What is Emotional Intelligence?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence, or EI, is a concept that was originally coined in the mid-nineteen-nineties. In 1995, it gained popularity with the publishing of Daniel Goleman’s bestseller.

In Goleman’s book, emotional intelligence is the set of skills and traits that guide leadership. EI has more recently been defined by other well known therapists and doctors. 

Very Well mind defines EI as “the ability to perceive, interpret, demonstrate, control, and use emotions to communicate with and relate to others effectively and constructively.”

Psychology Today states that “emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is generally said to include a few skills: namely emotional awareness, or the ability to identify and name one’s own emotions; the ability to harness those emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and helping others to do the same.”

Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage, understand, and respond to emotions. 

Those with a high level of emotional intelligence can be very adept at emotional awareness, such as recognizing their own, as well as those of others. They use these feelings to solve problems and think more clearly. They control their emotions when necessary and understand a deeper level of empathy.

According to many researchers, those with a higher level of emotional intelligence display the following skills:

  1. Self-management. This is the ability to regulate emotions healthily. It includes skills such as taking initiative, following through on commitments, and adjusting behavior to meet goals.
  1. Self-awareness. This is an awareness of feelings and their influence on thoughts and actions. It includes an awareness of strengths, flaws, and beliefs.
  1. Social awareness. This skill brings an awareness of the emotions of others. Those with social awareness are more likely to be comfortable in a variety of social situations.
  1. Management of relationships. This is an understanding of how to build and maintain positive relationships. It includes strong communication, collaboration, and leadership skills. 

What types of characteristics do those with emotional intelligence tend to display? 

  • Leadership
  • Empathy
  • Team Building
  • Collaboration
  • Motivation
  • Confidence
  • Authenticity

Those with higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to be more productive, reliable, and successful. It will bring opportunities for connection with others, as well as the strength needed to keep living life with confidence and satisfaction. 


APA dictionary of psychology. (n.d.). APA Dictionary of Psychology. https://dictionary.apa.org/self-management
Emotional Intelligence. (n.d.).Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist. https://www.psychologytoday.com/emotional-intelligence
What is emotional intelligence? (2006, September 8). Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-emotional-intelligence-2795423
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