How to Boost Your Career with IQ and EQ

The debate, of what is more important for success in the work place “book smarts” or “street smarts”, continues.  Some scientists say that a higher IQ is the only contributing factor to success in the workplace, where others will argue that EQ (Emotional Intelligence) has a more powerful hand at creating success. So, which is better? Can one work without the other? How does each make an impact on your success?

What is IQ?

An intelligence quotient (IQ) is a total score derived from several standardized tests designed to assess human intelligence. In a company like Microsoft, one can certainly argue that “smart people make for better workers”. In this instance, the company needs workers with a higher cognitive ability, as the work is complex, and changing at a rapid rate. If the employee is unable to learn new skills, or develop new programmes at a fast pace, Microsoft runs the risk of losing their competitive edge.

Wharton Psychologist, Adam Grant, has concluded after several studies that “Cognitive ability (IQ) was 5 times more powerful than emotional intelligence (EQ). The average employee with high cognitive ability (IQ) generated an annual revenue of $ 195 000, compared with the $ 159 000 for those with moderate cognitive ability (IQ).” But Grant’s statement seems unfair, as there are plenty of people generating massive amounts of revenue for themselves and for their employers, who don’t have a high IQ.

Now a days, more companies, are starting to evaluate employees on their emotional intelligence (EQ), as it offers a more holistic view of the workers potential to succeed in the business.

What is EQ?

The broad definition of EQ is, the ability to perceive, understand and manage your own feelings and emotions. People with high EQ are self-aware, can regulate their own emotions, motivate themselves, show empathy and have good social skills.

Research has shown that people with a high EQ often have strong leadership potential, as they usually have higher levels of empathy, initiative and self-confidence. Employees are more likely to approach a leader who has a high EQ with an issue, as they would rather discuss their issue with someone that they trust and like, than with someone they don’t. People with a higher EQ are also generally better at motivating themselves and are less likely to procrastinate which leads to better performance.

So, it makes sense that to excel as an executive assistant, you will need to improve both your IQ and EQ. Having a combination and balance of both will make you indispensable to your boss. See our tips below for ways increase both your EQ and IQ.

4 Tips to Increase Your IQ

  • Become a renaissance woman – Study what you can, when you can. Add depth to your mind by identifying how this world works through History, Science, Psychology, Art etc.
  • Play a brain game like “Memory” – Matching pairs and forcing yourself to remember positions of cards / images can help your mind focus and increase your memory ability.
  • Do regular high cardio exercise – releasing endorphins can send your brain into overdrive and increases the blood flow through your body.
  • Learn an instrument – Learning to play music is the equivalent of giving your brain the full work out as it covers many of the multiple intelligences.

4 Tips to Increase Your EQ

  • Try reducing negative emotions & thoughts – When a friend doesn’t call back immediately, instead on convincing yourself it’s because she is ignoring you, consider that she may have been very busy.
  • Practice your ability to stay cool and manage stress – If you are feeling anxious, splash some cold water on your face, avoid caffeine and try act assertively rather than reactively.
  • Express difficult emotions when necessary – Practice the XYZ technique: “I feel X when you do Y in situation Z.” (Stay clear of “you” language – “you should…” or “you need to…”)
  • Stay proactive, not reactive in the face of a difficult person – Either take a deep breath and count to 10 when put in a situation that you would not want to react to; or imagine yourself in that person’s shoes. (Complete the sentence: “It must not be easy….”)

Want to see where you need to focus your energy? Take the tests below and devise an action plan for improvement, from the findings:

Test your EQ Here

Test your IQ Here

Possible courses that could assist in EQ development, and increase your skills:


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