Daniel Goleman’s 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ introduced a whole new perspective on predicting and analysing employee performance. The author, one of the world’s leading EQ academics, suggested that there is far more to being successful than high levels of cognitive intelligence. Goleman suggested ‘emotional intelligence’, a term developed by Salovey and Mayer (1989), is twice as important as cognitive intelligence for predicting career success and there was currently far too much emphasis on traditional predictors of employee performance. He suggested high levels of emotional intelligence improve working relationships, help to develop problem solving skills, increase efficiency and effectiveness and catalyse the development of new strategies. Rather than influencing exam scores or report writing, emotional intelligence influences how we control our own emotions and deal with relationships. Goleman defines it as “the ability to identify, assess and control one’s own emotions, the emotion of others and that of groups.”

The history of emotional intelligence

For decades, researchers have studied the reasons why a high IQ does not necessarily guarantee success in the classroom or the boardroom. By the 1980s, psychologists and biologists, among others, were focusing on the important role other skill sets — needed to process emotional information — played in promoting worldly success, leadership, personal fulfillment and happy relationships.

In 1990, psychologists John Mayer (now at the University of New Hampshire) and Peter Salovey of Yale theorized that a unitary intelligence underlay those other skill sets. They coined the term, emotional intelligence, which they broke down into four “branches”:

·      Identifying emotions on a nonverbal level

·      Using emotions to guide cognitive thinking

·      Understanding the information emotions convey and the actions emotions generate

·      Regulating one’s own emotions, for personal benefit and for the common good

As a science reporter for the New York Times, Goleman was exposed to Mayer’s and Salovey’s work and took the concept of emotional intelligence a step further. In his eponymous book from 1995, he argued that existing definitions of intelligence needed to be reworked. IQ was still important, but intellect alone was no guarantee of adeptness in identifying one’s own emotions or the emotional expressions of others. It took a special kind of intelligence, Goleman said, to process emotional information and utilize it effectively — whether to facilitate good personal decisions, to resolve conflicts or to motivate oneself and others.

Emotional Intelligence, as a psychological theory, was developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer.

"Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth."       - Mayer & Salovey, 1997

Models of emotional intelligence

1. Ability EI model – the mental ability model focuses on emotions themselves and their interactions with thought (Mayer and Salovey 1997). This model proposes four main types of emotional abilities:

Emotional perception refers to the ability to recognize and decipher emotions in oneself and others as well as other stimuli including faces, pictures, stories and music.

Emotional use refers to the ability to apply emotions to cognitive activities such as thinking, reasoning, problem-solving and decision making.

Emotional understanding refers to the ability to understand emotional information and the causes of emotions and how emotions combine, progress and change from one to another.

Emotional management refers to the ability to be open to feelings and employ effective strategies to promote personal understanding and growth.

2. Trait EI model – this model was published in 2009 by Petrides and colleagues. Trait EI model is a constellation of emotion-related self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality. Trait EI model refers to an individual’s own perceptions of their emotional abilities, as opposed to the ability-based model which refers to actual abilities.

3. Mixed models of EI- This model is introduced by Daniel Goleman that defines EI as a wide range of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. There are four tenets to this model:

Self-awareness is the ability to understand your emotions, recognize their impact and use them to inform decisions.

Self-management involves controlling your emotions and impulses and adapting to circumstances.

Social awareness is the ability to sense, understand and react to the emotions of others within social situations.

Relationship management is the ability to inspire, influence and connect with others and to manage conflict.

The notion of EI consisting of five different components was first introduced by Daniel Goleman, a psychologist, and best-selling author. According to Cherry (2018), the 5 components of EI are:

1. Self-awareness

Self-awareness refers to the capacity to recognize and understand emotions and to have a sense of how one’s actions, moods and the emotions of others take effect.

It involves keeping track of emotions and noticing different emotional reactions, as well as being able to identify the emotions correctly.

Self-awareness also includes recognizing that how we feel and what we do are related, and having awareness of one’s own personal strengths and limitations.

Self-awareness is associated with being open to different experiences and new ideas and learning from social interactions.

2. Self-regulation

This aspect of EI involves the appropriate expression of emotion.

Self-regulation includes being flexible, coping with change, and managing conflict. It also refers to diffusing difficult or tense situations and being aware of how one’s actions affect others and take ownership of these actions.

3. Social skills

This component of EI refers to interacting well with other people. It involves applying an understanding of the emotions of ourselves and others to communicate and interact with others on a day-to-day basis.

Different social skills include – active listening, verbal communication skills, non-verbal communication skills, leadership, and developing rapport.

4. Empathy

Empathy refers to being able to understand how other people are feeling.

This component of EI enables an individual to respond appropriately to other people based on recognizing their emotions.

It enables people to sense power dynamics that play a part in all social relationships, but also most especially in workplace relations.

Empathy involves understanding power dynamics, and how these affect feelings and behavior, as well as accurately perceiving situations where power dynamics come into force.

5. Motivation

Motivation, when considered as a component of EI, refers to intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation means that an individual is driven to meet personal needs and goals, rather than being motivated by external rewards such as money, fame, and recognition.

People who are intrinsically motivated also experience a state of ‘flow’, by being immersed in an activity.

They are more likely to be action-oriented, and set goals. Such individuals typically have a need for achievement and search for ways to improve. They are also more likely to be committed and take initiative.

This has been a brief introduction into the 5 components of Emotional Intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, social skills, empathy, and motivation.

Benefits of emotional intelligence at work

·Emotionally intelligent people manage stress better at work.

·They improve their relationships with co-workers.

They deal more effectively with their supervisors.

They are more productive and effectively manage their work priorities.

They become a better team player, managers or leaders.

In general, emotional intelligence has been proven to:

*Increase workplace productivity.

*Reduce stress.

*Moderate conflict.

*Promote understanding and relationships.

*Foster stability and continuity.

*Heighten self-awareness.

Advantages of emotional intelligence

1. Emotional intelligence is primarily about managing oneself well and enhancing one’s relationship with others in order to be happier, healthier and more successful.

2. According to research at the University of Toronto, positive, happy emotions and moods may open one’s mind and increase creative thinking.

3. Positive emotions enhance problem-solving skills so that positive people find better solutions to problems (Isen 2001).

4. Emotionally intelligent people can help manage stressful situations and improve negotiation and conflict resolution.

5. Multiple studies have shown that the most successful leaders in organizations have higher levels of emotional intelligence than others. 

Emotional intelligence has been shown to be more important in rising to the top of an organization than cognitive competencies. Companies have realized that IQ alone cannot predict an individual’s performance or success.

6. Emotional intelligence is the most significant for successful project outcomes. Project managers must be emotionally intelligent.

7. Research indicates that social and emotional skills are associated with successes ineffective teaching, student learning, quality student-teacher relationships, and academic performance.

8. Physicians who are better at recognizing emotions of patients are more successful at treating them than their less sensitive counterparts.

9. Executives who ‘derail’ are often seen as lacking emotional strength.

     Emotional intelligence influences job performance