Four truths about EQ that make a difference in your career

Four truths about EQ that make a difference in your career

By Jose Ruiz Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.

Four truths about EQ that make a difference in your career

Originally publishes in Forbes.com.mx

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) has been the buzzword for years. Successful leaders are said to have high emotional intelligence. Moreover, those with high EQ are likely to succeed in society. While it is true that EQ determines one’s level of success, it is not the only success factor. There are at least four truths about EQ that would make a difference in how we deal with life and career.

First, EQ is not the better determinant of career success.

According to Daniel Goleman himself, “There’s no question IQ is by far the better determinant of career success, in the sense of predicting what kind of job you will be able to hold. It typically takes an IQ about 115 or above to be able to handle the cognitive complexity facing an accountant, a physician or a top executive. However, here’s the paradox: once you are in a high-IQ position, intellect loses its power to determine who will emerge as a productive employee or an effective leader. For that, how you handle yourself and your relationships — in other words, the emotional intelligence skill set — matters more than your IQ. In a high-IQ job pool, soft skills like discipline, drive and empathy mark those who emerge as outstanding.” Read the whole argument Goleman wrote for Time (http://ideas.time.com/2011/11/01/theyve-taken-emotional-intelligence-too-far/).

This being said, in the beginning of a career, IQ is a better determinant of success, but once you have reached a leadership position, both IQ and EQ play an equally important role. In a top leadership position, EQ plays a more important role than the IQ.

Second, Emotional Intelligence is more than being empathetic and “nice.”

There is a widespread misconception that a person with a high EQ is empathetic, nice, and politically correct. While it is true to a certain extent, an emotionally intelligent leader shows more than those three personality traits. He or she shows an in-depth understanding of self and other’s awareness, able to manage emotional reactions, and maintain a strong relationship with others. Of course, the “being empathetic and nice” part is the easiest to observe to others, thus explains the misconception.

Third, EQ is not more important than IQ.

Emotional Intelligence must work in conjunction with other mental and cognitive functions. In other words, EQ will need to work together with IQ. Research has shown that emotional intelligence cannot function in isolation and has an interdependence relationship with intellectual intelligence and other intelligence. (Reference: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042812021477)

Fourth, Emotional Intelligence can be learned and increased to a certain extent.

According to Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, a Professor of Business Psychology at University College London, our level of EQ is firm, but not rigid, meaning it can be improved to a certain extent with conscious efforts. Long-term improvements would require dedication and meaningful coaching. Moreover, since every individual has the different inherent temperament, internal emotional intelligence is limited to one’s natural predisposition. However, the external EQ may be gradually improved, and most people gradually mature with age. (Reference: https://hbr.org/2013/05/can-you-really-improve-your-em)

In conclusion, Emotional Intelligence must work together in conjunction with Intellectual Intelligence and other intelligence for someone to succeed. It can be improved through various efforts, but there is a certain limitation due to natural predisposition and inherent temperament. Thus, when people say that EQ is the sole determinant of success, it is incorrect. We need different kinds of intelligence to function. However, when you have reached a leadership position, emotional intelligence will be valuable in maintaining a solid relationship with others and managing self.

About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.This is a text block. Click the edit button to change this text.

Jose Ruiz is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.