Emotional Intelligence

24 August 2022

What is Emotional Intelligence

The term emotional intelligence was created by two researchers, Peter Salavoy and John Mayer in their article “Emotional Intelligence” in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality in 1990.

The scientific definition of emotional intelligence, according to John Mayer and Peter Salovey is "emotional intelligence refers to an ability to recognise the meanings of emotion and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000)."

Emotional intelligence was later popularised by Dan Goleman in his 1995 book Emotional Intelligence.

Dan Goleman offered 5 domains of emotional intelligence (EI or EQ):

  1. Self-Awareness - people with high EQ tend to be aware of their moods as they are having them, they exhibit some sophistication about their emotional lives.  They are autonomous and sure of their boundaries, are in good psychological health and have a positive outlook on life.  When they get in a bad mood, they don’t ruminate about it and are able to move through it pretty quickly. 

  2. Self-Regulation - When they get in a bad mood, they don’t ruminate about it and are able to move through it pretty quickly.  They are adaptable and flexible in their thinking and are better able to innovate.

  3. Motivation – High EQ correlates with optimism, showing initiative, and a commitment to achieve.

  4. Empathy - Those with higher EQ also have higher empathy, this builds on self-awareness, the more open we are to our own emotions, the more skilled we will be at reading other’s feelings. Research in children has shown that those that showed an aptitude for reading feelings nonverbally were among the most popular and the most emotionally stable.  They also did better in school, even though their IQ’s were not higher than those that were less skilled in this area.  Suggesting that mastery of reading others has a life smoothing effect.

  5. Social Skills – Emotional intelligence, can result in an ability to influence others, to navigate conflict, facilitate change, and encourage co-operation.

Why is Emotional Intelligence important?

  • Allows people to move on after making a mistake
  • It supports a happy life
  • Integral to happy relationships
  • In the workplace, EQ supports collaborative & cohesive teams
  • EQ plays a meaningful role in academic success
  • EI improves the physical and emotional health of people

How to improve your Emotional Intelligence

  • Observe how you react to people. Do you rush to judgment before you know all of the facts? Do you stereotype? Look honestly at how you think and interact with other people.
  • Do a self-evaluation, what are your weaknesses? Are you willing to accept that you're not perfect and that you could work on some areas to make yourself a better person?
  • Examine how you react to stressful situations. Do you become upset every time there's a delay or something doesn't happen the way you want? Do you blame others or become angry at them, even when it's not their fault? 
  • Examine how your actions will affect others – before you take those actions. If your decision will impact others, put yourself in their place. 
  • Ask for feedback







Emotional intelligence – why it can matter more than IQ – Daniel Goldman – 2020 (25th Anniversary Edition)