Followers of my column are well aware of my penchant for writing about emotional intelligence (EQ). The highlight so far, for me, was drawing attention back to a hot little public debate on LinkedIn between two opposing schools of thought, one for EQ and one for IQ, between Wharton professor Adam Grant and Daniel Goleman, the foremost authority on emotional intelligence.
Yet on the truth versus fiction front, emotional intelligence continues to be misinterpreted and overused. Goleman himself, the author of arguably the most famous book on emotional intelligence, exposed one of its ongoing myths like this: "They say, EQ accounts for 80% of success. As the person who wrote Emotional Intelligence, the book that put the concept on the map, I can tell you that they are dead wrong."
The Truth About EQ
So what are the hard facts? Goleman clears the air in a Time article written back in 2011:
Here are the facts. 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. But here's the paradox: once you're 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.
So how's your emotional intelligence? To find out, Goleman put together a list of nine questions to help anyone evaluate his or her strengths or limitations.
9 Questions to Evaluate You EQ
- Are you usually aware of your feelings and why you feel the way you do?
- Are you aware of your limitations, as well as your personal strengths, as a leader?
- Can you manage your distressing emotions well -- e.g., recover quickly when you get upset or stressed?
- Can you adapt smoothly to changing realities?
- Do you keep your focus on your main goals, and know the steps it takes to get there?
- Can you usually sense the feelings of the people you interact with and understand their way of seeing things?
- Do you have a knack for persuasion and using your influence effectively?
- Can you guide a negotiation to a satisfactory agreement, and help settle conflicts?
- Do you work well on a team, or prefer to work on your own?