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IQ,EQ and SQ

Outstanding performers with high levels of Intelligence Quotient (IQ), Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) and Spiritual Quotient (SQ) can rarely be found in traditional organisations, says Geeta A Sundrani

For long, the world gave much importance to Intelligence Quotient (IQ). This attitude is a legacy of the early 20th century when psychologists devised tests to measure intelligence. These tests primarily measured intellectual or rational intelligence (used to solve logical problems). The higher the figure, the belief went, the greater the intelligence.

IQ is associated with serial processing activity of brain (rational thought). It is associated with our neural tracts. Neural tracts learn (are wired) according to a fixed program, the rules of which are laid down in formal logic. The learning involved is step by step and rule bound. When we teach children their times table by rote, we are encouraging them to wire their brains for serial processing. It produces the kind of thinking that is useful for solving rational problems or achieving definite tasks.

Intelligence quotient measuring has existed for much longer than EQ measuring. Alfred Binet developed the first modern IQ test in the early 20th century. Since then, many modifications on intelligence quotient testing have been made. Currently an IQ test involves a set of standardised questions for which one receives a score.

While the IQ can measure concepts like logical reasoning, word knowledge and math skills, many feel it is not adequate in measuring creative abilities or emotional abilities. In fact, some with high IQs do not seem to be particularly adept at maintaining relationships or seem socially awkward at best.

For example IQ measurements on most children with autism are typically very high, yet it is well known that these children are burdened by their inability to communicate in other forums. Thus other tests may be administered to evaluate such a child’s ability according to other standardised testing methods.

Intelligence quotient testing is now not administered very frequently, since some feel it merely measures how well people do on IQ tests. Emotional quotient testing is becoming more popular in the workplace since some employers feel it will help predict how well potential employees might do in stressful circumstances.

Emotional intelligence quotient

Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ) is increasingly relevant to organisational development and developing people, because EQ principles provide a new way to understand and assess people’s behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Emotional Intelligence Quotient is an important consideration in all aspects of an organisation: human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, etc. The good news is, unlike IQ, EQ skills can be developed and improved over time.

EQ – A measure of one’s emotional intelligence, as defined by the ability to use both emotional and cognitive thought. Emotional intelligence skills include but are not limited to empathy, intuition, creativity, flexibility, resilience, stress management, leadership, integrity, authenticity, intrapersonal skills and interpersonal skills. It involves the lower and central sections of the brain, called the limbic system. It also primarily involves the amygdala, which has the ability to scan everything that’s happening to us moment to moment to see if it is a threat. As defined by Dr Daniel Goleman, the components of emotional intelligence are “simple, yet powerful enough to effect change.” Hence, if Goleman and Charles Darwin are to be believed, it is emotionally intelligent individuals who are most able to adapt to dynamic environments and therefore most likely to survive.

Comparing EQ and IQ

  • Appealing to emotions to convince someone rather than using facts alone
  • Using your emotions in addition to your cognitive abilities to function rather than relying solely on logic
  • Knowing how and why vs knowing what
  • Knowing how to motivate separate individuals as opposed to treating everyone the same way
  • Understanding and controlling your emotions to use them for something vs. Letting your emotions control you because you do not know how to deal with them.

The hallmarks of EQ are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills. Those with high EQ are motivated, self-disciplined, aspire to excellence, continually seek reskilling and learning and add value. These qualities sustain long term business development and build strong corporate cultures that promote high morale and prevent loss of talent.

Spiritual Quotient

But wait, there is more. Now we have Spiritual Quotient (SQ). While IQ allows us to think and EQ helps us to relate, SQ allows us to do both these things during times of rapid change. IQ and EQ were sufficient in a relatively static world. SQ provides the linkage in times of paradigm shift and chaos. Zohar and Marshall (1997): By their definition spiritual intelligence is the intelligence with which we access our deepest meanings, purposes, and highest motivations.

It is the intelligence that makes us whole, that gives us our integrity. It is the soul’s intelligence, the intelligence of the deep self. It is the intelligence with which we ask fundamental questions and with which we reframe our answers.

The word ‘spiritual’ in relation to the intelligence has no necessary connection with organised religion. A person may be high in SQ but have no religious faith or belief of any kind. Equally, a person may be very religious but low in SQ. The word spiritual in the Zohar/Marshal concept comes from the Latin word spiritus, which means, ‘that which gives life or vitality to a system.’

Zohar and Marshall introduced 12 qualities of SQ. They derive these principles from the qualities that define complex adaptive systems. In biology, complex adaptive systems are living systems that create order out of chaos, they create order and information.

Those principles are:

Self-awareness: Knowing what I believe in and value, and what deeply motivates me

Spontaneity: Living in and being responsive to the moment

Being vision- and value-led: Acting from principles and deep beliefs, and living accordingly

Holism: Seeing larger patterns, relationships, and connections; having a sense of belonging

Compassion: Having the quality of ‘feeling-with’ and deep empathy

Celebration of diversity: Valuing other people for their differences, not despite them

Field independence: Standing against the crowd and having one’s own convictions

Humility: Having the sense of being a player in a larger drama, of one’s true place in the world

Tendency to ask fundamental ‘why’ questions: Needing to understand things and get to the bottom of them

Ability to reframe: Standing back from a situation or problem and seeing the bigger picture; seeing problems in a wider context

Positive use of adversity: Learning and growing from mistakes, setbacks, and suffering

Sense of vocation: Feeling called upon to serve, to give something back.

Those with high SQ have the capacity to question, think creatively, change the rules, work effectively in changing situations by playing with the boundaries, break through obstacles and being innovative. Our SQ encourages us to see the bigger picture, to be co-creators of the world in which we live.

Outstanding performers have high IQ, high EQ and high SQ. This makes them alive, dynamic, sociable and innovative. You are unlikely therefore, to find many of them in traditional organisations.

While IQ allows us to analyse what ‘is’ – the traditional role of academia – and EQ helps us to adapt to the world as it changes, it is SQ that has us transform our world into a whole new order of being. The way to develop our IQ is quite different from that which develops our EQ, which is different again from that which develops our SQ. What is exciting is that there are holistic methodologies available that allow us to develop all three simultaneously in ways that enrich our lives and add value. The trick is to find and use such methodologies effectively.

The author is director, Oasis Human Resources

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