Being a part of today’s corporate world, we are much too aware about the prevalence and importance that is being lent to emotional intelligence. So let’s uncover how and when Emotional intelligence emerged into the world as a quotient of intelligence, a vital skill and a personality trait.
The term Emotional Intelligence was officially coined by Peter Salovey and John Mayer in an article of the same name published in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality in 1990. However, the concept of emotional intelligence as an ability to perceive, express and manage emotions has long existed in humankind. Daniel Goleman further popularized emotional intelligence by delving into its 5 essential components – Self Awareness, Self Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills. Through the academic coining of the term, this concept started being more recognised in workplaces particularly and society in general. Thus began the eternal IQ (intelligence quotient) vs EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) debate – which of the two is more important for success in life.
Firstly, we must understand that IQ and EQ are not mutually exclusive, i.e. to say that a person with high IQ can have high EQ as well. Both the quotients can coexist together in varying magnitudes. We must also realize that both the quotients are important in different ways. For instance, IQ is extremely important for academicians but at the same time it is highly crucial for our day to day chores. In a similar way, EQ is also important for everyone’s social survival. Research shows that having high EQ is positively correlated with ease of dealing with stress.
EQ can depend on and be varied due to different environmental factors such as temperament, upbringing, experiences, cultural factors, and trauma. The validity of IQ tests has also been questioned since it too can vary according to environmental factors which include nutrition, educational quality, socioeconomic status, health status, and motivation levels. Bias too seeps into the scoring of IQ tests as shown by research.
Along with the concept of IQ, a corresponding phenomenon that became popular was the Flynn effect. Over the course of the 20th century, there had been a notable rise in IQ scores, which came to be called the “Flynn effect.” This trend has shown an increase of approximately three to five IQ points per decade from as early as 1932. However, a recent study from Northwestern University found evidence of a reverse “Flynn effect” in a large U.S. sample between 2006 and 2018 in every category except one. Similarly, researchers have also found a decline in EQ scores. According to the State of the Heart 2016 report, which examined over 1,00,000 people in 126 countries, performance on EQ tests is declining all over the world. Some reasons for this could be the increased stress, especially workplace, introduction of technology and AI as well as lack of in person social interaction.
While we cannot definitively determine which of the two quotients takes the win as a factor of life success, we can say for certain that they cannot lead to success independently. We need both those quotients to find our place in our respective fields. For this reason, many corporations these days assess both IQ and EQ as a part of their recruitment process. Moreover, due to the constantly widening effect of technology and AI, there is a dire need to protect and improve the human race’s EQ.