EQ vs. IQ – emotional intelligence, intelligence quotient

Cynthia L. Kemper

Emotional Intelligence and the Heart Take Their Rightful Place Beside IQ and the Brain

Compelling evidence recently has surfaced, leading scientists to believe that Einstein’s superior intellectual ability may have been related to the region of his brain that supports psychological functions. In other words, according to Newsweek science reporter Steven Levy, “When it comes to appreciating the most famous brain of our century, it ain’t the meat – it’s the emotion.”

This new evidence is no surprise to those behind the latest rage in corporate competence – the idea of emotional intelligence (EQ) as a counterpart to intelligence quotient (IQ). Nor is the concept of EQ totally new to successful global communicators, many of whom have refined their emotional and communication competencies to a fine art.

What’s new is the recent identification of these skills under the singular phrase “emotional intelligence,” with an accompanying scientifically based, systematized approach to personal development that’s rapidly attracting attention within corporate and organizational settings today.

Research shows that emotional intelligence may actually be significantly more important than cognitive ability and technical expertise combined. In fact, some studies indicate that EQ is more than twice as important as standard IQ abilities. Further, evidence increasingly shows that the higher one goes in an organization, the more important EQ can be. For those in leadership positions, emotional intelligence skills account for close to 90 percent of what distinguishes outstanding leaders from those judged as average.

Understanding Emotional Intelligence

Physicians and business management experts are now reporting that the theory of emotional intelligence answers questions they’ve never been able to answer before.

Once referred to as personality, “soft skills,” character, or even communication skills, the scientifically based concept of emotional intelligence offers a more precise understanding of a specific kind of human talent.

“Emotional intelligence refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships,” says Daniel Goleman in his book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” (1999). It describes abilities distinct from, but complementary to, academic intelligence – the purely cognitive capacities measured by IQ.

Bruce Cryer, vice president, global business development, for Boulder Creek, California-based HeartMath, and co-author of “From Chaos to Coherence: Advancing Emotional and Organizational Intelligence Through Inner Quality Management” (1998), takes Goleman’s ideas one step further. He adds, “From proven biological models, we now know that emotional intelligence is not just a new twist on relaxation techniques, it’s about genuinely increasing the internal coherence and balance of a person. No longer is there any doubt that our emotional states affect our brain and its ability to process information.”

For communicators open to thinking outside the box, the idea of developing one’s emotional intelligence may not be far-fetched. Indeed, for those juggling the complexities and urgencies of effective communication within an increasingly demanding global marketplace, even a small increase in human proficiency and emotional management could provide welcome relief.

“Emotion informs everything we do,” explains Kate Cannon, president of Minneapolis-based Kate Cannon and Associates, Inc., and developer of the American Express Financial Advisors program featured in Goleman’s book “Working with Emotional Intelligence.” “Emotional intelligence is helping us truly understand what effective leadership is and how people develop it; why we’ve not gotten the expected results from change work in organizations; and why really smart people do really dumb things that end up derailing their careers.”

Uncovering the Origins of Emotional Intelligence

What is known about emotional intelligence today is grounded primarily in psychobiology and modern neuroscience. One of the first to point out the distinction between intellectual and emotional capacities was a Harvard psychologist named Howard Gardner, who introduced his theory of “multiple intelligences” back in 1983. His research identified seven kinds of intelligence – including math and verbal abilities – as well as two personal varieties he called “knowing one’s inner world” and “social adeptness.”

“Emotional intelligence,” as it is referred to today, was formally conceptualized in 1990 by Jack Mayer, Ph.D. – now a psychology professor at the University of New Hampshire – and Peter Salovey, Ph.D., a psychologist at Yale. But it wasn’t until Daniel Goleman’s first book, “Emotional Intelligence” – and his expanded perspective on EQ competencies and capacities in his second book, “Working with Emotional Intelligence” (1998) – that emotional intelligence theory was actively applied to the mainstream business world.

Also in 1998, Doc Childre, founder of the California-based Institute of HeartMath, launched HeartMath LLC. This for-profit arm was created to take the institute’s scientifically based studies of the effects of the heart on the brain and create tools designed to boost people’s “heart intelligence skills – a synergy of intellectual, intuitive and emotional intelligence.”

“The heart is now clearly seen as an active communication organ. Its actions and behavior influence everything we see and do in life,” says Cryer, who was responsible for creating the scientifically based tools and training methods HeartMath teaches worldwide today. “When your heart is really into something; when you’re working from a place of heartfelt emotions – like empathy, appreciation, and care – the result is more efficient management of the brain.”

So all this talk about emotions and heart as a valid form of intelligence have finally found a solid basis in scientific fact – making the organized development of emotional competencies an increasingly worthwhile endeavor today.

Connecting Brain Biology with the Work Place

Even though science has accomplished tremendous breakthroughs proving the significant effect of EQ on the overall success of our lives and work, one question still remains unanswered: How exactly does EQ show up in the work place day to day?

Take the finely tuned ability of a corporate communication director who smoothly navigates the turbulent waters churned up by a room full of hungry journalists after a public debacle – while keeping the corporate spokesperson and CEO calm.

Or what about the finesse required of a marketing communication consultant caught in a delicate balancing act between producing the best, most cost-effective identity package for her frugal start-up client, while not discouraging the enthusiastic graphics designer producing the creatives?

To understand fully how the effective use of emotional intelligence capabilities are a key to the successful outcomes in these scenarios, we need to look at the biological reasons why emotional intelligence is so strongly connected to our everyday reactions and interactions.

“When you’re looking at emotional intelligence-based competencies, you’re talking about a set of human capabilities that are based on the workings of a different part of the brain from pure cognitive ability or technical skill,” explains Goleman. “You’re dealing with the emotional brain, particularly the amygdala…the brain’s center for emotional memory, for emotional reactivity, and which has the ability to scan everything that’s happening to us moment to moment to see if it perceives a threat.”

As one of the most ancient parts of the brain and source of the fight-or-flight response, the amygdala has an important role in each of us – it’s a critical part of our survival. Even though we are approaching the 21st century, this circuit in our brain is still wired to take over when it senses an emergency – often taking on the unwitting role of saboteur.

Goleman goes on to explain that these threats – or “amygdala hijacks” as he calls them – can elicit a wide range of reactions. But three signs of detection are always present: “One, you have a very intense emotional reaction; two, it’s very sudden; and three, when the dust settles you realize that it was very inappropriate.”

When you insert this biological fight-or-flight response system into today’s high-stress, high-pressure work settings, it’s no surprise that intense, inappropriate emotional reactions often result.

“Part of emotional intelligence is being able to manage this circuitry well,” says Goleman. “And that’s a skill that can be learned.”

Cryer concurs, “Our research indicates that the next level in human efficiency and productivity will come through learning the inner technology of one’s own system.”

Developing Emotional Competencies at Work

To ensure a successful outcome in each of the scenarios above, Goleman says that every professional must develop the appropriate emotional intelligence “competencies” and “abilities” as underpinnings for his or her particular function or tasks.

“Emotional intelligence doesn’t just mean being nice … [it’s] a different way of being smart,” says Goleman. “Emotional competencies determine how we manage ourselves…[and] social competencies determine how we handle relationships.

“Emotional ‘intelligence’ determines our potential for learning the practical skills that are based on its five elements [or competencies]: self-awareness, motivation, self-regulation, empathy, and adeptness in relationships,” explains Goleman. “[But] our emotional ‘competence’ shows how much of that potential we have translated into on-the-job capabilities. An emotional ‘competence’ is a learned capability based on emotional intelligence that results in outstanding performance at work.” (See “The Emotional Competence Framework” below, showing Daniel Goleman’s five core dimensions of emotional intelligence and 25 emotional and social “competencies.”)

For example, communicators – who are held to very high standards today – are naturally expected to be good at communicating and dealing with people. Therefore, successful communicators may have already begun to develop emotional competencies and capabilities such as empathy: understanding others, service orientation and political awareness; and social skills: influence, communication and conflict management.

“[But] because communicators have become much more visible in recent years, and may even be leading teams and projects cross-functionally, new skills like teamwork [a social skill called team capabilities] and trustworthiness are now being demanded,” says Cannon. “Consumers also are smarter and more demanding, thus holding communicators to a higher standard overall.”

As roles for communication professionals are added and expanded, new competencies will continue to be required to ensure top performances at work. Emotional capabilities such as adaptability, optimism and handling stress may need to be developed along with abilities such as leveraging diversity and developing others.

But Goleman points out that just because someone is high in emotional intelligence does not mean that she will have learned the emotional competencies for her particular functions at work. Rather, it means only that she has an excellent potential for learning them.

“None of us is perfect on this scale; we inevitably have a profile of strengths and limits,” he says. “But … the ingredients for outstanding performance require only that we have strengths in a given number of these competencies – typically, at least six or so – and that the strengths be spread across all five areas of emotional intelligence. In other words, there are many paths to excellence.”

“Even at a biological level, when your heart is engaged, greater physiological coherence is accomplished,” adds Cryer. “The heart produces an electric signal 40 to 60 times stronger than the brain. Therefore, electrically speaking, it’s the dominant force in the human body.”

The old notion that the heart is just a pump is no longer valid – there’s a proven biological foundation to our intelligence. The hard-wired 24-hour connection between our brain and our heart – now scientifically proven by groups such as the HeartMath Research Center – ensures that the quality of our heart signals, and thus our emotional intelligence, affects our thinking and decision-making ability deeply.

Indeed, the application of science – in the form of biology and neuroscience – to the psychology of emotional effectiveness has opened a whole new magical world of possibilities and connections between our heart and emotions and our brain’s intelligence and cognitive abilities.

Through the development of emotional intelligence competencies – such as those outlined by Goleman – or the use of tools and systems for creating more emotional balance and intelligence – like those offered by HeartMath through their Inner and Emotional Quality Management training programs – communicators will continue to move beyond limiting 20th-century traditions, perspectives and boundaries.


[Multi-Health Systems in Toronto, Ontario]

The BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (BarOn EQ-i) is the world’s first scientifically validated measure of emotional intelligence or EQ. It measures a range of factors – emotional and social (such as assertiveness, empathy, problem-solving and optimism) that affect how people cope with daily environmental demands and directly influence their overall psychological well-being. A growing number of experts now say that EQ is a more accurate predictor of success in life than traditional cognitive measures such as Intelligence Quotient (IQ).

EQ-i was developed by Reuven Bar-On, Ph.D. – a clinical psychologist who received his doctorate from Rhodes University in South Africa and a senior psychodiagnostic consultant in Israel – after more than 18 years of research on emotional intelligence.

Multi-Health Systems Inc. (MHS) has the worldwide rights to publish and market the BarOn EQ-i. Established in 1983, MHS is a knowledge-based company engaged in the development, marketing and delivery of standardized and integrated behavioral assessment and diagnostic products. It is one of Canada’s top 100 fastest-growing companies.

The BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory covers 15 different factors, which are clustered into various categories such as Intra-Personal, Inter-Personal, Adaptability, Stress Management and General Mood. Examples of these factors include emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, empathy, interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, stress tolerance, impulse control and optimism.

Organizations interested in learning more about the BarOn EQ-i can call MHS directly at: 1-800-456-3003 (United States); or 1-800-268-6011 (Canada).


One of HeartMath’s most popular emotional management exercises is the Freeze Frame Technique. It allows one to recognize a stressful feeling, then freeze – it or deliberately take a time-out to breathe more slowly and deeply. This process improves balance in the autonomic nervous system, brain and heart and helps people handle stress differently from their usual reflex action.

1. Recognize the stressful feeling and freeze-frame it! Take a time-out.

2. Make a sincere effort to shift your focus away from the racing mind or disturbed emotions to the area around your heart. Pretend you’re breathing through your heart to help focus your energy in this area. Keep your focus there for 10 seconds or more.

3. Recall a positive, fun feeling or positive time you’ve had and attempt to re-experience it.

4. Using your intuition, common sense and sincerity – ask your heart, What would be a more efficient response to the situation, one that will minimize future stress?

5. Listen to what your heart says in answer to your question.

The Freeze-Frame[R] technique was excerpted from the book “From Chaos to Coherence: Advancing Emotional and Organizational Intelligence through Inner Quality Management,” by Doc Childre and Bruce Cryer (Butterworth Heinemann 1999). For information on the interactive CD-ROM version of “From Chaos to Coherence,” call (800) 372-3100.


Personal Competencies / Capabilities – determine how we manage ourselves:

Self-awareness Knowing one’s internal states, preferences, resources and intuitions.

* Emotional awareness Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects.

* Accurate self-assessment Knowing one’s strengths and limits.

* Self-confidence A strong sense of one’s self-worth and abilities.

Self-regulation Managing one’s internal states, impulses and resources.

* Self-control Keeping disruptive emotions and impulses in check.

* Trustworthiness Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.

* Conscientiousness Taking responsibility for personal performance.

* Adaptability Flexibility in handling change.

* Innovation Being comfortable with novel ideas, original approaches and new information.

Motivation Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.

* Achievement Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence.

* Commitment Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.

* Initiative Readiness to act on opportunities.

* Optimism Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.

Social competencies – determine how we handle relationships:

Empathy Awareness of others’ feelings, needs and concerns.

* Understanding others Sensing others’ feelings and perspectives, and taking an active interest in their concerns.

* Developing others Sensing others’ development needs and bolstering their abilities.

* Service orientation Anticipating, recognizing and meeting customers’ needs.

* Leveraging diversity Cultivating opportunities through different kinds of people.

* Political awareness Reading a group’s emotional currents and power relationships.

Social skills Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others.

* Influence Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.

* Communication Listening openly and sending convincing messages.

* Conflict management Negotiating and resolving disagreements.

* Leadership Inspiring and guiding individuals and groups.

* Change catalyst Initiating or managing change.

* Building bonds Nurturing instrumental relationships.

* Collaboration/cooperation Working with others toward shared goals.

* Team capabilities Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.

Cynthia L. Kemper is president, Edgewalkers International, Denver, Colorado. email: ckemper@edgewalkers.com

COPYRIGHT 1999 International Association of Business Communicators

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