A recent post on LinkedIn asked this question.
“EQ” is a term deliberately coined to be like “IQ”.
IQ stands for “intelligence quotient”. It’s a number derived from marking a person’s answers to a standard set of tests. The tests, which are based on ones developed over a century ago, presume to assess people’s ability at rational thought.
Whether you think IQ has any meaning in 2014 is a matter of belief, not science. I think it is about as useful as Myers Briggs tests (ie, not very).
Emotional intelligence is about the capacity for insight into, and understanding of, one’s own emotions and behaviours, and those of others; and a capacity to manage one’s own emotions, and influence those of others.
It is essentially a descriptive, qualitative concept.
The idea that these abilities might be measurable is bizarre (which doesn’t stop a lot people from wanting it to be true). In my book, emotional quotient—the idea that you can measure abilities such as your awareness of others’ emotional states, is meaningless.
Measuring emotional intelligence is not an emotionally intelligent thing to want to do.
However, a lot of people seem to want to measure a lot of things that can’t be measured. I suspect this comes from the over-weening dominance of accountants in business.
For example, there’s a wellknown maxim, “What can’t be measured can’t be managed”. This is clearly rubbish. But people make money by trying to convince other people that it is true, and the people who are duped are happy to be duped because it enables both parties to collude in the belief that it is possible to control the world.
I suspect that, if a way of talking about others’ emotional intelligence is needed, a qualitative vocabulary might be developed, rather in the manner that wine connioisseurs and others, talk about wine.