT be effective. ONE Sales Screening out there identifies these things; has 20+ yrs and 500,000+ sales candidates to prove it’s accuracy. Why worry abt EQ and IQ when you can create your own Ideal Candidate Profile and then have each be screened through your own individual candidate ‘filter’? What are all your ‘sales ghosts’ costing you??

  • Jacqueline M. Walters

    I believe both Emotional Quotient and Intelligence Ouotient combine are important, for multidiscipline, talented-plus, well-balanced employees.

  • Since human beings make most of their decisions (80%+) on an emotional basis rather than than on a logical basis, I would put the emphasis on EQ over IQ.

    Here is a quick experiment you can try to see if people make emotional or logical decisions and then think if EQ or IQ works best with people:

    In a conversation with someone, insult their mother, or their race, or their religion, or their sexual orientation or anything else that might be deeply personal. Make it really mean and dirty and really try to verbally wound them. Then, say that you are sorry and want their forgiveness. And you want them to forget the incident because you mis-spoke.

    Logically, if you are sincerely contrite, you should get their forgiveness and they should not let the incident impact future relationships. The facts point to a transgression and retraction. An “Add” then “Delete.”

    Unfortunately, deleting that sort of mental, emotional, and psychological wound isn’t that easy. People are emotional creatures. They think, feel, and act emotionally most of the time. So having a great EQ trumps a great IQ most of the time when dealing with people.

    This experiment with someone would certainly be considered an extreme one (and not really recommended,) but even an episode with just a fraction of the inflicted pain has a very similar outcome (but to a lesser degree.)

    Life is about people. Never forget that. Put your energies toward learning a better EQ and watch the world be a slightly better place!

    Tom Schulte | Executive Director | Linked 2 Leadership Group
    CEO | Recalibrate Professional Development
    Atlanta, GA USA


  • Francisco Gomez

    We all know successful people who are bright (high IQ) and not necessarily relate well with others (low EQ). On the pther hand, it is harder to find very successful people who relate well with others (high EQ) but are not particularly bright (low IQ).

    I also want to note that neither IQ nor EQ are sufficient to achieve great results, they actually serve those who have a clear goal that they pursue with passion and determination.

  • There was a research project that followed a group of PhD candidates from the time that they were in grad school through there career. Since they were peers, and presumably had high IQ’s, the research looked at how EI impacted their success. Those with high EQ’s out performed their counter-parts by a large margin. The research is bountiful that shows that EQ is a pivotal factor in an individual’s life and career. (I wonder why we have not included any formal curriculum to teach our children.) If anyone would like our EI white papers, please let me know. My email is [email protected]

  • Andrew Weaver

    IQ vs EQ. While both effect the ability to rationalize and have sound judgement, EQ, without porper management, overirdes the individuals ability to create rational thought.

    Gardner’s (1983) theory of multiple intelligences (MI) implies that general intelligence does not exist. Rather individuals possess at least eight distinct intelligences (Figure 1) that are, or can be, developed as a life-long learner. Gardner further describes intelligence as an exclusive set of functions or thought processes that are observable. Thus, the intelligence quotient, or IQ, of an individual is testable. Coleman (1998) married Gardner’s interpersonal and intrapersonal intelligences into what he termed emotional intelligence (Figure 2), or EI, sometimes referred to as EQ, and asserted that EI is an equal if not greater influence on reason and logic than IQ (p. 31). EI is defined as the capacity to reason about emotions, and of emotions to enhance thinking. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2004, p.187)

    EQ is defined by Coleman as managing one’s emotions requiring recognition, understanding, and managing one’s emotions (p. 138). As EQ and IQ are correlated, but controlled by different sections of the brain (i.e. EQ is controlled by the amygdala) , then rational behavior, or thinking, can be interfered with by the insertion of lack of ability to control emotions (Damasio, as cited in Clawson, 2006).

    Clawson, J. G. (2006). Level three leadership: getting below the surface (3rd ed.). NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
    Gardner, H. (1983). Frames of mind: The theory of multiple intelligences. New York, New York: Basic Books
    Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings, and implications. Psychological inquiry 15(3), 197-215.
    Smith, M.K. (1999), “Learning theory” The Encyclopedia of Informal Education, infed, available at: http://www.infed.org/biblio/b-learn.htm
    Yeap, L.L., Myint, S.W., Lim, L.H., & Low, G.T. (2005), To Empower, Be Empowered, McGraw-Hill Education (Asia), Singapore.

  • By the way Andrew, it’s Daniel Goleman, not Coleman.


  • IQ gives you job. EQ gets you promoted
    IQ is the entry ticket. EQ is the Lifetime ticket to growth and success.

  • Quynh Nguyen

    Oftentimes, technical talents are recruited/promoted to management positions. Without enough EQ, these talents could run into personnel type of issues. I have seen managers, directors, and even VPs demoted (or “booted”) when HR documented actual reports. So, I completely agree with the theory that IQ alone is not effective. I just think the ratio/required mix varies depending on the individual organization, situation at hand, and the particular position.

  • Interesting blog on Emotional Quotient Vs Intelligence Quotient! | Custom Training and eLearning Blog, not like the other ones!

  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Beautiful Asma you have analyzed emotional quotient and intelligence quotient very nicely. Congratulations. I have also developed mathematical formula for emotional quotient and spiritual quotient:

    Psychology has been defined as the science of behavior. It is now widely accepted that psychology is the positive science of behavior. There is other branch of science known as normative science. Positive Psychology like clinical psychology is the branch of normative science. Both positive psychology and clinical psychology are the field of application of psychological principles that is primarily concerned with the psychological adjustment of individuals. According to J.B. Rotter (1964), “The ability to live peacefully, constructively, and happily requires an understanding of man himself. To gain this understanding, many people are turning to the psychological and social sciences, including clinical psychology.” Rotter writes further, “Other professions that overlap clinical psychology are those of the psychiatrist, social worker, lawyer, speech pathologist, and religious worker. All these professions are concerned in one way or another with the individual’s adjustment to a special set of circumstances.” Now the question is what does a religious worker do? To get a reply to this question we should know more about religion, it’s objectives and scope.
    Religion and Yoga reflect identical meaning. Religion (re-ligare) means union again with Ultimate Reality or binding back to Absolute. Yoga is the derivative of Sanskrit root ‘yuj’ which means yoking of power of body, mind and soul. Yoga primarily consists of concentration, meditation and realization apart from practicing asans, mudras and breath control which help to achieve concentration and physical and emotional well-being. Yoga is experimental technique of spiritualism. Religion is blend of ritual and spiritual. Rituals dominate religion these days. Whereas rituals are altogether not necessary for practicing yoga.
    Yoga in India has been practiced since the dawn of the human civilization, according to Hindu mythology millions of year back.
    In Bhagavad-Gita Lord SriKrishna says to Arjuna:
    “I taught this immortal Yoga to Vivasvan (sun-god), Vivasvan conveyed it to Manu(his son), and Manu imparted it to (his son) Iksvaku. Thus transmitted to succession from father to son, Arjuna, this Yoga remained known to the Rajarisis (royal sages). It has however long since disappeared from this earth. The same ancient Yoga has this day been imparted to you by Me, because you are My devotee and friend, and also because this is a supreme secret”.
    At this Arjuna said: You are of recent origin while the birth of Vivasvan dates back to remote antiquity. How, then, I am to believe that you taught this Yoga at the beginning of creation? Lord SriKrishna said: Arjuna, you and I have passed through many births. I remember them all, you do not remember.

    Famous historian Romila Thapar has described in her book A History of India about the status of Yoga in 300-700 A.D. She writes: “Yoga (Application) which was based on the control of the body physically and implied that a perfect control over the body and the senses led to knowledge of the ultimate reality. A detailed anatomical knowledge of the human body was necessary to the advancement of yoga and therefore those practising yoga had to keep in touch with medical knowledge.”
    As far as anatomical knowledge of human body is concerned it is very much required for the optimum result during practice of Yoga. Yoga system has very close connection with the human anatomy i.e. chakra or nerve centres distributed along the spinal column and in brain region.
    Besides, connection chakras with the practice of Yoga, chakra has also great role in the development of personality. People do not realise that personalities can grow to include a balance of all the six chakras. Jung referred to this growth process as “individuation”, and associated it with life’s spiritual dimension. Danah Zohar evolves a model of spiritual quotient (sq) based on the six petals of a lotus and its centre, corresponding to the seven chakras described by the Hinduism’s Kundalini Yoga, as an aid to the process of individuation in the mid-1990s. Contribution of Danah Zohar for coining the term spiritual quotient for the first time is immense. But she did not establish any mathematical relationship, which is very much required, for this quotient.

    Deepak Chopra has given a formula of spiritual quotient in terms of Deed (D) and Ego (E). According to Deepak Chopra S.Q. =D/E. He (2006) writes: If Vedanta is right and there is only one reality, then all desires must follow the same mechanics, desires arise and are fulfilled in consciousness. Making yourself happy involves ….. I have a ” Spiritual Quotient” where SQ = D/E. Where D = Deeds and E = Ego. Now you can ONLY have an SQ = infinity when E = 0. If E is little even then SQ is approaching infinity (or one is close to be a “Great Master”) but not actually “Pure .This appears to be very fascinating but it is highly abstract which cannot be measured experimentally, accurately and precisely. However, this formula has immense value to understand S.Q.

    I too have discovered a mathematical relationship for S.Q about eight years back in 2001. I have used physiological parameters which can be measured accurately and precisely and can be tested and verified experimentally. According to this formula S.Q. can be expressed as the ratio of parasympathetic dominance (P.D.) to sympathetic dominance (S.D.). Parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS) are the two parts of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) which is largely under hypothalamic control. Hypothalamus is situated very close to the Sixth Chakra. During practice of meditation at Sixth Chakra these centres are galvanized which has very positive effect on practitioners spiritual, emotional, psychological and physical well being.

    According to this relationship spiritual quotient can be written as:
    S.Q. = P.D./S.D.
    If the value of S.Q. comes >1 (greater than one), it can be assumed that the person is moving towards self-realisation and if the value of S.Q. comes <1 (smaller than one) it can be predicted that the person is living under stress. This formula has remarkable analogy with the formula of Intelligent Quotient discovered by Wilhem Stern which states as I.Q.=Mental Age/Chronological Age x100.

    I have also attempted to establish mathematical relationship for emotional quotient (E.Q.). This is now a recognized fact that for a successful career not only higher I.Q. is necessary but level of E.Q. also plays a greater role. Higher is the level of E.Q. greater is the achievement in life. I have defined emotional quotient as the product of wisdom (w) and I.Q. This relationship can be expressed mathematically as:
    E.Q. = w X I.Q.
    In this relationship ‘w’ indicates a person’s insight, power of judgment and ability to understand others. This can be assigned mathematical value in binary digits i.e. 0,1. Zero represent absence of these qualities and, ‘one’ represent presence of these qualities in fullness. If a person is devoid of these qualities, the E.Q. can be labeled as ‘zero’ OR ‘near about zero’. In such persons if the level of I.Q. is high, the person may become an autocrat. If a person possesses all the above qualities then E.Q. may be equal to I.Q. and such persons are truly democrat. Spiritually enlightened persons are also democrat. Evidently there is a greater correlation amongst I.Q., E.Q. and S.Q.. In fact S.Q. leverages both E.Q. and I.Q.
    There are various types of meditation available, which are being practiced by sages, saints, seers and others. The difference in various versions lies in the fact that these practices involve concentration to meditate at different centres known as Chakra in Yoga System. These chakras are, in fact, energy centres which correspond to nerve centres distributed along the spinal column and in brain region.
    Some practitioners start to meditate at Basic/Root Chakra (Muladhara) – situated at the base of spine, some at Heart Chakra (Anahata Chakra), some at Ajna Chakra – Optic Chiasma – Master Chakra and some from even higher centres situated in the brain region. Among all these types of meditation, practice at sixth chakra is considered to be the most ideal which brings about optimum results.

    Sixth Chakra is situated very close to hypothalamus. The hypothalamus is a portion of brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions. One of the most important functions of the hypothalamus is to link nervous system to the endocrine system via the pituitary glands.
    Autonomic nervous system (ANS) is largely under hypothalamic control. ANS consists of parasympathetic nervous system (PSNS) and sympathetic nervous system (SNS). PSNS is activated during meditative calm and during stress SNS is activated. When PSNS is activated, heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure decreased. Supply of blood in the digestive tract increased. When SNS is activated heart rate, breathing rate, blood pressure increased. Supply of blood to the muscles and exterior organs increased and to the digestive tract decreased. In addition to these, there are many other parameters which can be compared. Parasympathetic Dominance (P.D.) is the state of PSNS activation and Sympathetic Dominance (S.D.) is the state of SNS activation. Instruments are available in medical science to measure these parameters.
    Now we can assign numerical value to each parameter. Then put the value in the formula for S.Q. and see the result. We can show the calculation as mentioned below:
    S.Q.= P.D./S.D. = ? X / ? Y
    Where X=x1+x2+x3+ …….
    And Y=y1+y2+y3+…….
    During PSNS activation (P.D.), we assign ‘1’ to each parameter (x1+x2+x3+…..) and ‘0’ to each parameter (y1+y2+y3+…..). During SNS activation (S.D.), we assign ‘1’ to each parameter (y1+y2+y3+…) and ‘0’ to each parameter (x1+x2+x3+….).
    By putting the numerical value, thus achieved, in the above formula for S.Q. we can calculate the Spiritual Quotient of an individual.
    Higher is the S.Q. lower is the autonomic mobilization to encounter day-to-day stress.
    This mathematical relationship of spiritual quotient will certainly facilitate further research in the area of spiritual science.

  • Alex

    Both elements are required for success, however, as someone else commented the precise balance will change depending on the situational context.

    I would like to make a couple of points:

    1) I seem to remember research that showed that IQ and EQ are not separate variables. People with High IQs tend also to have higher EQs. Can anyone comment on that?
    2) Its well documented that economic success is correlated with IQ up to a point and then as IQ continues to increase, the correlation reverses.

  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Hi Alex.

    Your points are good. I agree that IQ is the integral part of EQ but higher IQ does not always mean higher EQ. You know that I have developed a mathematical relationship for EQ. EQ can be expressed as the product of wisdom (w) and IQ. EQ = w X IQ.

    If the value of w is lower the EQ will be lower even if the IQ is higher. In such persons the tendency of autocracy dominates. They may be either successful or may face utter failure and criticism. If w is higher and IQ is lower even then a person may earn great reputation in place of work and social life.

  • Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed surfing around your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  • I am a big proponent of EQ. We have all worked with people who have a high IQ and a low EQ and they continuously undermine the team and their efforts.

    I teach a lot about EQ in my sales training. If you want a top notch sales person make sure they have a high EQ

  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Hi Kathy

    As I have already mentioned in my comments that such persons with high IQ and low EQ lack wisdom. They are autocrats. They may or may not be a successful person.

  • Fayez Arbab

    Hi Asma,

    Very good article .And I agree with the view point as expressed by you .

  • It is in point of fact a great and useful piece of information. I¡¦m glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  • Emotional Quotient Vs Intelligence Quotient Excellent! This is the info which I’ve been looking for so long. Thanks for posting. I really need it.

  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    Spiritual quotient leverages both emotional quotient and intelligence quotient. So you should also take it under your active consideration.

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  • Anirudh Kumar Satsangi

    You may also search Mathematical Formula for Spiritual Quotient.

  • I’m just starting to learn more about EQ, and am completely fascinated. I had a client not long ago who was some sort of EQ consultant. I think part of his job may have been administering the tests.

    Anyways, very interesting read.