IQ vs EQ

My boss just the other day remarked on my EQ (emotional intelligence) being one of my greatest strengths.



I know my IQ score, but I have never been curious about my EQ or given it any thought for that matter. But this got me thinking: all those personal assistant jobs and customer service jobs I've had since college... were they all due to my EQ? or just the insanely high value I place on being trustworthy, reliable, and productive?

Let's get a little perspective:

I always hated group projects in school. I was the person who didn't trust anyone else to do any of the work (and, by the way, I was usually right) and would delegate a workload intended for three people mostly to myself, while leaving my three team members the scraps. Needless to say, I haven't always been a team player. If a deadline is involved or stakes are high, I trust myself and a very small number of people to be reliable enough to... well, rely on. This mentality has awarded me with late nights, a never-ending workload, and enough stress to cause an eye twitch that lasted months. But as it turns out, priding yourself on being reliable makes you desirable.

Multiple times in middle school, I was given my teacher's keys and ID badge to get something out of her car during school. When I worked in retail, I quickly rose to higher positions where it was my job to count and record all the financials. I am secretary of the board for one company I work for and treasurer of the board for the other. I hold the spare keys to all my friends' apartments. The number of times people trust me with their pets or their credit cards is astonishing. All of this is not to say they are ill-advised in putting this responsibility in my hands. I am more than capable of delivering, but why do people lean on me so much? Is it my EQ or simply that I almost kill myself to keep up the appearance of being able to handle everyone else's work?

Let's get some facts:

Most speak about EQ in the terms of four key principles: self awareness, self management, social awareness, and relationship management. These categories break down to include a strong connection to emotions and the root of the emotions, strength in reading a room and being able to lead multiple personalities with success, diving head first in new social experiences, and not letting others influence your mood and productivity. People with higher EQs are much more productive and effective employees—so much so that having a higher emotional intelligence will earn you on average $29,000 more per year than your lower EQ counterpart.

But a lot of what I read about EQ doesn't sound like me. Especially the part about diving into new social environments and the emotional connectivity. While I do think I have a good grasp on what I'm feeling, I'll be the first one to tell you that it's not my strength to be able to tell you why I'm feeling it. And in terms of social situations, I literally used to hide from guests when I was younger because the thought of going through a sufficiently awkward conversation with a stranger was the last thing I was willing to do.

I also wish I were the superhuman who doesn't let others affect them, but, I assure you, I am not.


While I don't think I have an emotional deficiency and clearly others think I'm high on the EQ scale, I don't think my EQ is really to credit when it comes to people relying on me. I really think it's a track record of showing up on time, meeting deadlines, understanding what needs to be done and figuring out how to make it happen, and being open to learning new skills. If a slightly higher EQ has enabled me to do these things, then so be it. But it's not the IQ that gets people into college, it's what they do with it.