OE Construction Corp

What’s More Important: IQ or EQ?

According to research, your overall success in life can be directly attributed to your EQ. 

“Research carried out by the Carnegie Institute of Technology shows that 85 percent of your financial success is due to skills in “human engineering,” your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shockingly, only 15 percent is due to technical knowledge.” (Source

The article quoted goes on to mention that people will more happily do business and work well with an individual who is likeable, over someone who is technically more proficient. 

So how does that apply in the construction industry?

What are IQ and EQ?

Before we go on to look at the question of how EQ can be more relevant than IQ in business, including construction, let’s review what each of these measures are.

IQ, or Intelligence Quotient, refers to a person’s technical competence (math, verbal, spatial skills), as well as their ability to reason logically. Einstein was said to have an IQ of 160. 

EQ, or Emotional Quotient, refers to someone’s personality, their ability to understand the emotions of others and to lead with that understanding in mind. In integral part of EQ is the ability to communicate effectively, as the quote above notes, influencing the behavior of others, rather than leading by fear.

When you’re looking at hiring someone to fill a certain role in the field, their skillset is important, and let’s face it: you’re first looking at a resume or an application, not someone’s personality, at least when you’re deciding whether or not to interview them.

construction crew job site oe blog

But there is a fair body of research that says that you should hire for personality and attitude and train for skill. It’s the same reason that colleges started looking for more than good grades in the kids they let in. A more well rounded person, with a good personality and communication skills, has every chance of success, and perhaps even more so. 

Hiring based on EQ may seem easier said than done, particularly in industries like construction, but given the shortage of qualified workers these days, it’s certainly worth thinking about. While machines and technology can take over some roles and jobs, they can’t do everything: we still need people who can make the whole ship move forward!

“In August (2019), 7.1 million construction jobs went unfilled, and 80% of construction companies say they struggle to recruit and hire people, according to a survey by software firm Autodesk and Associated General Contractors of America.” (Source)

This shortage makes clear that it’s worth investing in training someone who has an outstanding EQ and giving them the skills they need to move forward. They will be more successful than someone who has a high IQ but no people skills.

Why EQ matters in the workplace

If you think about it, once a person has learned the technical skills they need to do their job, a lot of what creates difficulties in any workplace is the human interaction. Whether it’s as a project manager or team leader, someone who runs equipment in the field or works in the back office, they’ll have to deal with people and all their many personality quirks. 

construction site woman

The individuals with a high EQ are in a better position to interact appropriately and effectively with others, both above them and below them, as well as their own peer group. 

“It turns out, success in both life and business is a matter of emotion, relationships, and character, rather than raw intelligence.” (Source)

Applying EQ in hiring for the construction industry

Figuring out who the individuals are who will be able to manage their emotions, can evaluate and appropriately react to the emotions of others and make decisions even under stress is valuable. These are the candidates who will be able to advance and will promote the strengths of others who work with them. It all leads to a healthier and happier work environment.

“For example, imagine that a high-potential Project Engineer joins a team on a complex project. An average Project Manager would carefully oversee the employee’s work, give advice on areas for improvement, and provide training as needed for the success of the project. However, a Project Manager with emotional intelligence might design specific stretch assignments for that Project Engineer based on his or her long-term career goals and existing strengths, create opportunities for coaching and mentorship, and encourage open communication to ensure that the employee feels valued and respected. Employees appreciate working for someone who is clearly invested in their success, and they are likely to be much more engaged in their work and much less inclined to pursue other opportunities than employees whose leaders exhibit less emotional intelligence.” (Source)

Given that qualified candidates are hard to come by, having managers and team leaders with a high EQ can help stem issues of turn over. So while skills are important, a construction site can be a stressful place, and having people working on it who can function well under pressure, acting as a positive force when leading others, is vital for the long term success of any company.

At OE Construction, we look for more than skills. We look for the people behind those skills because we want our teams to be like family, supportive and strong, through thick and thin!


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