3 Crucial Types of Intelligence For Workplace Success (That Aren’t IQ)

Being smart, having paper qualifications and technical know-how may get you hired, but once you’re in, you’ll need much more than just traditional smarts to get by. Netflix, for example, has a strict no-tolerance policy against hiring and keeping “brilliant jerks” around.


Additionally, we’re also now more aware that certain types of intelligence are dynamic and not fixed from birth. In other words, the kinds of intelligence that are crucial to success can be honed over time. Hence, here are three such types of intelligence that are indispensable to workplace success.


1. Intrapersonal intelligence


What it is:

  • The ability to know, understand and evaluate oneself objectively


Each one of us possesses the natural ability to know ourselves, but not all of us actively use it. It isn’t just about knowing what your personality is like or knowing what your likes and dislikes are.

Those who have higher intrapersonal intelligence generally know who they are: their beliefs, their goals, their motivations, their strengths and weaknesses, their values, and more.

They continuously engage in self-reflection and self-evaluation to better understand themselves and how they’re growing.


Why you need it:

  • Self-motivation

    When you know your goals and what motivates you, your drive tends to come from within more than without. You won’t be afraid to choose your own path to success, and you’re less likely to allow failures and adversity to hold you back.

  • Knowing your strengths

    To thrive at work and in life, you need to capitalise on and keep enhancing your strengths. Beyond that, understanding how your strengths intersect with your goals and passions gives you a more focused perspective on how to achieve success at work and in life.


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2. Emotional intelligence (EQ)


What it is:

According to Daniel Goleman, who brought the idea of EQ into the mainstream with his landmark 1995 book on the subject, there are four components of EQ:

  • Self-awareness: being aware of your emotions
  • Self-control: controlling your emotions
  • Empathy: understanding others’ perspectives
  • Relationship management: being able to influence others


Why you need it:

  • Employability

    Companies are increasingly making hiring decisions based on candidates’ EQ more than IQ. Don’t lose out.

  • Teamwork

    Being empathetic naturally allows you to relate better to your teammates. You’ll also be able to resolve conflicts more effectively and smoothly.

  • Leadership

    Empathetic people often make great leaders because they can provide psychological safety for their people. They’re also better able to keep people constantly engaged at work since they understand what motivates them at work and in life.


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3. Cultural intelligence (CQ)


What it is:

  • The ability to function and adapt well in diverse cultural environments

Having high CQ is not necessarily about having in-depth knowledge of a wide range of world cultures. One can know of, and even be relatively familiar, with different cultural practices and beliefs while also being disrespectful and insensitive towards them.

Instead, CQ refers to the willingness to learn about different cultures and adopt culturally appropriate and respectful manners of relating to others, be it through changing one’s behavior, communication style, or more.



Why you need it:

  • Cultural sensitivity in diverse workplaces

    Multi-cultural collaborations will only become more and more common in the near future, so equipping yourself with the necessary skills to be courteous and respectful in all situations is vital.

P.S. Learn everything you need to know about being a culturally competent manager with SSA Academy’s WSQ course on managing cross-functional and culturally diverse teams at work!


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