• Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotions, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour.
  • People with high EQ demonstrate a high level of self awareness, motivation, empathy, and social skills.
  • Daniel Goleman, believes that IQ is a threshold quality: It matters for entry- to high-level management jobs, but once you get there, it no longer helps leaders, because most leaders already have a high IQ.
  • According to Goleman, what differentiates effective leaders from ineffective ones becomes their ability to control their own emotions and understand other people’s emotions, their internal motivation, and their social skills.





An Example of Emotional Intelligence

  • Some of the greatest moments in human history were fuelled by emotional intelligence. When Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience. He promised that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence—the ability to recognize, understands, and manages emotions. Martin Luther King demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions that moved his audience to action. King delivered “a perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”
  • Similar was Gandhi’s contribution to Indian national movement. His slogan of “do or die” on the eve of Quit India Movement electrified the Indian masses, and resulted in massive movement in human history. This skill of managing one’s own and others’ emotions is what comes with EI.





Currently, there are three main models of EI:

  1. Ability model
  2. Mixed model
  3. Trait model

Ability Model:

  • 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 behaviours.
  • 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 or facilitating 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 emotion’s 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.

Mixed model:

  • 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 / Self-management– 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 decision
    5. Motivation– being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement.
  • First four of these five main EI constructs can be explained by following figure:



EI as learned capabilities:

  • 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 posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.
  • Emotional competence refers to one’s ability to express or release one’s inner feelings (emotions).
  • Emotional capital is the set of personal and social emotional competencies which constitute a resource inherent to the person, useful for the personal, professional and organizational development and takes part in social cohesion, to personal, social and economic success. Furthermore, because of its impact on performance (as at work), on well-being (life satisfaction, health etc) and on social cohesion and citizenship, emotional capital should be taken into account seriously by public and educational policy-makers and practicians and companies

Trait model:

  • Petrides proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI.



  • EI refers to an individual’s self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self-perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement.
  • An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is the extent or strength of one’s belief in one’s own ability to complete tasks and reach goals.
  • The trait EI model is general and subsumes the Goleman’s Mixed Model discussed above.

Emotional Intelligence and Personality:

  • Personality is defined as a specific criteria of an individual such as acting, feeling and thinking which these kind of attitude have been explored through various of theoretical ideas including humanities, cognitive as well as trait theory. Trait in EI is a kind of behaviour of an individual who feel and act in specific way which differentiates them from other individual. They are trusted to be consistent and stable in their lifetime.






Emotional intelligence is that “something” within us that help us to sense how we feel and enables us to truly connect with others and form a bond. It gives us the ability to be present and listen to someone when they most need it. It is that sense of internal balance within us that enables us to keep our composure, make good decisions, communicate successfully, and maintain effective leadership even when under stress.

To be specific, EI is important for the following reasons:

  • Know Your Emotions: Emotions are powerful reactions. If one is not aware of his emotions he can’t make a sound moral judgment. Further, knowing one’s emotions is the pre-requisite to express inherent feeling/affection.
  • Managing Emotions: Managing emotions is very important for our mental health and for keeping our interaction with others efficient. Moreover, managing emotions is the key to motivate oneself and others.
  • Greater Self-Awareness: It is necessary for understanding one’s emotions, setting realistic goals. These are very essential for success and remaining happy.
  • Self-Regulation: EI enables one to exercise high degree of self-control. Therefore, EI leads to the creation of climate of trust and fairness in which infighting is reduced and chances of success are increased.
  • Empathy: EI enables one to thoughtfully consider the feelings of others and behave in an appropriate manner. Empathetic people are able to think of the things from others’ perspective. Therefore, they are able to pick up subtle social signals indicating what others need. People with high EQ thus have greater service orientation.
  • Social skills: It refers to adeptness in inducing the desired behaviour in others.



  • There are differing perspectives on the ability of people to develop EI. Some researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic. In this context, some thinkers make distinction between emotional intelligence (EI) and emotional quotient (EQ).
  • EI refers to innate potentiality, such that each individual is born with some innate potential for emotional literacy and emotional learning ability, and this potential is realized only when he gets favourable environment. The core of this favourable environment constitutes emotional lessons.
  • These emotional lessons are given to us through socialization by our parents, teachers, peers etc., during our childhood or adolescence. The result of which is what is called as EQ. EQ is hence the relative measure of one’s healthy or unhealthy development of innate EI.
  • It is possible that two children with the same EI may have different EQ or vice-versa, depending upon the socialization experiences. However, it must be clarified that either of them is not a numerical entity, like IQ.
  • Emotional quotient is best inculcated from an early age by encouraging qualities like sharing, thinking about others, putting oneself in another person’s shoes, giving individual space and the general principles of cooperation.
  • There are tools like toys and games available to increase emotional quotient, and children who do not do well in social settings are known to perform significantly better after taking SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) classes. Adult EQ can also be enhanced, although to a limited extent through effective coaching





  1. Cannot be recognized as form of intelligence
    • Goleman’s early work has been criticized for assuming from the beginning that EI is a type of intelligence.
    • The essence of this criticism is that scientific inquiry depends on valid and consistent construct utilization, and that before the introduction of the term EI, psychologists had established theoretical distinctions between factors such as abilities and achievements, skills and habits, attitudes and values, and personality traits and emotional states.Thus, some scholars believe that the term EI merges and conflates such accepted concepts and definitions.
    • Goleman tries to make us believe he is presenting something new, when in fact much of what he is reporting has been studied for years under personality research.
  1. Confusing Skills With Moral Qualities
    • The common but mistaken perception of EI is that it is a desirable moral quality rather than a skill. A well-developed EI is not only an instrumental tool for accomplishing goals, but has a dark side as a weapon for manipulating others by robbing them of their capacity to reason.
  1. EI has little predictive value
    • Goleman made unsupported claims about the power and predictive ability of emotional intelligence.
    • The studies conducted on EI have shown that it adds little or nothing to the explanation or prediction of some common outcomes (like work success).
    • Similarly, many researchers have raised concerns about the extent to which self-report EI measures correlate with established personality dimensions.
  1. Other Criticisms:
    • Goleman represents his work as “scientific” when it does not hold up to scientific scrutiny. Unlike IQ, emotional intelligence has no as definite objective test. (IQ, or intelligence quotient, is score derived from one of several standardized tests designed to assess an individual’s intelligence.)
    • He implies that anyone can learn emotional intelligence and fails to acknowledge either the relatively fixed nature of the personality traits he includes in his definition of EI or the differences in innate potential among individuals.
    • His personal beliefs about what is “appropriate” contradict the academic theory concerning the value of our emotions. He still seems to regard emotions as largely something to be controlled and restrained, rather than something to be valued.



  • Many civil servants despite being extraordinarily talented, conceptually brilliant and having a very high IQ, are not particularly likeable people. Many of them are aggressive and brutal in their response to the outside world. They have little or no feeling for people around them.
  • They feel physiologically awkward in their relationships; have no social graces or even a social personal life. Being uncomfortable with themselves and making people uncomfortable becomes a routine response in their life.
  • Apart from this, it has also been noticed that risk taking behaviour, and bold decisions are needed in discharging the responsibility of public services, especially in a developing country like India. Civil servants need to be adept at handling people effectively since it forms a major part of their responsibilities.
  • Further, the civil servants are the trustees of public interest and are entrusted to make policies. Therefore, they need to be high on EI, because without EI it would be difficult to be empathetic to different sections of the society, to be firm in their approach, and to be good change agents

Emotionally Intelligent Administrator

Emotionally intelligent leaders are centered and grounded. Such leaders display a stable mood, aren’t erratic or extremely unpredictable in their behaviour, and they tend to possess these traits:

  • High self-regard: Good leaders have high self-regard. Leaders who claim to know it all tend to be poor leaders. Good leaders know their strengths and capitalize on those strengths, as well as know their weaknesses and fill the gaps with people who have strong skills in these areas.
  • Maintain balance in life: Good leaders also seem to know how to balance their personal and work lives. They tend to avoid burning out by managing their time well. If a person can manage his own life well — including stress, home life, fitness, and diet — then he has a better chance of managing the workplace well.
  • Model the way: Successful leaders say what they want to accomplish and get it done. The leader needs to walk the talk if he wants others to follow. In emotional intelligence terms, this practice involves assertiveness and independence. People who are assertive and articulate have no difficulty expressing their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Also, people, who are independent, listen are to and take in the advice of others, but in the end, make their own informed decisions. Independence implies acting in order to carry things out.
  • Inspire a shared vision: As a leader, one must convince others that he/she understands others needs and have their best interests at heart. Inspiring a shared vision requires a good deal of empathy and optimism for it gives our vision a positive and desirable flavour so that others want to share in it. Our empathy ensures that we hit the right chord in terms of what others want to see and hear from us.
  • Challenge the process: An emotionally intelligent leader strives for change. He looks for opportunities to improve and grow and also to experiment and take risks. One of the key emotional intelligence skills that are needed in order to challenge the status quo is flexibility. Flexible people are more likely to try new things, take risks, and face new challenges without fear.
  • Stay composed under pressure: Good leaders don’t flare up or lose control under difficult circumstances
  • Encourage others: A key component of this practice involves recognizing the contributions of others. Rewarding people for their participation goes a long way in motivating them to be part of our team. Leaders who encourage others not only need to know how those people feel but need to be capable of building relationships with them, as well.



  • Emotional intelligence is important, but the unbridled enthusiasm has a dark side as well. New evidence shows that when people hone their emotional skills, they become better at manipulating others. When you’re good at controlling your own emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you know what others are feeling, you can tug at their heartstrings and motivate them to act against their own best interests. Especially when they have self serving interests, EI becomes a weapon for manipulating others.
  • Social scientists have begun to document this dark side of emotional intelligence. In emerging research led by University of Cambridge, when a leader gave an inspiring speech filled with emotion, the audience was less likely to scrutinize the message and remembered less of the content. Ironically, audience members were so moved by the speech that they claimed to recall more of it.
  • One observer reflected that Hitler’s persuasive impact came from his ability to strategically express emotions—he would “tear open his heart”—and these emotions affected his followers to the point that they would “stop thinking critically and just emote.” Leaders who master emotions can rob us of our capacities to reason. If their values are out of step with our own, the results can be devastating.


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