Q: I’ve been told that EI is twice a predictor of academic, business or personal success than IQ or technical skill. Are there any percentages that bear out on this that I can share with fellow colleagues?
A: No one can say with certainty at this point how IQ compares to EI as predictors of various kinds of success. That answer awaits a longitudinal study that follows a large number of people from childhood to adulthood. On the other hand, I have proposed the following relationship between EI, IQ, and success. First, IQ is by far the best predictor of what job or profession you can attain – you need a higher IQ to handle the complexities of nursing, teaching, accounting, software programming, and dozens of other cognitively demanding jobs. So, in general, IQ is the best predictor of academic and business success.
But once people are in a given profession – executives, lawyers, etc – then a “floor effect” for IQ means that they are competing with people who are about as smart as they are. So within a profession, emotional intelligence – how people manage themselves and their relationships – becomes a more powerful factor in who will emerge as most successful, or as a leader. And when it comes to success in personal life, I would bet EI matters more than IQ. But the data is not yet in.