1. In this blog I will try to bring some clarity to IQ, EQ and Personality.
  2. What is Intelligence (IQ)? 

A very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan, solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience. It is not merely book learning, a narrow academic skill, or test-taking smarts. Rather, it reflects a broader and deeper capability for comprehending our surroundings – “catching on,” “making sense” of things, or “figuring out” what to do. 

Can IQ be used to predict performance in work life?

IQ is a reliable and very useful measure that can predict future performance. Jobs vary significantly in mental complexity. Placing people in jobs that are either under- or over- challenging frequently results in unhappy employees, reduced productivity and increased turnover. Individuals who are cognitively under qualified for the job are less likely to be able to handle fully their job requirement, and for high complexity jobs the results are consistent with the idea that individuals at either extreme on cognitive ability are more likely to turnover.


The practical implications from many studies reveal that organizations can benefit from utilizing assessment of cognitive ability as part of their selection battery.

What is Personality?

Enduring patterns of perceiving, relating to, and thinking about the environment and oneself. Personality traits are prominent aspects of character that are exhibited in a wide range of important social and personal contexts. Personality is seen as the essence of character. It is part of an individual´s genetic makeup and is stable over time.

It is a rather diffuse concept that becomes more diffuse because different tests use different theories and are based on different theoretical models, many of which are close to 100 years old.

Can personality be used to predict performance in work life?

  • “Yes, of course”, say some consultants, people in general and the developers and sales people of personality tests.
  • “No, not really”, say academics based on research that shows that validity for personality tests is quite low.
  • “Perhaps, but not to the same extent as IQ can predict performance”, say some researchers
  • “Hardly”, say sociologists who point to the importance of environmental factors.
  • “Not for leaders and leadership development”, say many of the leading leadership development books.


The evidence is, at best, sketchy.

What is EQ?

This concept refers to capabilities, competencies, and skills required to cope with environmental demands and pressures. It involves the ability to monitor and discriminate feelings and emotions of self and others, and use this information to guide thinking and actions.

Can we use EQ to predict performance in work life?

Yes, the concept is valid and has a profound effect on how people manage themselves and others.

There are several EQ tests on the market and the most scientifically robust and widely used on a worldwide basis is the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i), which is designed to assess the construct of emotional intelligence.

The reliability of the EQ-i has been examined by a number of researchers over the past 25 years. A consensus of findings reveals that the EQ-i is consistent, stable and reliable. There are many evidence-based studies showing that the EQ-i can be used to assess, predict and develop people in the workplace.


The Emotional Quotient Inventory appears to be an excellent measure of the emotional intelligence concept and can be used to improve assessment, selection and development of people.

In my next blog I will try to bring some clarity to how the three can be used.

This text is based on information from the articles mentioned in the text, the Buros of Mental Measurment, communication with Professor Lennart Sjöberg at Stockholm School of Economics, and my own experience as an organizational psychologist.