Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability of an individual to recognize, distinguish, label and manage one's own and others' emotions.
The concept of emotional intelligence (IE or EI, from English Emotional Intelligence) is relatively recent; in fact, the first definition dates back to 1990 and was proposed by US psychologists Peter Salovey and John D. Mayer. Despite this, the concept of emotional intelligence only started to take hold and become "famous" between 1995 and 1996, following the publication of the book "Emotional Intelligence: What it is and why it can make us happy" by the author and science journalist Daniel Goleman, starting from which the concept of emotional intelligence took shape and became an object of study both in the psychological and in the corporate organization.
Emotional intelligence can be described as an individual's ability to recognize, discriminate and identify, to label appropriately and, consequently, to manage their emotions and those of others to achieve certain goals.
In truth, the definition of emotional intelligence has undergone several changes over the years and its meaning can take on different shades depending on the type of conception that one has of this ability to identify and manage one's own and others' emotions.
Emotional intelligence is also known as emotional quotient (QE, or EQ from the English Emotional Quotient), emotional intelligence quotient (QIE) and emotional leadership (LE).
Emotional intelligence according to Goleman
According to the model introduced by Goleman, emotional intelligence comprises a series of skills and competencies that guide the individual especially in the field of leadership.
In detail, according to Goleman, emotional intelligence is characterized by:
Self-awareness: it is intended as the ability to recognize one's emotions and strengths, as well as one's limits and weaknesses; it also includes the ability to understand how these personal characteristics can influence others.
Self-regulation: describes the ability to manage one's strengths, emotions and weaknesses, adapting them to the different situations that may arise, to achieve ends and objectives.
Social ability: it consists in the ability to manage relationships with people to "direct" them towards the achievement of a specific goal.
Motivation: it is the ability to recognize negative thoughts and transform them into positive thoughts that can motivate themselves and others.
Empathy: it is the ability to fully understand and even perceive and feel the mood of other people.
According to Goleman, different emotional competencies belong to each of the aforementioned characteristics, intended as the individual's practical skills necessary for establishing positive relationships with others. These skills, however, are not innate but can be learned, developed and improved to achieve important job and leadership performance. According to Goleman, each individual is endowed with "general" emotional intelligence from birth and the degree of this intelligence determines the probability - more or less high - of learning and exploiting, at a later time, the emotional skills mentioned above.
Goleman, therefore, makes emotional intelligence a fundamental tool in the context of job success.
Effects and Benefits of Emotional Intelligence on Daily Life
Regardless of the type of model adopted to describe its features and characteristics, the presence of a high degree of emotional intelligence - understood as the ability to correctly perceive, recognize and manage one's own and others' emotions - should theoretically bring beneficial effects in all aspects of the individual's daily life.
In detail, those who are gifted with emotional intelligence should:
Having better social relationships;
Having better family and sentimental relationships;
Being perceived by others in a more positive way than individuals with low emotional intelligence;
Being able to establish better working relationships than those who do not have, or have a low level of emotional intelligence;
Having a greater chance of understanding yourself and making correct decisions based on both logic and emotions;
Have a better academic performance;
Enjoy greater psychological well-being. Those who have a good level of emotional intelligence seem to have a greater probability of having satisfaction from their lives, having a high level of self-esteem and a lower level of insecurity. Furthermore, the presence of emotional intelligence seems to be useful in preventing wrong choices and behaviors, also inherent in one's health (for example, abuse of psychoactive substances and addictions both from drugs and alcohol).