Guiding behaviour and thinking

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the capability of individuals to recognise their own, and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different feelings, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.

The term became widely known with the publication of Daniel Coleman’s book: Emotional Intelligence, in 1995. Coleman is an author, psychologist, and science journalist.

The model introduced by Daniel Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance, including:

  • Self-awareness – The ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognise their impact on others while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  • Self-regulation – Involves controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  • Social skill – Managing relationships to move people in the desired direction.
  • Empathy – Considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions.
  • Motivation – Being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.

A review published in the journal of Annual Psychology found that higher emotional intelligence is positively correlated with better social relations for adults. High emotionally intelligent individuals are perceived more positively by others, have better family and intimate relationships, better academic achievement, better social connection during work performance, higher life satisfaction and self-esteem, and lower levels of insecurity or depression.

Goleman indicated that EI accounted for 67% of the abilities deemed necessary for superior performance in leaders, and mattered twice as much as technical expertise or IQ.


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