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Emotional Intelligence

Peter Salovey and John Mayer first coined the term Emotional Intelligence in 1990 and referred to it as the ability to manage emotions and relationships. Howard Gardner (1993) refers to Emotional Intelligence being dependent on intrapersonal and interpersonal skills or intelligences. Intrapersonal intelligence is being aware of one’s own feelings, motivations and abilities while Interpersonal intelligence relies on being aware of and understanding other people and how to interact with them.

Emotional intelligence requires abstract reasoning, including the ability to perceive and understand emotion, and the ability to understand how emotions facilitate and influence thought.

Mayer & Cobb, 2000

Five Skills of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman (1995) outlines five skills involved in emotional intelligence:

  • being aware of one’s emotions
  • managing those emotions
  • motivating oneself
  • empathizing
  • relating well with others in a group

He explains that these skills can be learned just like other skills. Research supports Daniel Goleman’s idea that emotional Intelligence can be taught. People can change their emotional intelligence levels by developing specific skills and tools to manage their positive and negative emotions, handle difficulties and frustrations calmly without being defeated by them, direct motivation in a positive way and relate to others in a supportive manner. These skills can be developed through modelling, direct instruction and coaching.

Models of Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.[1]

There are three models of EI
  • The ability model, developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer, focuses on the individual's ability to process emotional information and use it to navigate the social environment.[2]
  • The trait model as developed by Konstantin Vasily Petrides, "encompasses behavioral dispositions and self- perceived abilities and is measured through self -report".[3]
  • The mixed model is a combination of both ability and trait EI. It defines EI as an array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance, as proposed by Daniel Goleman.[4]

Studies have shown that people with high EI have greater mental health, exemplary job performance, and more potent leadership skills. Markers of EI and methods of developing it have become more widely coveted in the past few decades. In addition, studies have begun to provide evidence to help characterize the neural mechanisms of emotional intelligence.


The Leadership Change Group has an excellent article on Emotional Intelligence


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