Emotional Intelligence (Goleman)

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is defined as the ability to identify, assess, and control one’s own emotions, the emotions of others, and that of groups.


Key Concepts

In the 1900s, even though traditional definitions of intelligence emphasized cognitive aspects such as memory and problem-solving, several influential researchers in the intelligence field of study had begun to recognize the importance of going beyond traditional types of intelligence (IQ). As early as 1920, for instance, E.L. Thorndike described “social intelligence” as the skill of understanding and managing others. Howard Gardner in 1983 described the idea of multiple intelligences, in which interpersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people) and intrapersonal intelligence (the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations) helped explain performance outcomes.

The first use of the term “emotional intelligence” is often attributed to A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence from 1985, by Wayne Payne. However, prior to this, the term “emotional intelligence” had appeared in Leuner (1966). Stanley Greenspan (1989) also put forward an EI model, followed by Salovey and Mayer (1990), and Daniel Goleman (1995). A distinction between emotional intelligence as a trait and emotional intelligence as an ability was introduced in 2000.

Daniel Goleman’s model (1998) focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance, and consists of five areas:


Know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.


Manage or redirect one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapt to changing circumstances.

Social skill

Manage other’s emotions to move people in the desired direction.


Recognize, understand, and consider other people’s feelings especially when making decisions


Motivate oneself to achieve for the sake of achievement.

To Golman, emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman believes that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies[3].

Emotional Intelligence is not always widely accepted in the research community. Goleman’s model of EI, for instance, has been criticized in the research literature as being merely “pop psychology.” However, EI is still considered by many to be a useful framework especially for businesses.

Additional Resources and References


  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ: A well-written book by Daniel Goleman, a former writer for the New York Times. The book explains how the rational and emotional work together to shape intelligence, citing neuroscience and psychology of the brain. Goleman explains why IQ is not the sole predictor of success; furthermore, he demonstrates how emotional intelligence can impact important life outcomes. A fascinating read!
  • Emotional Intelligence 2.0: Bradberry, Greaves, and Lencioni’s book that actually gives strategies for how to increase your emotional intelligence (not just explaining what emotional intelligence is). Helps readers increase four emotional intelligence skills: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Gives access to an online test that informs which strategies will increase your EQ the most.


  1. Goleman, D. (2006). Emotional intelligence. Bantam.
  2. Goleman, D. (1996). Emotional Intelligence. Why It Can Matter More than IQ.Learning, 24(6), 49-50.
  3. Goleman, D. (1998). Working with emotional intelligence. Bantam.