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Emotional intelligence Essay


Emotional intelligence(EI) is defined as “the capacity for recognizing a person’s own feelings and those of others, for motivating themselves and for managing emotions well in themselves and other relationships” (Goleman, 1998). Serat (2009) on the other hand defines EI as the “ability, capacity, skill or self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others and of groups” (p. 2).

EI has significantly gained popularity in the world mainly because of its association with a person to manage his/her own emotions and handling other people. It is believed that people with high EI are not only good in knowing and understanding themselves, but are also able to sense and respect other people’s emotions.

More to this, Serat (2009) argues that high EI people are more optimistic, affable and resilient than people who have lower EI. Over the years, analysts have drawn a fine distinction between Intelligence Quotient and Emotional intelligence while stating that people with high EI are able to cope and relate with others better than people who have high IQ but are devoid of high EI levels.

Analysts agree that EI is important. However, they are yet to device ways through which IE can be measured. The different instruments available for measuring the same sometimes overlap or divulge thus making it hard for ordinary people to know just what is the appropriate tool of measurement (Cherniss & Goleman, 2001). Admittedly, EI is a complex issue that has been the debate of numerous debates.

One thing that analysts seem to agree on is the fact that EI is a combination of emotional and cognitive abilities. To this end, Goleman (1998) states that EI is the combination of “emotional centers of the brain (the limbic system) and the cognitive centers (prefrontal cortex)”.

Cherniss & Goleman (2001), states that EI provides a bedrock for effective performance by individuals in their respective places of work, thus encouraging development in any given society. In managers, the authors argue that high EI is a tool that enables conflict resolution to take place more easily and effectively that would be the case if the manager had low IE levels.

According to Goleman (1998), EI has varied competencies, some which has a clear relation, while it is still unclear about how some of the competencies are related. The author suggests that self-awareness produces social awareness and self control. The two on the other hand are responsible for breeding social skills in a person.

According to arguments presented by different authors, this essay holds the opinion that EI unlike IQ is not a pre-programmed quality in the brain. One gets the impression that some of the qualities of EI can be deliberately acquired. Mersino (2007) for example argues that getting in touch with one’s feeling is a good starting point to developing EI. Further, the author states that self-awareness can be learnt. This then means that a person with low EI can still work at developing the same to higher levels.

In addition to self-awareness, Mersino (2007) suggests developing accurate self-assessment skills. This regards viewing one-self accurately and even seeking opinions regarding one’s behaviors from others. Citing Daniel Goleman, Mersino (2007) identifies self-assessing people as those who are conscious of their strengths and weakness; reflect and learn from past experiences; open to feedback, lessons, perspectives and beneficial comments; and possess a sense of humor towards their achievements and failings.

Citing Gardner (1983), Goleman (1998) identifies seven categories of intelligence. They are: Intrapersonal, interpersonal, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, visual/spatial, logical/mathematical and verbal/linguistic. Goleman (1998) however associates EI with emotional competence, which he argues is responsible for self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.

Under self awareness, a person develops emotional awareness, self-assessment skills and self-confidence. Under self-management, one gains emotional control, transparency, optimism, initiative, adaptability and transparency. Under social awareness, one develops service orientation, organizational awareness and empathy. Under relationship management, one is able to relate with others, develops conflict management skills, and is able to develop inspirational leadership skills, in addition to team working skills (Goleman et al, 2002).

Ruderman et al. (2001) argues that while high IQ can result to high competencies, it does not automatically result in high EI. As such, the authors identify a need for highly intelligent people to develop their EI capabilities in order to be able to relate well with other people.

Most notably, Ruderman et al. (2001) notes that people with high IQ levels are good performers at work, but rarely know how to relate with other people. Because of their skills and competencies, they look down on other people who are not as skillful as they are, and if put in managerial positions, are more likely to command people under them rather than create work teams where strengths can be shared. “Such characters make you wonder how people can be so smart, yet so incapable of understanding themselves and others” (p.3).

According to Ruderman et al. (2001) emotional intelligence can not only be learnt, but can also be enhanced. They suggest that the first step to developing IE is coming to terms with ones emotions. The next step would be to deliberately guide thoughts and actions towards a particular identified path.

In management, Rudeman et al (2001) argues that EI has been in existence for much longer but was known as ‘peoples skills’. People’s skills were a management concept that was endorsed for use in managers, since analysts had proved that managers who possessed the same were more successful than those who did not. While the importance of intellect was not underrated in workplaces, the same in management positions was seen as a complementary attribute.

According to Ruderman et al. (2001), a manager needs to engage other people in the management process. This calls for proper people engagement through talking and listening, influencing decisions and laying a good environment for consensus building. The manager is also responsible for putting people working under him or with him at ease.

This however is closely related to the manager’s happiness. If the manager is always angry, impatient and fails to understand other people’s positions, he or she is more prone to knee-jerk responses. This means he can be quick to anger and lashing out at other people.

Generally, people who are self-aware have a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses and are therefore more willing to seek assistance beyond their strengths. They also appreciate other people’s strengths and are more willing to chip in when others need help.


Emotional intelligence no doubts seem to be the missing link that would lead to success on a personal level as well as success in the workplace. No one wants to be around a person who cannot quite grasp the extent of his strengths and weaknesses.

More to this, as much as people admire a skillful person, they detest such a person if he or she cannot pass on the skills to others or better still, a person who is patient with people who are not as equally gifted. As the different authors covered in this essay agree, emotional intelligence is indeed the bedrock of better relationships. Once a person understands him/herself, he/she is able to know the limits of what he/she can do. More to this, he is able to respect others for what they can do.

People with high EI are therefore easier to cope with, they are more willing to change and adapt to new environments and are more empathetic to other people’s causes. In an organizational setting, high EI people are relied upon as moderators and people who are capable of fostering good working relationships based on understanding. They are also able to foster harmony, continuity and stability.


Cherniss, C. & Goleman, D. (2001). The emotionally intelligent workplace: how to select for, measure, and improve emotional intelligence in individuals, groups, and organizations. London: John Wiley & Sons.

Goleman, D. (1998). Working with Emotional Intelligence. NY: Random House.

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. & McKee, A. (2002). Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston: HBS press.

Mersino, A. (2007). Emotional intelligence for project managers: the people skills you need to achieve outstanding results. New York: AMACOM Div American Mgt Assn.

Ruderman, M., Hannun, K., Leslie, J & Steed, J. (2001). Making the connection leadership skills and emotional intelligence. LIA journal. 21(5), 2-7.

Serat, O. (2009). Understanding and developing emotional intelligence. Knowledge solutions, 49(1), 1-9.

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1. IvyPanda. "Emotional intelligence." February 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/emotional-intelligence-4/.


IvyPanda. "Emotional intelligence." February 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/emotional-intelligence-4/.


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