What’s your EQ?

Who would you rather work with — Nick Kyrgios or Ash Barty? Both born in April (1996 and 1995 respectively), both Australian tennis players who showed amazing potential from a young age, yet only Ash Barty made it to the position of World No. 1, and only Ash Barty won Grand Slam singles titles (French Open, Wimbledon and the Australian Open).

Emotional intelligence or quotient (EQ) is a term that was first coined in 1990 by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey, and was later popularized by psychologist Daniel Goleman in his 1996 book of the same name.

The original researchers hypothesized that EQ helps people:

  • understand and express emotion in oneself and in others;
  • regulate emotion in self and others; and
  • use feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one’s life.

Following their research, Goleman highlighted the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership, telling the Harvard Business Review, “The most effective leaders are all alike in one crucial way: They all have a high degree of what has come to be known as emotional intelligence. It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter, but…they are the entry-level requirements for executive positions.”

So, you get promoted because you’re good at what you do, but it is those with emotional intelligence who perform well in leadership roles.

As part of my leadership research, I then discovered Emotional Intelligence 2.0 (Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves, 2009) which builds on the concept.

Bradberry and Greaves explain that EQ is the foundation for other important skills including time management, decision-making, and communication. They state it accounts for 58% of performance in all types of jobs. And people with lower intelligence quotients can perform better than those with high IQ if they increase their EQ.

They also equate higher EQ to higher salary earned.

In subsequent articles, I will be discussing some practical methods for improving our EQ. Turns out we can improve our EQ by practicing. First step awareness, then practice makes perfect.