Important Distinctions Between EQ and IQ



EQ and IQ are terms that are often confused and mistakenly used with each other. However, there are some very important distinctions between EQ and IQ. IQ is known as “Intelligence Quotient” and it’s a measure of a person’s relative intelligence. Emotional Quotient, also known as EQ, is the ability to identify and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. The sky’s the limit for a person who excels in both areas.


Intelligence Quotient


Merriam-Webster defines IQ as “a number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person. Determined by either the ratio of the mental age (as reported on a standardized test) to the chronological age multiplied by 100 - or a score determined by one's performance on a standardized intelligence test relative to the average performance of others of the same age.”


The secondary definition is “proficiency in or knowledge of a specified subject.” “Nobody can question this fan’s baseball IQ” is an example of the secondary definition used in a sentence.


A person scoring below 70 is typically considered to have an intellectual disability, while those scoring over 145 are considered genius or near-genius. While it’s technically possible to score at or above 180, two-thirds of the population have an IQ somewhere between 85-115. IQ can change over time depending on a person’s propensity to learn new concepts.

Emotional Quotient


Emotional Quotient (EQ) is defined as an individual’s ability to sense, understand and effectively apply the power and acumen of emotions to facilitate higher levels of collaboration and productivity. EQ is often referred to as emotional intelligence as the terms are interchangeable.


Research shows that successful leaders and superior performers have well developed emotional intelligence skills. This makes it possible for them to work well with a wide variety of people and to respond effectively to the rapidly changing conditions in the business world. In fact, a person’s emotional intelligence may be a better predictor of performance success than intelligence.


Emotional Intelligence is measured through assessments. A person answers a series of questions, and in doing so, earns a specific score for each of the five individual sub-categories that make up EQ, as well as an overall score. Like IQ, a person can focus on specific areas of EQ and work to improve their scores.

5 Components of Emotional Quotient


When considering emotional intelligence, we look both internally and externally. EQ considers how we think about ourselves and how we think about and act toward others.

The stronger a person is in each of these areas, the better chances he or she possesses to achieving greatness in most situations.

The three internal hallmarks of emotional intelligence pertinent to self are:

  • Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your moods, emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others.

  • Self-regulation is the ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods and the propensity to suspend judgement and think before acting. In practice, it is your ability to influence your emotional clarity.

  • Motivation is a passion to work for reasons that go beyond the external drive for knowledge, utility, surroundings, others, power or methodology and are based on an internal drive or propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence.

Externally, EQ is a measure of what goes on between you and others.

  • Social-awareness is the ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people and how your words and actions affect others. Summed up, it’s all about assessing others.

  • Social-regulation is your ability to influence the emotional clarity of others through a proficiency in managing relationships and building networks.

How to Gauge EQ


Unlike very observable behavioral styles, EQ is best measured through the use of assessments. Based on the answers to questions, a person will score somewhere between 0 and 100. The higher the score, the higher the EQ.


Understanding a person’s EQ, along with knowing their natural behavioral style and their drivers can help paint a clearer picture of what that person is all about and how they will likely behave in certain situations.