What it Takes To Be a Great Leader , EQ or IQ ?

Emotional Intelligence has of late become a very fashionable word in the corporate world! Everyone is talking about how EQ or EI (Emotional quotient or Emotional Intelligence, the terms can be used interchangeably) is perhaps more important than IQ(intelligence quotient). A lot of training hours are being spent on training managers/ leaders on emotional quotient.

Let us first demystify the term.

Mayer & Salovey (1997) said, “Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth.”

It was Daniel Goleman who made it a household name with his book, ‘ Emotional intelligence why it can matter more than IQ’ Emotional Intelligence, according to Daniel Goleman, is, “understanding one’s own feelings, empathy for the feelings of others and the regulation of our emotions in a way that enhances living.”

The management structures have undergone a massive change in last few decades. It’s no longer an autocratic set up. The competition is cut throat and customer has become the axis around which the entire market revolves. Maintaining and sustaining relationships is the call of the hour. Individual excellence is appreciated and rewarded. However, if individual excellence is not coupled with the ability to perform in a team and have effective interpersonal skills, it takes one nowhere. We have enough and more examples of people who are brilliant academically but just couldn’t make much headway.


The organizations today focus as much on EQ as IQ. While the cognitive skills remain extremely important EQ is a major factor when hiring employees whether at lower level or in leadership roles. In an article published in HBR, 2004 issue, Daniel Goleman has clearly mentioned the importance of Emotional Intelligence. To quote him, “Cognitive skills such as big-picture thinking and long-term vision were particularly important. But when I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ, and emotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotional intelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at all levels.”


If we look around at the corporate world, what has really been the driving force of the so called successful leaders. All those who make to the IITs and IIMs or the top business schools have  very high IQs. Why is it that a few emerge as leaders and the rest just work, draw and handsome salary and somewhere lose their sheen.  What sets apart say an Indra Nooyi from the rest of her ilk. Clearly we live in a world inhabited by people. We have to work with people, grow with people, be mentored by them or mentor them. In a world where people are the most important resource it is but natural that the ability to manage one’s emotions and the emotions of those around us in a way that cements relationships in an environment of growth and innovation.   EQ will score any day over IQ. How empathetic are we to those around us in our world, Do we really understand what is the need of the customer who actually controls the market forces. What is the change that the team wants, what is the solution that the customer or client is looking at? While Technical skills and other cognitive skills are in no way less, what differentiates  an from so many other online platforms, is their ability to connect with people. These are the ones who lead and eventually change the way world functions.


About The Author

Ritu Shukla - MyVenture.inMs. Ritu Shukla

She is a consultant with Manipal Global education. In a career spanning almost 15 years, she has trained and mentored people across age groups. She has worked in a number of prestigious schools across India and eventually moved on to training.  An NLP practitioner, currently training to be a psycho therapist.



Click to comment
To Top
Read previous post:
Start your online business in just 5 minutes using Zepo

With huge discount offers to acquire new customers and the rising use of internet, the Indian e-commerce market is expected...