IQ vs. EQ In The Workplace

IQ vs. EQ In The Workplace: 7 Tips to Balance the Two Forces

When it comes to a balanced leadership style, both EQ and IQ are essential. A high IQ can help with problem-solving skills and critical thinking. In contrast, a high EQ can help with empathy and emotional intelligence, which are necessary for effective communication and team building. As such, both IQ and EQ are essential for managers who hope to lead. Before jumping into IQ vs. EQ, let’s first understand both terms.

What is Intelligence Quotient (IQ)?

The first player in IQ vs. EQ is IQ. There’s no doubt that intelligence (IQ) is one of the most critical skills a manager can have. It determines a person’s cognitive abilities, social skills, and how adaptable they are emotionally under pressure. A high score indicates greater intelligence. IQ tests are a measure of intelligence that considers verbal and mathematical ability. However, intelligence is not a phenomenon that can yield concrete measurements. IQ scores are related to several factors, such as childhood experiences, nutrition, socioeconomic status of parents, etc. IQ tests are popular for assessing someone’s intellectual capabilities, such as in the hiring process or assessment for promotion opportunities. They are also used to predict performance in education or job.

In its earliest form, IQ was the ratio of a person’s mental age to their actual age. The average peer group IQ was said to be 100. Over the years, progress in research made multiple additions to theory and testing. At present, the Stanford-Binet test is the most popular IQ test. Broadly, it has become a measurement of how one performs in a mental test. 

What is Emotional Quotient (EQ)?

The second component of IQ vs. EQ is EQ. The other corollary concept is EQ – emotional quotient. EQ is a concept that has been studied extensively over the years, and it has a lot to offer managers. In its simplest definition, EQ is the ability to perceive, understand and deal with emotions of self and others. The theory behind EQ is that it’s vital for managers because it helps them perceive, understand, and relate to emotions from other people. This leads to improved communication, productivity, and satisfaction at work. It helps them empathize with their employees and fosters an excellent work-life balance.

High EQ candidates are more likely to have the ability to identify and use emotions in everyday situations. This includes a recognition of various emotions and adapting themselves to deal with them appropriately. People with higher EQ are said to have better personal lives, a better work-life balance, and a great job maintaining relationships.

You can read more about perceived gender differences in EQ here.

The concept of EQ is not new, and it first appeared in the 1960s. Later on, the famous book by Daniel Goleman, called Emotional Intelligence, brought the spotlight onto it. Various models have been developed to understand EQ better. Measurement tools for EQ are subject to heavy criticism, primarily due to the assumed codependence between EQ and IQ.

The importance of EQ and IQ for Managers

IQ vs. EQ is an old hot topic. The debate about the supremacy of IQ or EQ is long and tedious. EQ (emotional intelligence) and IQ (intelligence quotient) are two essential skills managers need. While IQ is critical for problem-solving, EQ is vital to managing a team effectively. A high IQ is a testament to a manager’s nuanced critical thinking and cognitive ability, sure to help them magnificently in their role. Meanwhile, dealing with a large number of people requires one to have the ability to perceive, understand, and effectively use emotions to get their job done. In essence, it is not an either-or question.

Having both qualities allows managers to think critically and solve problems quickly. In addition, EQ can help managers better understand their employees and how they are feeling. This enables them to develop constructive and supportive relationships with their team members. They can see the big picture and often have a balanced perspective on issues. This makes them better mentors, communicators, and team players. Now let us understand how the match of IQ vs. EQ helps in the office setting.

IQ vs. EQ in the workplace

The need for a particular skill may be higher or lower in different job roles, but both remain crucial nonetheless. In a senior software development role, you might feel that your intelligence in logical matters comes to use much more than emotional skills. On the flip side, human resource managers must continuously utilize their emotional competence to understand people better to help the organization and the individuals. Yet, both these people need the other skill too!

The software developer has to collaborate with other engineers who come from different backgrounds and may not be able to understand their ways of work in the first instant. Meanwhile, the human resources manager has to work with extensive data to filter out the best candidates to recruit for a crucial role in their company. The role played by either IQ or EQ may not be clear-cut or visible easily. Nonetheless, both always add value to our work and experiences.

There is no doubt that intelligence (IQ) is an essential factor in a leader’s toolkit. However, emotional intelligence (EQ) is just as crucial. Leaders with high EQs can build close relationships with their employees, which fosters trust and respect. This, in turn, leads to successful outcomes. EQ allows for better communication and collaboration to unlock hidden productivity, which leads to improved performance.

iq vs eq
Balancing IQ and EQ

Management: A Balancing Act of IQ vs. EQ

In short, intelligence plus empathy equals success. To have a high IQ, a person must be able to think logically and analytically. However, to be successful leaders, the ability to empathize is also essential. Good leaders at EQ understand their employees’ feelings and can foster better relationships with them. They can see the big picture and often have a balanced perspective on issues- which is hard for someone with only an IQ. Additionally, they are great communicators, which allows them to build cohesion within their team. Finally, having both qualities gives managers the versatility needed in today’s marketplace.

Managing people in the workplace can be a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, you need a high IQ to think quickly and solve problems logically. On the other hand, you need to have an emotional quotient to handle stress and emotions well. In fact, having both an IQ and EQ is now seen as a critical requirement for managers in today’s fast-paced, ever-changing workforce. Having a balanced IQ vs. EQ will help you stay focused and efficient while managing people in your workplace. And that’s a skill that will serve you well in any career.

You can read more on how managers can master emotions here!

How can managers get the best of IQ vs. EQ at work? 7 Tips to Balance IQ and EQ in the workplace

Balancing IQ and EQ is crucial for effective leadership and success in the workplace. Here are seven tips to help managers get the best of both IQ and EQ:

  • Understand the Difference:  Recognize that IQ represents cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving and analytical skills, while EQ refers to emotional awareness, empathy, and relationship management. Understand that both are valuable and necessary in a well-rounded manager.
  • Develop Self-Awareness: Cultivate self-awareness by regularly reflecting on your emotions, reactions, and thought processes. Understand how your emotions affect your decision-making and interactions with others.
  • Practice Active Listening: Use your EQ to actively listen to your team members. Show genuine interest in their perspectives, concerns, and feedback. Active listening fosters better understanding and trust.
  • Strengthen Communication Skills:¬†Enhance your EQ by improving your communication skills. Express yourself clearly and empathetically, and encourage open and transparent communication within the team.
  • Strategic Decision-Making:¬†Utilize your IQ for strategic decision-making. Analyze data, assess risks, and make informed choices that align with the organization’s goals. Balance this with EQ by considering the impact on people and relationships. Ensure your intellectual analysis aligns with your ethical values, demonstrating integrity and promoting a positive work culture.
  • Cultivate Emotional Regulation:  Develop the ability to manage emotions, especially during challenging situations. Emotional regulation prevents impulsive reactions and helps you handle stress effectively.
  • Continuous Learning: Apply your IQ to acquire new knowledge and skills that benefit your role. Use your EQ to recognize your limitations, seek help, and learn from your mistakes.


The debate between intelligence quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) is an age-old one that has yet to be resolved. While both abilities are essential for managers, the intelligence quotient is the key to successful managerial performance. However, emotional quotient is often seen as a critical ability for understanding and managing people, leading to even higher team performance. This blog has outlined the importance of both EQ and IQ in leadership. Simply, we would understand that there is no clear victor in IQ vs. EQ. So, which one is more important for managers? That’s for you to decide!

Practice active listening to build emotional connections with your team.

Download the free active listening toolkit to learn active listening through sample frameworks and helpful self-assessments.


Which is more important in the workplace emotional intelligence or intellectual intelligence?

Effective management is a function of both EQ and IQ. In addition, emotional intelligence and intellectual ability both contribute in the workplace to derive results. As such, no component is solely responsible for success.

How to balance IQ and EQ for management?

Balancing IQ and EQ (Emotional intelligence) is essential for effective management. Self-awareness is critical to balancing IQ and EQ. Managers need to understand their strengths, weaknesses, emotions, and values, which can help them develop empathy and better connect with their employees.

How is EQ used in the workplace?

Managers use emotional intelligence in the workplace to solve people management challenges that can hurt team productivity. It includes having great conversations, building healthy working relationships with team members, and remaining empathetic and self-aware. All these activities help managers succeed with teams.

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