Can Emotional Intelligence, Cognitive Ability, and Intuition Make Us More Successful?

Carmen Marsh

January 22, 2018

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Emotional intelligence (EQ) is again getting a lot of attention on social media, and many of you have already heard about Dr. Travis Bradberry's book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, which had tremendous success among readers.

What about cognitive ability and intuition? How can these two abilities help us be more successful and perform above average?

Adam Grant, author and professor at The Wharton School, challenged Daniel Goleman, the renowned, best-selling author of Emotional Intelligence, in a debate proclaiming that EQ isn't enough when it comes to highest job performance and that it is overrated. Adam Grant stands by his research where his test subjects with high cognitive ability outperformed subjects with high EQ by 14% in job performance testing.

Daniel Goleman responded to Adam Grant's research by saying that Grant's study results were based on a common (and preferred) academic methodology that was geared toward intelligence testing rather than real-life scenarios.

Typically in the real world, people in the same field of expertise as you are probably just as smart as you. If that's the case, what sets us apart from others and motivates us to propel our career?

In short, we can communicate, persuade, and excite people about ourselves or our ideas—and that takes EQ.

What about intuition? Intuition, sometimes called "a gut feeling," is where we instinctively know something is important, with a gnawing feeling that we should pay attention to it, but we don't have all the facts. But is this enough? Do we blindly follow our intuition, or do we ignore it to make a more logical decision? What are our chances of making the right decisions based on always following our intuitions?

In his book, Gut Feelings: The Intelligence of Unconscious, Gerd Gigerenzer, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, has explained how to take full advantage of intuition by adding science to the equation. He speaks about how to follow our "hunches" by first taking a deep dive into a subject and studying numerous possibilities. This way you are exercising intelligence when your gut tells you "what is or is not important."

So, what would happen if we put EQ, cognitive ability, and intuition together?

Well, we know that the level of cognitive ability is set when we are born. We can perhaps enhance it a bit with education and life experiences, but in general, we've got what we've got. On the other hand, EQ and intuition can be greatly enhanced with training our minds to react and behave in a certain way in specific situations.
High EQ is the most sought-after quality in leaders and has been proven to be the single most important element in success for most people. And to use intuition to help you make the right decision can also be a big factor in "making it" or "breaking it." However, for the best outcome, intuition should be coupled with in-depth research on the subject—that is how you take the full advantage of what is arguably the highest form of intelligence.

As Albert Einstein said, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant." It made sense to use our natural-born, cognitive ability with intuition and enhanced EQ to reach the highest level of success in our professional and personal lives.

Learn more about how to boost your EQ with Inteligenca's "Lead Mindfully!" training.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

Carmen Marsh is the CEO and managing partner of Inteligenca Inc., a boutique management consulting company in California focusing on helping clients unlock their potential with executive coaching and rethinking their business strategies.

Among other professional services, Inteligenca's team helps companies prepare for certifications like SOC 1, SOC 2, and ISO 27001, including the implementation of successful project management and SDLC practices.

Carmen is also heavily engaged in events with influential cybersecurity experts to attract more women into cybersecurity careers.

Carmen will host several Twitter chats and virtual expos on that topic in the first quarter of 2018.

Inteligenca is also presenting at PMI, COO, PMI, and PMO (Project Management) Forum, between January and March, on mindful leadership—"Lead Mindfully"—and mindful PMO.

Opinions expressed by the author are not necessarily those of WITI.

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