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Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Written by

Tiffany Clark

Reviewed by

VidCruiter Editorial Team

Last Modified

Apr 17, 2024
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Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to an individual’s ability to identify and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of those around them. People with high emotional intelligence can recognize, understand, and manage their emotions in a way that is positive and beneficial. Generally, individuals with high emotional intelligence:


  • Manage stress well

  • Remain calm under pressure

  • Respond to people with empathy

  • Effectively resolve conflict

  • Overcome challenges more easily

  • Communicate effectively

  • Understand how their mental and emotional states influence the emotional reactions of people around them


The phrase “emotional intelligence” was first introduced by researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1990 in the journal Imagination, Cognition, and Personality. In an article titled “Emotional Intelligence,” Mayer and Salovey outlined the key concept of emotional intelligence. Later, Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., wrote a book about the topic, titled “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ.” Goleman’s book brought the topic of emotional intelligence into the mainstream. 


Mayer and Salovey identified four components of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. However, Daniel Goleman developed a more detailed framework of the identified components of emotional intelligence. Goleman’s five components are:


  1. Self-awareness: Ability to recognize their thoughts while also analyzing and understanding them

  2. Self-regulation: Ability to manage their emotions, especially in stressful situations

  3. Motivation: The inspiration or drive a person feels to perform tasks and achieve goals in their career

  4. Empathy: Ability to understand the emotions felt by other people and relate to them

  5. Social skills: Skilled in verbal communication, active listening, leadership, nonverbal communication, and persuasiveness


Emotional Intelligence Examples


One example of high emotional intelligence is a person’s ability to respond positively to new ideas and initiatives. A manager with high emotional intelligence encourages feedback and ideas from their subordinates. Alternatively, an employee with high emotional intelligence will display eagerness and flexibility to try new ways of doing things. 


Effective communication techniques are a hallmark of positive emotional intelligence. Managers who speak respectfully and clearly with employees or upper management will experience more productive discussions. 


As the lines between work and personal hours have blurred, it has become more important to navigate with emotional intelligence. For example, enjoying an evening meal or morning coffee with a coworker requires the emotional intelligence to self-regulate and remain professional when not at the workplace.

Related Terms

Emotional Quotient (EQ)

is a measure of an individual’s emotional intelligence. This phrase is often used interchangeably with emotional intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence

is part of the theory of multiple intelligences developed by Howard Gardner. This term refers to the ability of an individual to effectively interact with other people by recognizing and showing sensitivity to their moods, motives, and feelings.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

is also a component of Howard Gardner’s work. While interpersonal intelligence is the capacity to understand others, intrapersonal intelligence is the capacity to understand oneself while also appreciating one’s feelings, fears, and motivations.

Emotional Acumen

is a skill used for recognizing, understanding, and managing the emotions of oneself and others.

Emotional Competence

refers to a person’s ability to express, understand, and regulate their emotions in various situations.

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