Understanding and Developing Emotional
In a Word Emotional intelligence describes ability, capacity, skill, or
self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of
others, and of groups. The theory is enjoying considerable support in the literature
and has had successful applications in many domains.
The intelligence quotient, or IQ, is a score derived from one of several different
standardized tests to measure intelligence.
It has been used to assess giftedness and
sometimes underpin recruitment. Many have argued that IQ, or conventional
intelligence, is too narrow: some people are academically brilliant yet socially and
When psychologists began to think about intelligence they focused attention on cognitive aspects
such as memory and problem solving.
©Asian Development Bank 2017
O. Serrat, Knowledge Solutions, DOI 10.1007/978-981-10-0983-9_37
We know that success does not automatically follow those
who possess a high IQ rating.
If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you
are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and
have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to
get very far.
Wider areas of intelligence enable or dictate how successful we are toughness,
determination, and vision help. But emotional intelligence, often measured as an
emotional intelligence quotient, or EQ, is more and more relevant to important
work-related outcomes such as individual performance, organizational productivity,
and developing people because its principles provide a new way to understand and
assess the behaviors, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and
potential of people. It is an increasingly important consideration in human resource
planning, job proﬁling, recruitment interviewing and selection, learning and
development, and client relations and customer service, among others.
Emotional intelligence describes the ability, capacity, skill, or self-perceived ability
to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups.
People who possess a high degree of emotional intelligence know themselves very
well and are also able to sense the emotions of others. They are affable, resilient,
and optimistic. Surprisingly, emotional intelligence is a relatively recent behavioral
model: it was not until the publication of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can
Matter More Than IQ by Goleman (1995) that the term became popular.
As early as 1920, Robert Thorndike used the term “social intelligence”to describe the skill of
understanding and managing other people. In the 1940s, David Wechsler deﬁned intelligence as
the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, think rationally, and deal
effectively with his (or her) environment. In 1943, he submitted that nonintellective abilities are
essential for predicting one’s ability to succeed in life. Later, in 1983, Howard Gardner wrote
about multiple intelligences and proposed that intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligences are as
important as the type of intelligence typically measured by IQ and related tests.
Emotional intelligence draws from branches of behavioral, emotional, and communications
theories. Goleman is the person most commonly associated with it. (But he is by no means the only
researcher: the most distant roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Charles Darwin’s early
work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and adaptation.) Wayne Leon Payne
is credited with ﬁrst using the term “emotional intelligence”in 1985. Soon after, in 1990, John
Mayer and Peter Salovey described that as the ability to monitor one’s own and others’feelings
and emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use this information to guide one’s thinking and
330 37 Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence
Emotions have taught mankind to reason.
—Marquis de Vauvenargues
By developing their emotional intelligence individuals can become more pro-
ductive and successful at what they do, and help others become more productive
and successful too. The process and outcomes of emotional intelligence develop-
ment also contain many elements known to reduce stress—for individuals and
therefore organizations—by moderating conﬂict; promoting understanding and
relationships; and fostering stability, continuity, and harmony. Last but not least, it
links strongly with concepts of love and spirituality.
Individuals have different personalities, wants, needs, and ways of showing their
emotions. Navigating through this requires tact and shrewdness—especially if one
hopes to succeed in life. This is where emotional intelligence theory helps. In the
most generic framework, ﬁve domains of emotional intelligence cover together
personal (self-awareness, self-regulation, and self-motivation) and social (social
awareness and social skills) competences.
(i) Emotional awareness: Recognizing one’s emotions and their effects.
(ii) Accurate self-assessment: Knowing one’s strengths and limits.
(iii) Self-conﬁdence: Sureness about one’s self-worth and capabilities.
(Footnote 3 continued)
actions. In 1997, their four branch model deﬁned emotional intelligence as involving the abilities
to perceive, accurately, emotions in oneself and others; use emotions to facilitate thinking;
understand the meaning of emotions; and manage emotions. They also tried to develop a way to
scientiﬁcally measure differences between people’s abilities in the area of emotions.
Nor surprisingly, perhaps, Goleman (2006) published Social Intelligence: The New Science of
Social Relationships to illuminate theories about attachment, bonding, and the making and
remaking of memory as he examined how our brains are wired for altruism, compassion, concern,
and rapport. Good relationships nourish us and support our health, while toxic relationships can
poison us. He proposed that social intelligence is made up of social awareness (including empathy,
attunement, empathic accuracy, and social cognition) and social facility (including synchrony,
self-presentation, inﬂuence, and concern).
The material that follows comes from the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in
Organizations. 1998. Emotional Competence Framework.
(i) Self-control: Managing disruptive emotions and impulses.
(ii) Trustworthiness: Maintaining standards of honesty and integrity.
(iii) Conscientiousness: Taking responsibility for personal performance.
(iv) Adaptability: Flexibility in handling change.
(v) Innovativeness: Being comfortable with and open to novel ideas and new
(i) Achievement drive: Striving to improve or meet a standard of excellence.
(ii) Commitment: Aligning with the goals of the group or organization.
(iii) Initiative: Readiness to act on opportunities.
(iv) Optimism: Persistence in pursuing goals despite obstacles and setbacks.
(i) Empathy: Sensing others’feelings and perspective, and taking an active
interest in their concerns.
(ii) Service orientation: Anticipating, recognizing, and meeting customers’
(iii) Developing others: Sensing what others need in order to develop, and
bolstering their abilities.
(iv) Leveraging diversity: Cultivating opportunities through diverse people.
(v) Political awareness: Reading a group’s emotional currents and power
(i) Inﬂuence: Wielding effective tactics for persuasion.
(ii) Communication: Sending clear and convincing messages.
(iii) Leadership: Inspiring and guiding groups and people.
(iv) Change catalyst: Initiating or managing change.
(v) Conﬂict management: Negotiating and resolving disagreements.
(vi) Building bonds: Nurturing instrumental relationships.
(vii) Collaboration and cooperation: Working with others toward shared
(viii) Team capabilities: Creating group synergy in pursuing collective goals.
In brief, the ﬁve domains relate to knowing your emotions; managing your
emotions; motivating yourself; recognizing and understanding other people’s
emotions; and managing relationships, i.e., managing the emotions of others.
332 37 Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence
Table. The personal and social attributes of emotional intelligence
Emotional awareness Individuals with this competence
•Know which emotions they are feeling and why
•Realize the links between their feelings and what they think, do, and
•Recognize how their feelings affect their performance; and
•Have a guiding awareness of their values and goals
Individuals with this competence are
•Aware of their strengths and weaknesses
•Reﬂective, learning from experience
•Open to candid feedback, new perspectives, continuous learning,
and self-development; and
•Able to show a sense of humor and perspective about themselves
Self-conﬁdence Individuals with this competence
•Present themselves with self-assurance and have presence
•Can voice views that are unpopular and go out on a limb for what is
•Are decisive and able to make sound decisions despite uncertainties
Self-control Individuals with this competence
•Manage their impulsive feelings and distressing emotions well
•Stay composed, positive, and unﬂappable even in trying moments;
•Think clearly and stay focused under pressure
Trustworthiness Individuals with this competence
•Act ethically and are above reproach
•Build trust through their reliability and authenticity
•Admit their own mistakes and confront unethical actions in others;
•Take tough, principled stands even if they are unpopular
Conscientiousness Individuals with this competence
•Meet commitments and keep promises
•Hold themselves accountable for meeting their objectives; and
•Are organized and careful in their work
Adaptability Individuals with this competence
•Smoothly handle multiple demands, shifting priorities, and rapid
•Adapt their responses and tactics to ﬁtﬂuid circumstances; and
•Are ﬂexible in how they see events
Innovativeness Individuals with this competence
•Seek out fresh ideas from a wide variety of sources
•Entertain original solutions to problems
•Generate new ideas; and
•Take fresh perspectives and risks in their thinking
The Model 333
Achievement drive Individuals with this competence
•Are results-oriented, with a high drive to meet their objectives and
•Set challenging goals and take calculated risks
•Pursue information to reduce uncertainty and ﬁnd ways to do better;
•Learn how to improve their performance
Commitment Individuals with this competence
•Readily make personal or group sacriﬁces to meet a larger
•Find a sense of purpose in the larger mission
•Use the group’s core values in making decisions and clarifying
•Actively seek out opportunities to fulﬁll the group’s mission
Initiative Individuals with this competence
•Are ready to seize opportunities
•Pursue goals beyond what is required or expected of them
•Cut through red tape and bend the rules when necessary to get the
job done; and
•Mobilize others through unusual, enterprising efforts
Optimism Individuals with this competence
•Persist in seeking goals despite obstacles and setbacks
•Operate from hope of success rather than fear of failure; and
•See setbacks as due to manageable circumstance rather than a
Empathy Individuals with this competence
•Are attentive to emotional cues and listen well
•Show sensitivity and understand others’perspectives; and
•Help out based on understanding other people’s needs and feelings
Service orientation Individuals with this competence
•Understand customers’needs and match them to services or
•Seek ways to increase customers’satisfaction and loyalty
•Gladly offer appropriate assistance; and
•Grasp a customer’s perspective, acting as a trusted advisor
Developing others Individuals with this competence
•Acknowledge and reward people’s strengths, accomplishments, and
•Offer useful feedback and identify people’s needs for development;
•Mentor, give timely coaching, and offer assignments that challenge
and grow a person’s skills
334 37 Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence
Leveraging diversity Individuals with this competence
•Respect and relate well to people from varied backgrounds
•Understand diverse worldviews and are sensitive to group
•See diversity as opportunity, creating an environment where diverse
people can thrive; and
•Challenge bias and intolerance
Political awareness Individuals with this competence
•Accurately read key power relationships;
•Detect crucial social networks;
•Understand the forces that shape views and actions of clients,
customers, or competitors; and
•Accurately read situations and organizational and external realities.
Inﬂuence Individuals with this competence
•Are skilled at persuasion
•Fine-tune presentations to appeal to the listener
•Use complex strategies like indirect inﬂuence to build consensus
and support; and
•Orchestrate dramatic events to effectively make a point
Communication Individuals with this competence
•Are effective in give-and-take, registering emotional cues in
attuning their message
•Deal with difﬁcult issues straightforwardly
•Listen well, seek mutual understanding, and welcome sharing of
information fully; and
•Foster open communication and stay receptive to bad news as well
Leadership Individuals with this competence
•Articulate and arouse enthusiasm for a shared vision and mission
•Step forward to lead as needed, regardless of position
•Guide the performance of others while holding them accountable;
•Lead by example
Change catalyst Individuals with this competence
•Recognize the need for change and remove barriers
•Challenge the status quo to acknowledge the need for change
•Champion the change and enlist others in its pursuit; and
•Model the change expected of others
Conﬂict management Individuals with this competence
•Handle difﬁcult people and tense situations with diplomacy and tact
•Spot potential conﬂict, bring disagreements into the open, and help
•Encourage debate and open discussion; and
•Orchestrate win-win solutions
The Model 335
Building bonds Individuals with this competence
•Cultivate and maintain extensive informal networks
•Seek out relationships that are mutually beneﬁcial
•Build rapport and keep others in the loop; and
•Make and maintain personal friendships among work associates
Individuals with this competence
•Balance a focus on task with attention to relationships
•Collaborate, sharing plans, information, and resources
•Promote a friendly and cooperative climate; and
•Spot and nurture opportunities for collaboration
Team capabilities Individuals with this competence
•Model team qualities such as respect, helpfulness, and cooperation
•Draw all members into active and enthusiastic participation
•Build team identity, esprit de corps, and commitment; and
•Protect the group and its reputation and share credit
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?
Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.
—Ralph Waldo Emerson
A common question relates to whether people are born with high EQ or whether
it can be learned. The truth is that some will be more naturally gifted than others but
the good news is that emotional intelligence skills can be learned. (This must be so
because emotional intelligence is shown to increase with age.) However, for this to
happen, people must be personally motivated, practice extensively what they learn,
receive feedback, and reinforce their new skills.
Promoting Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace
Comfort in expressing your emotions will allow you to share the best of yourself
with others, but not being able to control your emotions will reveal your worst.
—Bryant H. McGill
336 37 Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence
The work conducted in most organizations has changed dramatically in the last
20 years. Of course, there are now fewer levels of management and management
styles are less autocratic. But there has also been a decided move toward knowledge
and team-based, client-oriented jobs so that individuals generally have more
autonomy, even at the lower levels of organizations. Since modern organizations
always look to improve performance, they recognize that objective, measurable
beneﬁts can be derived from higher emotional intelligence. To name a few, these
include increased sales, better recruitment and retention, and more effective
Naturally, the criteria for success at work are changing too. Staff is now judged
by new yardsticks: not just by how smart they are, or by their training and expertise,
but also by how well they handle themselves and one another, and that is strongly
inﬂuenced by personal qualities such as perseverance, self-control, and skill in
getting along with others. Increasingly, these new yardsticks are being applied to
choose who will be hired and who will not, who will be let go and who will be
retained, and who will be past over or promoted.
I respect the man who knows distinctly what he wishes. The greater part of all
mischief in the world arises from the fact that men do not sufﬁciently understand
their own aims. They have undertaken to build a tower, and spend no more labor on
the foundation than would be necessary to erect a hut.
—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Emotional intelligence may be the (long sought) missing link that unites con-
ventional “can do”ability determinants of job performance with “will do”dispo-
sitional determinants. Modern organizations now offer learning and development
that is explicitly labeled as “emotional intelligence”or “emotional competence”
training. In support, their leaders create and manage a working environment of
ﬂexibility, responsibility, standards, rewards, clarity, and commitment.
This climate determines how free staff feel to innovate unencumbered by red tape; perceptions of
responsibility to the organization; the level of standards that are set; the sense of accuracy about
performance feedback and the aptness of rewards; the clarity staff have about the organization’s
mission, vision, and values; and the level of commitment to a common purpose.
Promoting Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace 337
Fig. Good practices that cultivate emotional intelligence in the workplace. Note The four phases
correspond to those of the development process, viz., preparation, training, transfer and mainte-
nance, and evaluation. Each is important. Source Author
Goleman D (1995) Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. Bantam Books
Goleman D (2006) Social intelligence: the new science of social relationships. Bantam Books
Ehin C (2000) Unleashing intellectual capital. Butterworth-Heinemann
Goleman D (1998) Working with emotional intelligence. Bantam Books
Paving the Way
•Assess the organization's needs
•Assess the individual
•Deliver assessments with care
•Maximize learner choice
•Encourage people to participate
•Link learning goals to personal values
Doing the Work of Change
•Foster a positive relationship between
the trainers and learners
•Make change self-directed
•Set clear goals
•Break goals into manageable steps
•Provide opportunities to practice
•Monitor performance and give feedback
Rely on experiential methods
•Build in support
Encourage T ransfer and Maintenance of
•Encourage use of skills on the job
Develop an organizational culture that
Evaluate the Change
338 37 Understanding and Developing Emotional Intelligence
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Further Reading 339