Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence

October 4, 2012

in Business Thinking

I had a conversation with a coworker about the difference between intelligence – I.Q. – and emotional intelligence – sometimes referred to as E.Q.  I don’t have either but I know it when I see it.

This super slick graphic describes my experience of the relationship between I.Q. and E.Q.  And the likelihood that intelligence will get someone in trouble with E.Q.

Emotional Intelligence and the trouble with I.Q. | Chart by Rob Vandermark

On the left is the “Trouble” scale.  It’s a unit of measure I use a lot.  Now, trouble can be defined in many ways, and that’s the point of my use of that word.  It’s different for everyone.

My basic proposition in the conversation was that  intelligence can be a challenge for emotional intelligence.  Intelligence can get in the way; intelligence can be seen as a replacement for E.Q.  My points were twofold:

  1. Emotional intelligence is far more important, in business, than I.Q.  True in nearly all aspects of business, with a few exceptions.
  2. The fringes of intelligence tend to get in the way of E.Q.  Almost always.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule.  Speaking of tenets, here’s another:

  • People that are super smart tend to think that they are very E.Q.  Or they don’t care about E.Q.  Both of these views are trouble.

Which leads to tenet number 1,042:

  • When someone thinks they’re really good at something, that person usually isn’t.

Now, back to the story and graphic:  I find that I.Q. generally gets people in trouble.  There seems to be a bell curve for where that trouble arises:  both extremes of intelligence are problematic.  Or, too much of a “good thing” can be trouble – that’s tenet # 2,409.

This reminded me a bit of the Laffer Curve.

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