Yes, IQ Is Still Crucial to Leadership. Here's Why

Posted by Rick Yvanovich

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When it comes to the roles of EQ and IQ in leadership, there seems to be a preference, even bias, for EQ (emotional intelligence). On one hand, EQ is important for a leader since it indicates one’s empathy with others. On the other hand, IQ also plays a critical role in a leader’s competency and ability to meet requirements.

Read more: Back to Basics - What is Talent Management?

What does IQ measure?

IQ stands for "intelligence quotient," which represents a person’s ability to learn and understand information, and then apply that information to reality, to solve problems, engage in abstract reasoning. 

Specifically, IQ does not rely on a person’s general knowledge of facts and figures. IQ measures more on the problem-solving skills, pattern recognition, mathematical logic, and find connections among verbal concepts’ aspect.

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successful leadership with IQ

So based on what principle is IQ measured? If you search “IQ test” on Google, you will receive more than 9 million results. However, in this pool of IQ assessments, very few of them give out legit, trusted results.

In order to get a valid IQ result, you must take assessments conducted by a licensed professional or by companies that public IQ tests. Mostly, these assessments measure your cognitive ability, predict multiple future life outcomes like income, education level, health, even longevity.

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How IQ predicts your leadership potential

In a related article by Harvard Business Review, three aspects that make up a high-potential employee were pointed out: ability, social skills, and drive. “Ability” implies an individual’s cognitive ability, or IQ. It is explained that one’s ability to solve complex, practical problems, to learn and master the requisite knowledge and skills is best predicted with IQ or cognitive ability.

A sufficient leader must be able to understand the complexities of the business to guide them and allocate task accordingly.

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IQ and EQ altogether make the best of a leader

A true leader needs both EQ and IQ. Balancing these two is key to leadership success. 

Emotional Intelligent has gone viral in the talent industry during recent years. EQ defines a person’s ability to identify and monitor emotions -- both of your own and others'. And it contributes notably to the leadership skills of an individual: interpersonal and leading teams. Others, such as business savvy and financial acumen, depend more on IQ.

IQ is needed for leaders to be successful. However, a IQ score that is too high might negatively affect your leadership ability, as your followers fail to understand you.

IQ seems to be a better factor than EQ in shaping task-oriented leaders, those who stress on accomplishing specific goals. Leaders who achieve the most success tend to have similar IQs to those they lead.

Read more: Should Organisations Invest in a Leadership Development Plan in 2018?

In short, it’s obvious that intelligent people become more successful later on than those who aren’t. The point stands at whether it does so at any level of intelligence. IQ alone, won’t guarantee your success. It takes more than that, to be able to influence, motivate, and inspire. That's where the importance of EQ stands.

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

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