Emotional Intelligence is More Important than IQ

Emotional Intelligence (“EI”) was popularized by Daniel Goleman with his groundbreaking research that defined EI and discussed how it can be applied in the workplace.  However, many people see the word “emotional” in the title and turn away.  Yet, EI can be more important than IQ.  It has been touted that IQ gets someone in the door, but EI is what helps people get promoted.  With our world being extremely interconnected and our business interactions becoming increasingly global, relying on the intricacies of EI can make all the difference in securing long-term business alliances. To lay the foundation, EI is comprised of four different categories of competencies that encompass the following key skills:  (1) self-awareness (2) self-management (3) social skills and (4) social awareness.

EI is integral to building relationships in the oil and gas industry, whether as part of the negotiating contracts phase or discussing new exploration tracts, to name only two possibilities.

Being acutely aware of the societal nuances inherent in any culture, self-awareness is critical in making that initial introduction in any business encounter.  If one is able to pick up on those cultural nuances and norms and understand what they mean, the encounter is off to a good start.  Self-management includes taking initiative and building trust.  As we all know, all good, solid relationships require forming a strong foundation of trust and taking the initiative to follow through with requests or inquiries.  Possessing social skills in a business partnership relies on strong communication skills; being a reliable, credible leader; managing conflict or misinterpretations; and building collaborations and partnerships that are successful for everyone.  Social awareness encompasses the ability to sense new business opportunities and trends in the industry, and having an awareness of the organization’s continued needs.  At this level, leaders are able to forge strategic partnerships and alliances.  Even though these skills are presented in a linear way, they really make up a self-reinforcing loop that leads to increasing success in any business encounter.

This self-reinforcing positive loop can be depicted as follows:

Emotional Intelligence self-reinforcing positive loop

As A. Olukayode observed in his study of oil drilling teams in Nigeria, “Emotional Intelligence is real and should be a valuable and necessary component of every workforce, especially the work team.” 1 For the sake of good leadership we all need to become more user friendly with EI.  Observers tell us that people with high EI have stronger mental health, better job performance, and more effective leadership skills.

For more information on the importance of EI, visit Daniel Goleman’s website or read his book, titled Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ.


[1] Olukayode, A. (2005). Psychological diversity and team interaction processes:  A study of oil-drilling work teams In Nigeria. Team Performance Management, 11(7/8), p. 283.

One Reply to “Emotional Intelligence is More Important than IQ”

  1. Interesting thoughts but…….In my opinion, this is an extreme complex business in which IQ and EI are equally important in our leadership and technical teams.Sure, most of us want to be led by people we admire for both their leadership skills; self control and intellectual capacity. However, this industry offers a great career to the super-nerds, who have the IQ to create major innovative changes to the way in which we develop and commercialize oil and gas…….so if you know someone who is blessed with more IQ than EI, tell them to jump on this bus, we have room for everyone!
    Bob Pearson

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