It all began about 2000 years ago when Plato wrote; “All learning has an emotional base.‘ Since then, scientists, educators, and philosopher have worked to prove or disapprove the importance of feelings.In the last decade or so, science has discovered a tremendous amount about the role emotions play in our lives. Researchers have found that even more than IQ one‘s emotional awareness and abilities to handle feelings will determine success and happiness in all walks of life. Since long, emphasis has been put on the cognitive aspects of intelligence such as logical reasoning, math skills, spatials kills, understanding analogies and verbal skills. Researchers were puzzled by the fact that while IQ could predict to a significant degree the academic performance and, to some degree, professional and personal success, some with fabulous IQ scores were doing poorly in life; one could say that they were wasting their potential by thinking, behaving and communicating in a way that hindered their chances to succeed. One of the major missing contributors to success was emotional intelligence.
The first use of the term "emotional intelligence" is usually attributed to Wayne Payne's doctoral thesis (1985), A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence . 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). The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.
The Concept of Emotional Intelligence
According to Freedman “Emotional Intelligence is a way of recognizing, understanding, and choosing how we think, feel, and act. It shapes our interactions with others and our understanding of ourselves. It defines how and what we learn; it allows us to set priorities; it determines the majority of our daily actions. Research suggests, it is responsible for as much as 80% of the “success” in our lives”.
The term “Emotional Intelligence” was first coined by Salovey of Yale University and Mayer of the University of New Hampshire in 1990. They described Emotional Intelligence as a form of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one‘s own and other‘s feeling and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one‘s thinking and action.
Salovey and Mayer's conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence. Following their continuing research, their initial definition of EI was revised to "The ability to perceive emotion, integrate emotion to facilitate thought, understand emotions and to regulate emotions to promote personal growth."
The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. This ability is seen to manifest itself in certain adaptive behaviors. The model claims that EI includes four types of abilities:
1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts— including the ability to identify one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotional language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.
The ability EI model has been criticized in the research for lacking face and predictive validity in the workplace.
Daniel Goleman: The concept of emotional intelligence was made popular by the ground breaking book by psychologist Daniel Goleman. His book 'Emotional Intelligence; Why It Can Matter More Than IQ” has brought to the world‘s attention that it is our emotions, not cognitive skills that affect our level of relationship satisfaction, health and happiness, and effectiveness in life.
The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman's model outlines five main EI constructs
1. Self-awareness – the ability to know one's emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
2. Self-regulation – involves controlling or redirecting one's disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
3. Social skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
4. Empathy - considering other people's feelings especially when making decisions and
5. Motivation - being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
Goleman includes a set of emotional competencies within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are not innate talents, but rather learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman points that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies. Goleman's model of EI has been criticized in the research literature as mere "pop psychology" (Mayer, Roberts, & Barsade, 2008).
Educational Implications: Why is emotional intelligence (EQ) so important?
As we know, it‘s not the smartest people that are the most successful or the most fulfilled in life. You probably know people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially inept and unsuccessful at work or in their personal relationships. Intellectual intelligence or IQ isn‘t enough on its own to be successful in life. IQ can help you get into college but it‘s EQ that will help you manage the stress and emotions of sitting your final exams.
Emotional Intelligence affects:
§ Your performance at work. Emotional intelligence can help you navigate the social complexities of the workplace, lead and motivate others, and excel in your career. In fact, when it comes to gauging candidates for jobs, many companies now view emotional intelligence as being as important as technical ability and require EQ testing before hiring.
§ Your physical health. If you‘re unable to manage your stress levels, it can lead to serious health problems. Uncontrolled stress can raise blood pressure, suppress the immune system, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process. The first step to improving emotional intelligence is to learn how to relieve stress.
§ Your mental health. Uncontrolled stress can also impact your mental health, making you vulnerable to anxiety and depression. If you are unable to understand and manage your emotions, you‘ll also be open to mood swings, while an inability to form strong relationships can leave you feeling lonely and isolated.
§ Your relationships. By understanding your emotions and how to control them, you‘re better able to express how you feel and understand how others are feeling. This allows you to communicate more effectively and forge stronger relationships, both at work and in your personal life.