Leveraging Your Emotional Intelligence : IQ vs EQ

January 25, 2023

Leveraging Your Emotional Intelligence : IQ vs EQ

Emotions Intelligence : IQ vs EQ

  • Have you, in the past week, thinking about emotional intelligence?
  • While you’re thinking about it, do you consider yourself to be an emotionally intelligent person?
  • And have you ever thought about working consciously on your emotional intelligence?

The Power of Emotional Intelligence in the workplace

The concept of emotional intelligence was introduced to me at a consumer behavior conference back in 2012. I vividly remember when one of the presenters began his paper with a Surf Excel advertisement video which was pretty famous back in the 2012’s.

The ad involved a little boy and a little girl returning home from school on a pleasant monsoon afternoon. The frisky little boy was playfully hopping about the muddy puddles. He was unaware that his young friend, busy paying attention to his little frolics, had missed a step, and crash-landed painfully into a pool of mud. Thereby covering herself in mud from head to toe!

Embarrassed and hurt the little girl started weeping, and in the heat of the moment, our little hero decided to teach the atrocious puddle of mud a lesson!

He jumped into the mud pool!

Kicked, punched, and yelled at the grimy puddle of atrocity, who had dared to play his friend for a fool (covering himself in mud as well!).

Stopping himself only when his friend’s cries had transformed into giggles.

At home, surprisingly, their mother welcomed them with open arms, who would otherwise have been pretty mad judging the condition of their clothes.

The children were left confused, and the screen froze with the following tagline – Surf Excel, Daag Acche Hai. (Stains are good)  

“This is what is called an EQ-triggering advertisement,” said the presenter. It was interesting to realize how this common household advertisement had been playing with the emotions of its viewers, subtly gaining an entry into their monthly shopping list.

How do you measure emotional intelligence?

The Complexity of the Mind

The mind is a very powerful tool, with more than lakhs of neurons firing and exchanging data, moving together in ways that even modern science struggles to explain.

Imagine driving through the Leh-Manali highway, widely considered as one of the most perilous highways in India, because of those unforgiving hairpin turns and perpetually narrowing roads; not to forget the hazardous weather!

On such roads, most of the time you won’t find people with expensive cars, in fact, most of the cars in these areas are extremely under-equipped, yet a professional driver smoothly makes it across the road, while you enjoy the scenic beauty without a care in the world.

The car is the IQ – which is your intelligence quotient and there are a variety of ways to measure intelligence. Intelligence quotient shows how well we recall and relay information; it is our ability to measure things spatially; it is our ability to do things verbally and in written form. It is also your ability to manipulate and assimilate information.

Understanding IQ and Its Limitations

One can have a very high IQ with tremendous mathematical and linguistic skills, but still not get hired for that job. Such situations are extremely damaging since it makes us question your self-image.

Over the course of my life, I have seen many interviewees with high intelligence quotients being rejected frequently and the most common reason is that the interviewer was probably looking at how suitable the interviewee was with working in a team to achieve the common goal rather than gauging how proficients(he) was at what they already knew.

Going back to the Leh-Manali highway, if the car is your IQ, then the driver is your EQ (emotional quotient or emotional intelligence).

You can have a state-of-the-art, drop-dead gorgeous car capable of tearing the tarmac at blinding speeds; corner air-vent turns with pin-point accuracy, like a Lamborghini, and yet fail to drive past a professional driver in a humble hatchback on such roads.

Definition of Emotional Intelligence

  • EQ Beyond Emotion

    Emotional intelligence in its simplest definition is not about how much you know, but what you choose to do with your knowledge. Your EQ is how you take the room on as a human being and ask as well as inspire questions from the people around you. Despite your intelligence, if you’re able to read the room and see where the information you carry fits for the greater good; that is your emotional quotient.

    When most people listen to the term ‘emotional quotient’, they stop themselves at ‘emotional’. This has a bad connotation, which is usually the description of a person having or expressing strong feelings, which then defines itself as ‘emotional quotient/intelligence’ in our psyche. This definition is highly flawed. What we just did was give the definition of an ‘emotional person, and ‘emotional intelligence is something that is fundamentally different.  

    Ramona Hacker’s Definition of Emotional Quotient

    Ramona Hacker in her latest video says, “Emotional quotient is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and those of others, and it’s set to include three skills –

    1. Emotional awareness – empathy towards others and self
    2. Ability to harness emotions and apply them to other tasks, like problem-solving.
    3. Ability to manage emotions – which includes not only regulating your own emotions but also calming down or cheering other people.”

    From the above, one thing becomes clear, emotional people do not automatically have a high emotional quotient.

    People bully others, judge others, and stick to abusive relationships or toxic friendships for long periods of time, but find it difficult to either react or breakaway, because of insecurity due to a lack of emotional intelligence, because it’s hard to understand the difference between yourself and someone else on an emotional level.

    To truly change this and to comprehend someone’s emotional standpoint, we first need to accept the emotional quotient as a crucial skill in our society, thereby taking time to consciously work on it. Currently, we do neither!

Here are a few points on how to improve emotional intelligence:

  • Acknowledge emotions.
  • Differentiate and analyze emotions.
  • Accept and appreciate emotions.
  • Reflect on your emotions and their origins.
  • Handle your emotions.
  • Handle the emotions of others.

Contrasting IQ and EQ Improvement

Improving emotional intelligence is a definite possibility, but it is different from improving the intelligence quotient. All our lives we have intensively exercised our intelligence quotients in the process of preparing for multiple competitive exams, either for the ivy league colleges or for government jobs. There is always a scale to measure IQ, however, EQ is a more abstract entity.

Learning Through Trial and Error

Improving your intelligence quotient is more about finding your own unique way of understanding and eventually controlling your emotions. One of the best ways to approach an emotionally challenging situation is to talk about it with others – “What would you do in this situation”; “How do you approach that topic or this emotion?”.

It is a trial-and-error principle and with time you get better at managing your emotions. Once you master your own emotions, you can take care of others.

Mastering Emotions for Self and Others

It is simpler than you might think, most of the times people know where they need support emotionally, and if you ask them how you can help them, they tell you!

But if you want people to develop their own emotional intelligence, you ask them – “How do you think you can support yourself right now?” 

Embracing Emotional Intelligence

Being emotionally intelligent makes us take better decisions, spares us from emotional suffering because we know where it comes from and how to handle it. It makes us not impose emotional suffering on others thereby helping us make better choices in our interpersonal relationships because emotionally stable people connect on a different level.

Imagine a world filled with emotionally intelligent people, filled with acceptance, tolerance, inclusiveness, and mutual understanding. It would truly come across as John Milton’s “Paradise Regained.”

“Yet he who reigns within himself, and rules

Passions, desires, and fears is more a king.” – John Milton (Paradise Regained)

About Author

Tania Chatterjee

Tania Chatterjee

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