An Overview of Emotional Intelligence

The concept of emotional intelligence (EI) first came to the attention of many organizations and managers when Daniel Goleman published his first book of the same name, which was followed by a second book 3 years later (Goleman, 1995, 1998). However, the first scientific paper on this topic was published somewhat earlier in 1990 by Peter Salovey and John Mayer (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

EI is identified as a subset of social intelligence and characterized the concept as consisting of a set of fours interrelated cognitive abilities associated with the processing of emotional information. It is defined as “the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to access and/or generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (Mayer & Salovey, 1997, p.10).

Goleman (1998) adapts Salovey and Mayer’s model into a competence model. Goleman (1998) defines EI as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships” (p.316) and introduced the adapted model comprised of 5 EI dimensions and 25 emotional competencies. The following are 5 EI dimensions (also called 5 basic emotional competencies) of personal and social competencies:

  • Self-awareness: is the ability to recognize and monitor our thoughts and feelings. You recognize your moods and emotions, and conduct a realistic self-assessment.
  • Self-regulation: is the ability to think before acting, handle change and uncertainty. It entails suspending snap judgments and impulsive decisions and choices.
  • Motivation: is the ability to guide people towards the goals, help people continuously improve and conquer all obstacles.
  • Empathy: is the ability to sense what people feel, understand their perspective, and cultivate rapport with a broad diversity of people.
  • Social skills: is ability to manage groups of people, find common ground with various stakeholders, and build rapport.

And 25 emotional competencies show how much of that potential we have translated into on the job capabilities (Goleman, 1998). Table  below shows the relationship between 5 emotional intelligence dimensions and 25 emotional competencies:

Goleman (2002) continues the research on EI competence model and explains why EI masters so much for leadership success.  Goleman (2002) identifies 18 leadership competences that are based on 25 emotional competencies of his 1998 book and categorizes them into 4 domains of leadership competencies: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

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