Does EQ really matter

Emotional intelligence: the IQ is dead, long live the EQ

The so-called EQ is currently very popular and replaces the IQ in its importance. In fact, the latest studies show that employees with a high level of emotional intelligence advance faster in the company than those who are supposedly “highly intelligent”.

1. Why is emotional intelligence experiencing its boom right now?
2. What does the "EQ" actually stand for?
3. When is emotional intelligence helpful?
4. What happens if there is no EQ?
5. The five components of emotional intelligence
6. Can you learn emotional intelligence?

Why is emotional intelligence experiencing its boom right now?

According to the latest surveys on the importance of different types of intelligence, 62 percent of respondents rate emotional intelligence and IQ as equally important. 34 percent of those surveyed even consider emotional intelligence to be more important.

But where does this sudden surge in emotional intelligence come from? Experts are faced with a puzzle, but can make a plausible guess: In times when a large part of interpersonal communication takes place via digital portals or mobile phones, more and more people have difficulties with direct social contacts. Getting in touch with strangers, finding out their needs or working successfully in a team - these are skills that are currently lacking. In addition, the rapidly increasing number of mental illnesses, such as burnout, increases awareness of interpersonal relationships and factors outside the balance sheet or efficiency optimization. Companies need specialists with a high level of intelligence to maintain interpersonal relationships, mediation and sustainable team building. But it is precisely this sought-after emotional intelligence that seems to be in short supply at the moment. It is therefore also the new key to professional success.

What does the "EQ" actually stand for?

The EQ describes the emotional intelligence and should be directly compared to the IQ through the abbreviation. While the IQ mainly comprises skills such as memory, speed of processing, logical thinking or reasoning, the EQ describes a person's abilities in the following areas:

EQ cannot be determined from numbers or a test. It can therefore not be proven by a certificate or learned in a school. More and more companies are therefore trying to use the assessment center to find employees with a high level of emotional intelligence. You need this for a good working atmosphere and efficient and harmonious teamwork. While science assumed IQ to be the most important factor for professional success in the 1980s, it now considers emotional intelligence to be much more decisive. However, this is actually not a new development. Rather, it now seems to be finally being noticed and integrated into everyday business life.

When is Emotional Intelligence Helpful?

Perhaps, in the 1980s, emotional intelligence wasn't as important as it is today. It turns out to be particularly helpful in the new, digital and complex world. Permanent stability or security are a thing of the past. People have to cope with the rapidity of developments and at the same time be able to deal with a higher level of stress, instability and a lack of job guarantees. This ensures that emotions find their way into everyday work.

But there has been no room in industry for feelings or human weakness. A vicious circle that manifests itself in the growing days of illness through mainly psychological complaints. We are therefore looking for emotionally intelligent employees who perceive their own feelings, but also those of their colleagues, and can deal with them instead of adding fuel to the fire. The main reason for the high number of mental illnesses is not the increasing deadline pressure or the degree of difficulty of the work, but the employees lapse into unhealthy egoism, no longer support each other or even begin to vent their frustration with bullying. Everyone fears for their job and everyone fights for themselves ...

What happens if there is no EQ?

In theory, it all sounds very abstract. In practice, however, this mechanism is very shocking: 80 percent of all airplane crashes, for example, are based on avoidable pilot errors. They could have been prevented by the better cooperation of the crew. This also happens in everyday work, in the sense of a failed project or a decline in orders. If there is a lack of EQ in the upper management levels, the latest studies have shown falling productivity, high employee turnover, high sick leave as well as addiction problems and poor team spirit.

The five components of emotional intelligence

Science roughly divides emotional intelligence into five different components. The first three relate to the self, the last two to the outside:

  1. Self-confidence: People can only be socially competent if they can first perceive their own feelings. It is about the self-perception of one's own condition, the observation of the feelings and the reactions to them. As a result, emotionally intelligent people can make better and faster decisions, act more objectively, more goal-oriented and appear more self-confident. In the long term, people with a high EQ are healthier and less prone to mental illnesses due to their self-confidence.
  2. Self-control: The second factor builds on the first, because only those who perceive their own feelings can respond appropriately. It is based on the knowledge that we can control our emotions ourselves and that we always unconsciously react in the same way as with our past experiences. Therefore, if you manage to make your decisions independently and situation-specifically and not let yourself be misled by emotions, you will make better decisions.
  3. Self motivation: The third factor could also be described as enthusiasm or passion. It's about the ability to set personal goals, enjoy a job and stay motivated in the long term. To do this, a person must be able to dampen negative feelings and mobilize positive feelings, from within and without external pressure. By the way, this is also the secret of success of every famous athlete.
  4. Empathy: Now for the two external factors. A high level of emotional intelligence also includes a high level of empathy. This describes the ability to perceive and empathize with the thoughts and feelings of other people and to react appropriately to them. It is based on a knowledge of human nature and an interpersonal sympathy. Especially in professional life, it is unusual to put your feelings towards colleagues or the boss into words. Instead, an emotionally intelligent person can interpret the gestures, facial expressions, posture and the sound of the voice of his counterpart. Scientific tests show: empathic people are more popular, more successful and more emotionally stable.
  5. Social competence: Social competence is to be understood as a reaction to empathy. You now know how the other person feels. Socially competent people then also know how to react to it. You find it easier to establish and maintain relationships. An important characteristic in times when networking can make the difference between the success and failure of a company.

Can You Learn Emotional Intelligence?

Opinions are divided on this question. Most people believe that emotional intelligence is either learned in early childhood or not. However, experts also believe that it can at least be trained and optimized in the existing facilities. The better Emotion management then ultimately not only leads to more professional success, but also to better well-being and a healthier and happier life. Here are our tips for more EQ:

  • Train your self-awareness! Practice perceiving yourself and your feelings and reflecting them daily at a specified time, for example in the morning when you wake up or in the evening when you go to bed. Identify your patterns, for example early warning systems or angry reactions.
  • Read a good book! Yes, reading educates. But don't look for a non-fiction book, but a novel and try to put yourself in the shoes of the characters.
  • Go into the inner dialogue! Learn to relax, consciously control your thoughts and dose your reactions appropriately. To do this, you can try different relaxation mechanisms, such as meditation, yoga or autogenic training. Psychotherapy can also help in difficult cases.
  • Do not hesitate! React more consciously and hesitate just once before answering. For a set period of time, for example two days or a week, rethink each of your answers, your actions, your reactions ... you will soon be going through life much more consciously.
  • Take your time! For network maintenance. It makes sense to plan a fixed grid in the calendar. Just ten minutes a day can make a big difference.
  • Exercise! Physical activity is always related to mental activity and therefore sport can help to recharge your energy reserves and at the same time to be more aware of yourself, your body and your thoughts.
  • Become an actor! In fact, even participating in a small drama group can work wonders, because this is where you learn to put yourself in the shoes of a different character.

By the way, emotional intelligence is also a decisive criterion for Germans when choosing a partner. 79 percent of those surveyed, according to a study published by Statista, said that emotional intelligence was attractive. She was at the forefront of the various types of intelligence.

Do you agree? How important is emotional intelligence to you in your professional and private life?

Photo credit: Andrii Zastrozhnov /


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