Emotional Intelligence Vs IQ  – Why EQ Matters More Than IQ

Last updated on December 19th, 2023 at 04:37 am

Understand emotional intelligence vs IQ and why EQ matters more and holds greater importance in personal and professional development.

Aptitude tests and IQ scores have long been used as a measure of a person’s mental capacity and potential.

However, in recent years, there has been a growing realization that intelligence (IQ) alone is not enough to guarantee success in life.

Another vital factor that plays a significant role in your personal and professional achievements is emotional intelligence (EI).

The book ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ’ by Daniel Goleman takes you along the path of examples of how to harness your emotional intelligence so you can become effective and productive at home, and the workplace, and be competent in relationships as regards effective relationship management.

Daniel Goleman opined that the intelligence quotient (IQ) is not all there is in being successful and is too narrow, shoving aside important abilities that are sacrosanct to doing well in life.

He prefers the use of an emotional quotient or emotional intelligence EQ to measure life’s success as the superior metric.

Table of Contents

An Overview of Emotional Intelligence and Emotional Quotient

A couple who are emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence (EQ) and intelligence quotient (IQ) are two different concepts that measure different aspects of a person’s abilities and skills.

While IQ focuses on cognitive abilities and intellectual potential, EQ highlights a person’s emotional awareness, understanding, and management abilities.

IQ is often associated with measures of intelligence, reasoning, problem-solving, and academic achievements.

It typically involves skills like logical thinking, mathematical abilities, memory, language comprehension, and analytical reasoning.

People with higher IQ scores usually excel in subjects that require abstract thinking and logical analysis, such as mathematics, physics, or engineering.

IQ tests are commonly used to assess academic performance or identify intellectual disabilities.

On the other hand, EQ refers to a person’s ability to recognize, understand, manage, and express their feelings, as well as to perceive and adapt to others’ emotions in various social situations.

EQ encompasses skills like self-awareness, empathy, emotional control, communication, conflict resolution, and building positive relationships. Individuals with high EQ scores tend to have better interpersonal skills, communication abilities, and social awareness, enabling them to navigate social complexities and establish healthy relationships.

Related: Multitasking Skills for Efficiency

Overview of Daniel Goleman’s Book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ”

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

Emotional intelligence, as defined by psychologist Daniel Goleman, is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage your own emotions effectively, to empathize with others, and to handle interpersonal relationships well.

It covers a range of skills, including self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

While IQ reflects your cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence focuses on the emotional and social aspects of your life.

The concept of emotional intelligence gained significant attention after the publishing of Daniel Goleman’s bestselling book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” in 1995.

The book sheds light on the idea that emotional intelligence is a critical factor in determining success in various areas of life, including relationships, leadership, and overall well-being.

Goleman argued that individuals with high emotional intelligence tend to be more successful in their personal and professional lives than those with high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

Emotional Intelligence vs IQ

Emotional intelligence more important than IQ in relationship

Emotional Intelligence vs IQ on Relationships

In relationships, a high IQ may contribute to intellectual stimulation and effective communication, but it does not guarantee emotional compatibility or empathy.

Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in building strong connections and fostering healthy relationships.

People with high EI are better at understanding and responding to their partner’s emotional needs, resolving conflicts, and practicing effective communication.

Therefore, while IQ may provide intellectual compatibility, emotional intelligence is equally important for building and maintaining successful relationships.

Emotional Intelligence vs Intelligent Quotient on Leadership Abilities

Also, emotional intelligence is closely linked to leadership abilities. A study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership found that emotional intelligence skills accounted for nearly 58% of the success in various leadership positions.

Emotional intelligence (EI) and intelligence quotient (IQ) are two different factors that influence leadership abilities.

While IQ represents a person’s cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving, logical reasoning, and memory, EI refers to a person’s ability to understand and manage their own emotions, as well as perceive and empathize with the emotions of others.

Leaders with high IQs may possess analytical thinking and strategic planning skills, which can help them make logical decisions and solve complex problems.

However, leadership is not just about making rational choices. Leaders with high EI can understand and connect with the emotions of their team members, creating a positive working environment, motivating and inspiring others, and effectively resolving conflicts.

Emotional Intelligence vs IQ on Personal Well-being

Studies have shown that Emotional intelligence is a better predictor of personal well-being than IQ.

People with higher EQ are more likely to have better mental health, stronger relationships, and higher job satisfaction.

Emotional intelligence enables individuals to handle stress and adversity, communicate effectively, and navigate social situations with empathy and understanding.

On the other hand, while a high IQ can contribute to career success and academic achievements, it does not necessarily correlate with happiness and personal fulfillment.

In fact, individuals with high IQs may struggle with emotional regulation or lack the social skills needed to maintain healthy relationships.

Emotional Intelligence vs IQ on Education

When it comes to education, both emotional intelligence and IQ play significant roles in determining academic success and personal development.

However, emotional intelligence proves to be a crucial factor.

While IQ may determine a person’s cognitive abilities and academic performance to some extent, studies have consistently shown that emotional intelligence has a stronger correlation with academic success.

Students with high emotional intelligence are often more motivated, exhibit better self-control, and have effective coping mechanisms to deal with academic pressure and stress.

Moreover, their ability to understand and handle their own emotions allows them to engage with their peers and teachers more effectively, promoting a positive learning environment.

Let’s take a look…

Academic Performance: IQ plays a role in academic success as it helps in grasping complex concepts, problem-solving, memory retention, and critical thinking skills required for academic excellence. However, EQ is equally essential as it affects motivation, self-discipline, stress management, and resilience, all of which contribute to effective learning and academic performance.

Classroom Dynamics: EQ plays a vital role in developing positive relationships with peers, teachers, and other staff members. Students with high EQ can manage conflicts, communicate effectively, collaborate, and demonstrate empathy towards others’ emotions.

Emotional Regulation: EQ allows students to understand and regulate their emotions, leading to better focus, self-control, and decision-making. This skill is necessary for handling stress during exam periods, managing pressure, and coping with setbacks or failures in academics. Students with higher EQ can bounce back from challenges, maintain a positive attitude, and persist in their studies.

Social Skills: EQ helps students develop effective communication skills, including listening, verbal and non-verbal cues interpretation, and understanding others’ perspectives. These skills are crucial for participating in discussions, asking questions, seeking help, and forming study groups to enhance understanding and collaboration.

Leadership and Life Skills: EQ is vital for leadership and personal growth beyond academics. It enables students to become self-aware, adaptable, resilient, and empathetic individuals. These qualities support effective decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and teamwork, which are essential in professional and personal aspects of life.

Emotional Intelligence Can be Developed While IQ is Stable

It is noteworthy to mention that emotional intelligence is not fixed from birth and can be developed and enhanced throughout one’s life.

Unlike IQ, which remains relatively stable throughout adulthood, emotional intelligence can be cultivated through various practices, such as self-reflection, mindfulness, and interpersonal training.

Research has shown that emotional intelligence can be improved through targeted interventions, and individuals who invest in developing their emotional intelligence can experience significant improvements in their overall well-being and success.

Related: Social Intelligence Test

Lessons from Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ’

Emotional intelligence and IQ useful in education

1. The Ventilation Fallacy

Sometimes expressing your anger would prolong your bad mood and emotions. It is always in good taste to let your bad emotions run out on their own instead of instinctively giving in to it.

Goleman argues that expressing anger would not make you feel any better but elongates and amplifies the negative effect of the situation.

It arouses the emotional region of your brain and makes you angrier which might lead to a loss of self-control.

Loss of self-control caused by emotional hijacking is a dreaded negative attitude that can also lead to a physical altercation and more serious outcomes.

This does not mean however that it’s wrong to get angry because it’s also a way to validate or get your feelings across, though not the best way.

The key is to be fully conscious of the situation to control and know when you are losing it.

Taking a deep breath to slow down your heart rate helps the body to go from high arousal to relaxing.

It’s best to go for a walk or anything that can distract you from the angry feelings. It’s not easy but with constant practice, it becomes a handy skill that you employ each time in such situations.

It would get to a level where you will not even find yourself in such a situation because you block it before it comes to your consciousness.

2. Distract yourself from negative feelings when you are sad and do not ruminate

Focusing on initial sad thoughts deepens and prolongs sadness. Purging negative thoughts is key.

Deliberate distraction breaks the cycle of sadness caused by negative thoughts. Emotions occur instinctively but can be controlled.

Engaging in uplifting activities, exercise, or even crying can help, but deliberate action is necessary for success in managing negative thoughts.

3. Criticize the right way

In our daily interactions, we often critique others, especially those we manage. Effective management requires high emotional intelligence, employing empathy, social awareness, and competence.

When criticizing, it’s crucial to avoid deflating motivation and using harsh tones.

For instance, responding to a child breaking a glass with care rather than anger creates a better platform for teaching and nurturing a positive relationship.

This approach boosts morale and fosters effective learning.

4. Emotional Contagion

Emotional contagion involves the spontaneous transmission of emotions and behaviors to others, influencing their emotional states and attitudes.

This can occur consciously or unconsciously, fostering emotional synchrony and enhancing relationships. It involves mimicry of expressions, vocals, postures, and movements, and is crucial for learning and gauging emotions.

For instance, when people reciprocate a smile, it indicates rapport and can encourage positive social interactions.

Emotional contagion is a powerful social skill that impacts personal connections and group dynamics, facilitating the shared experience of emotions across individuals.

Why Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Matters More than Intelligence Quotient (IQ)

Here are a few reasons why emotional intelligence matters more than IQ:

Better Interpersonal Relationships: Emotional intelligence allows individuals to effectively communicate, empathize, and connect with others. This is crucial in building and maintaining healthy relationships with friends, family, colleagues, and romantic partners.

Enhanced Leadership Skills: Emotional intelligence is a key trait in effective leaders. Leaders with high EI are more likely to inspire and motivate their team, understand their needs and concerns, and create a positive work environment. They are also adept at managing conflicts, building trust, and resolving issues, leading to higher productivity and employee satisfaction.

Improved Mental Health and Well-being: Being emotionally intelligent allows individuals to better understand and regulate their own emotions, which in turn positively impacts their mental health.

Success in the Workplace: Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in career success. While IQ may help individuals excel in specific tasks or technical skills, EI is essential for thriving in team settings, managing oneself, and dealing with complex social interactions.

Effective Decision-making: Emotionally intelligent individuals can better understand and manage their emotions when making decisions. They can objectively evaluate situations, consider various perspectives, and control impulsive reactions. This helps in making rational and well-informed decisions, rather than being solely driven by logic or impulsivity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does emotional intelligence matter more than IQ?

Emotional intelligence matters more than IQ because it influences how we navigate relationships and manage emotions, crucial for personal and professional success.

Why is emotional intelligence more important than cognitive intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is more important than cognitive intelligence because it directly impacts how we understand and interact with others, leading to effective communication and collaboration.

Is EQ more accurate than IQ?

EQ can be more accurate than IQ in predicting success, as it encompasses social skills, empathy, and self-awareness, which are vital in various life domains.

Who said EQ is more important than IQ?

Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and science journalist, popularized the idea that EQ is more important than IQ in his book “Emotional Intelligence.”

Final Thoughts

Emotional intelligence is a critical factor in our personal and professional lives.

While intelligence quotient (IQ) may indicate cognitive abilities, emotional intelligence (EI) focuses on how well we recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as how effectively we empathize with others and handle interpersonal relationships.

Emotionally intelligent individuals tend to be more successful in various aspects of life, including relationships, leadership, and personal well-being.

They have better interpersonal skills, are more effective leaders, and possess the resilience to navigate challenges and achieve long-term success.

Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence can be developed and enhanced throughout life, making it an essential skill worth investing in.


  1. Emotional Contagion
  2. https://www.betterup.com/blog/eq-vs-iq#:~:text=Type%20of%20ability%3A%20Your%20EQ,analytical%20thinking%2C%20and%20knowledge%20retention.
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/eq-vs-iq
  4. https://www.verywellmind.com/iq-or-eq-which-one-is-more-important-2795287
  5. https://www.socialigence.net/blog/difference-between-iq-eq-and-sq-the-social-intelligence-and-why-sq-is-the-future/
The Conducts Of Life | piousclements@gmail.com | Website | + posts

Pious Clements is the insightful voice behind "The Conducts of Life" blog, where he writes about life ethics, self-development, life mastery, and the dynamics of people and society.

With a profound understanding of human behaviuor and societal dynamics, Pious offers thought-provoking perspectives on ethical living and personal growth.
Through engaging narratives and astute observations, he inspires readers to navigate life's complexities with wisdom and integrity, encouraging a deeper understanding of the human experience and our place within society.