What’s more important – IQ or EQ?

December 12, 2021

Richard Branson was recently asked this question: What’s more important? IQ or EQ? His response was:

In short, I think being emotionally intelligent is more important in every aspect of life – and this includes business. Being a good listener, finding empathy, understanding emotions, communicating effectively, treating people well, and bringing out the best is critical to success. It will also help you build a business that really understands people and solve their problems, and it will make for a happier and healthier team too

If I had let my IQ and my school grades determine my success I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today, so I hope that nobody lets a standardised test result get in the way of a good idea.

Branson’s definition of EQ – listening, being empathetic, and understanding the emotions of others – is a good way of explaining what EQ is. But he goes further, with the idea of acting on behalf of his employees at all times (treating people well and bringing out the best in them, solving their problems).

And he says that this focus on EQ has been the key to his success. He also famously noted years ago that he focuses on treating his employees well and keeping them happy so that they will focus on the customer.

To hear someone of his success and stature talk about the importance of EQ, and credits this focus as key to his success, is important to note.

The same can be said for others, like Dan Price, CEO of Gravity Payments, who was an overnight social media phenomenon when he decided to make $70,000 the minimum salary at his company. Why did he do it? Because he found out one of his employees had a 2nd job – at McDonald’s – to make enough money to live.

He was appalled and gave her a raise, immediately. And realized that an employee who doesn’t make enough money is distracted at work and not at their best. What happened after he lowered his salary to afford to pay minimum wage of $70,000/year? The company tripled their revenues.   

I’m not proposing that everyone restructure salaries (though the data does make one pause to consider this idea). What Dan Price did, like Richard Branson, was focus on his employees, understanding that they are the key to his company’s success.

The critical issue of emotional intelligence is one of the reasons we created Marketing Career Mentor. It helps to address the questions and issues people have as employees, working in marketing. And it shares the type of emotion intelligence that’s helpful for navigating a work environment. And it further teaches the skills that are key to  managing a team, for those who want to move into management positions.

Teaching about EQ and these thought-patterns and interpersonal skills is why we’re here.