IQ is a well-known and well-understood measure of intelligence. Fewer people are familiar with EQ, or Emotional Intelligence, and that’s a shame, because EQ is often a better measure of who will be more successful and effective.

That might seem counterintuitive at first, but the more you think about it, the more sense it makes.

Intelligence would be the better measure if we lived in isolation, but at the root, we’re still extremely social creatures, and almost no one does all their work in isolation. Those who have higher EQ can work better with, and leverage the talents of others, thereby benefitting from productivity gains that a person operating purely on intellect can never hope to match.
So, what specific traits define EQ?

There are too many to name here, but below are some of the major ones:

Emotionally In Command

The individual with high emotional intelligence can seldom be baited. When the unexpected happens, he’s not the person you see flying off the handle in response, but rather, the one who closes his eyes for a moment, takes a deep breath and then methodically adjusts the course as needed.

This is not to say he is emotionless. It’s just that his emotions are never controlling him. It’s always the other way around.

Responsive, Rather Than Reacting

The emotionally intelligent individual never reacts to the unexpected by shooting from the hip or making emotionally-driven responses. Rather, this person assesses, evaluates and responds accordingly.

Again, this isn’t to say that such an individual doesn’t feel. He simply does not allow his emotions to drive his reaction, preferring to craft a cogent, logical response to whatever crisis has arisen.


Disagreements among friends and coworkers inevitably happen, and invariably, it is the more emotionally intelligent person who reaches out to the other party and begins to make amends. This person rebuilds bridges in the aftermath of the disagreement.

If you want to succeed, you need to become more emotionally intelligent. Start by striving to embody the three traits defined above.