Emotional Intelligence — What Do the Numbers Mean?

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Intelligent people are often described as having “high IQs.” But more often than not in the business world, the most competent, capable and effective individuals are those with high EQs. In fact, people with average scores on traditional intelligence tests outperform those with high IQs 70% of the time, and the reason is the presence of EQ, or emotional intelligence.


The more we learn about emotional intelligence, the more it is revealed to be the source of success for individuals across a wide spectrum of roles, organizations and industries. In the past, traditional intelligence scores like the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) were considered the gold standard for predicting performance. Surprisingly, a high IQ score is not the predictor of success that we thought it was years ago.

Intelligence certainly should be valued, but it has been historically overvalued in the workplace. The fact is that intelligence, or IQ, is not meaningful unless it is paired with qualities such as self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Otherwise, it is nothing more than an indicator of someone’s ability to perform well on diagnostic tests.


What Is EQ and Why Is it So Important?

I think most of us have a grasp of what emotional intelligence means, but it can be difficult to define. Recently, I wrote an article describing how to hire for emotional intelligence. In it, I described the core qualities of EQ as empathy, motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation and social skills. I would add that emotional intelligence describes the ability to manage oneself and one’s decisions in a manner that recognizes the effects on others.

People with high EQs understand themselves and their emotions clearly. They are also keenly aware of how they influence people around them. Basically, EQ is the type of intangible intelligence that gives people an awareness of their emotions and their impact. But it doesn’t stop there — high-EQ individuals also understand how to manage the emotions of themselves and others, particularly in pressure-filled situations.

If you think about it, it’s easy to see why EQ is such a valuable commodity within organizations. Soft skills like empathy, curiosity and trust are built on the foundation of emotional intelligence. And we are learning more and more that soft skills are the key to organizational success.

Since EQ can be such a slippery subject to understand, I think it’s useful to explore the numbers and statistics associated with emotional intelligence.

Let’s get started!


The Numbers and What They Mean

Here are some of the numbers that illustrate the impact EQ has on organizations:

  • EQ is responsible for 58% of professional success, regardless of job category — Of all the workplace skills a person can possess, none is more impactful than EQ. It is the single strongest predictor of performance, and it serves as the foundation for a variety of other critical skills like time management, communication and customer service.
  • 90% of top performers score high on emotional intelligence; just 20% of low performers score high on emotional intelligence — The more emotionally intelligent you are, the more likely you will be a top performer. Given this statistic, it is extremely unlikely that anyone with a low EQ score will become a top performer. Unless, of course, they work hard to develop their emotional intelligence.
  • People with high emotional intelligence earn, on average, $29,000 more annually than those who score low on EQ — People who perform well get paid more, and there is a direct correlation between salary and emotional intelligence. For each percentage-point increase in EQ, a person can add $1300 to their annual salary. This is true across industries, regions and levels.
  • A 40-year study of PhDs at UC Berkeley found that EQ was 400% more powerful than IQ when predicting who would have success in their field — Even the smartest of the smart benefit significantly by high levels of emotional intelligence.
  • PepsiCo performed an internal study revealing that managers with highly developed EQ skills outperformed yearly revenue targets by 15-20%; managers with low emotional intelligence underperformed at the same rate — Emotionally intelligent leaders possess qualities that drive their teams to exceed expectations on a consistent basis. Leaders who lack emotional intelligence, on the other hand, underperform just as consistently.

The impact EQ has within organizations is nothing short of dramatic. And these numbers only begin to scratch the surface of what we know about emotional intelligence and its benefits.

But the most important fact about EQ is that it can be improved and developed. While a person’s IQ generally remains static throughout life, an individual’s EQ can be enhanced. This is good news for leaders who want to sharpen their emotional intelligence to gain a competitive edge and perform exceptionally well. It also means that leaders can employ tactics to make their team members more emotionally intelligent, as well.


Habits to Develop a Higher EQ

The most effective way to enhance your EQ is to engage in regular habits that strengthen the communication between the rational mind and the emotional mind.

Tapping into self-awareness and practicing mindfulness are great ways to strengthen the brain and build connections between its rational and emotional zones. Emotionally intelligent people notice their emotions as they happen, which is not always easy, but it can be improved with a regular mindfulness or meditation practice.

Emotionally intelligent people also get into the habit of recognizing when their stress levels rise, and they don’t allow stress to take over. Instead, they build healthy habits to reduce stress and remain calm. Exercise is just one example of many habits that can help tremendously.

Additionally, those with high EQs make positivity a habitual practice. Even when things look dire, they can find gratitude and positivity. This allows them to remain proactive, which gives them the ability to make the best possible decisions during the toughest of times.

Emotional intelligence also tends to increase naturally with age. When people say that wisdom comes with age, what they are really referring to is emotional intelligence.

Finally, leaders who want to develop their EQ and pass on their healthy habits to the people on their teams can turn to coaching to improve their emotional intelligence. The perspective and voice of a trusted expert on EQ can unlock emotional intelligence and improve it significantly.


Ready to Raise Your EQ Score?

I love seeing the impact that well-developed emotional intelligence can have on organizations. Leaders have tons of untapped potential when it comes to their EQs, and Leaders Edge is here to help them unleash it.

Are you ready to learn more about how you can lead more effectively by developing your emotional intelligence? I want to hear from you! Call me today at 1-855-871-3374 or reach out via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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