Emotional Intelligence Highlights

Excerpts on Emotional Intelligence (aka EQ) from Daniel Goleman with Comments

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In 1995 Daniel Goleman’s best seller Emotional intelligence was published. His book has caused many to rethink common, existing definitions of intelligence. Goleman’s work focuses on the more functional aspects of interpersonal and personal strengths commonly used by successful, happy people. The following are highlights from Goleman’s work as he describes and defines common EQ attributes, offers differentiated views of EQ in males and females, and discusses attributes that differentiate EQ from other personal definitions of intelligence.

Goleman defines EQ as: IQ is not destiny – emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart. It includes knowing your feelings and using them to make good decisions; managing your feelings well; motivating yourself with zeal and persistence; maintaining hope in the face of frustration; exhibiting empathy and compassion; interacting smoothly; and managing your relationships effectively. Those emotional skills matter immensely – in marriage and families, in career and the workplace, for health and contentment.

Persons having EQ exhibit the following common attributes. In essence, the panorama of skills found in the context of emotional intelligence help individuals manage both the self and others in the following areas:

  1. Impulse control; 
  2. Self-esteem; 
  3. Self-motivation; 
  4. Mood management 
  5. People skills

(**Leslie’s note: While these skills can be learned later in life, there is emerging data that emotional control and interpersonal skills are imprinted with the help of mirror genes fairly early in children’s development, to include emotional control! David Sousa, How the brain learns, 4th ed. 25-27 offers a succinct overview of this topic, as well as explanations about the importance of mirror genes. Pam Schiller also offers a very readable and informative overview of brain development and related “windows of opportunity.” **And here is a checklist of common social/emotional skills related to EQ that reader’s can use for both self assessment and for the assessment of others – SEL rating scale)

friends  Gender Differences: Goleman offers counter views of emotionally intelligent men and women.

By contrast, men who are high in emotional intelligence are socially poised, outgoing and cheerful, not prone to fearless or worried rumination. They have a noticeable capacity for commitment to people or causes, for taking responsibility, and for having an ethical outlook; they are sympathetic and caring in their relationships. Their emotional life is rich, but appropriate; they are comfortable with themselves, others, and the social universe they live in. . . .

Emotionally intelligent women . . . tend to be assertive and express their feelings directly, and to feel positive about themselves; life holds meaning for them. Like the men, they are outgoing and gregarious, and express their feelings appropriately (rather than, say, in outbursts they later regret); they adapt well to stress. Their social poise lets them easily reach out to new people; they are comfortable enough with themselves to be playful, spontaneous, and open to sensual experience. Unlike the women purely high in IQ, they rarely feel anxious or guilty, or sink into rumination. 45

Intrapersonal, Interpersonal and Emotional Intelligences — What are the differences:

In the contexts of Goleman’s previous definitions, it may be time to take a look at standard characteristics used to describe students possessing what Howard Gardner calls “Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Intelligences.” While there are some similarities, emotional intelligence appears to be a more comprehensive version of Gardner’s inter and intrapersonal intelligences, still many of the attributes are the same.

The following have been synthesized from Gardner’s works on MI and others translations of his work.

Interpersonal Intelligence

  • Enjoys socializing with peers and social occasions.
  • Seems to have natural leadership abilities.
  • Readily able to give advice to friends who have problems.
  • Seems to be “people smart.”
  • Enjoys a sense of belonging to groups — May belong to clubs, committees, or other organizations.
  • Enjoys informally teaching other kids.
  • Likes to play games with others.
  • Has two or more close friends.
  • Has a well-developed sense of empathy or concern for others.
  • Others often seek out this student’s company — others appear to be drawn to this student.

Intrapersonal Intelligence

  • Displays a strong sense of independence, or is often described as, “Having a strong character or will.”
  • Has a realistic sense of personal strengths and weaknesses — knows what they can achieve and what their personal limitations are.
  • Does well when left alone to play or study, often prefers to work, play or study alone.
  • Can be described as “marching to the beat of a different drummer”– this may apply to style of dress, mannerisms, of living or learning.
  • Has a special interest or hobby that he/she doesn’t talk much about.
  • Has a good sense of self-direction — is often intrinsically motivated.
  • Accurately expresses how he/she is feeling.
  • Is able to be introspective and reflective about personal actions and learns from his/her failures and successes in life.
  • Has high self-esteem and a strong sense of self-worth.

*Note: These categories are not mutually exclusive, individuals may have strengths in both areas


Goleman differentiates his approach from that of Gardner’s by noting:

While there is ample room in Gardner’s descriptions of the personal intelligences for insight into the play of emotions and the mastery in managing them, Gardner and those who work with him have not pursued in great detail the role of feeling in these intelligences, focusing more on cognition than about feeling. This focus, perhaps unintentionally, leaves unexplored the rich sea of emotions that makes the inner life and relationships so complex, so compelling, and so often puzzling. And leaves yet to be plumbed the sense in which there is intelligence in the emotions and the sense in which intelligence can be brought to emotions. 40

Goleman goes on to discuss the history of the predominating, rather parochial views of behavioral scientists and psychology’s eighty year old mindset concerning the science of cognition, to exclude much serious study of the roles of emotions. He views this as “lopsided.” Goleman further explains he doesn’t think IQ and emotional intelligence are opposing competencies, but rather they represent different aspects and that different people have varying degrees of types of intelligence.

In his attempt expand the differences between Gardner’s definitions of personal intelligences as emotional intelligence,  Goleman uses the work of Salovey as a foundation. I offer a summarized version of Salovey’s definitions of emotional intelligence — these are categorized into five domains:

1. Knowing one’s emotions – Self-awareness is the keystone of emotional intelligence. This area features the ability to monitor feelings from moment to moment as they happen. People possessing this domain make personal decisions with certainty and assurance.

2. Managing emotions – This domain refers to the ability to handle emotions in appropriate manners. Persons proficient in this domain are better able to shake off negative emotions like gloom, anxiety, and irritability. These people are ones who have less difficulty bouncing back after experiencing life’s ups and downs.

3. Motivating oneself – Concentrating one’s emotions on the achievement of goals within the context of mastery, paying attention and creativity falls into this category. People possessing attributes in this domain are self-motivated, they delay gratification and stifle their impulsive urges. They can enter the state of “flow” often needed to complete a task and that allows them to be highly effective and productive.

4. Recognizing emotions in others – Empathy is an essential “people skill.” These people are attuned to subtle social cues and interactions which indicate what others want or need.

5. Handling relationships – Skills in this domain refer to the abilities common in people who are adept at managing the emotions and their interactions with others. This domain also refers to aspects inherent in popularity, leadership, and harmonious interpersonal relationships. 43-44

Like Gardner’s discussions of the multiple intelligences, Goleman points out that different people have aspects of each domain to varying degrees, combinations and intensities. People adept in one domain of emotional intelligence might not necessarily excel in another domain. Goleman’s discussions give an added dimension to our concentrations on the importance of personal intelligences. His thoughts and ideas help elaborate and explain the importance and dimensions of the personal intelligences as they are extended and redefined as components of emotional intelligence.

(Direct quotes from Emotional intelligence by Goleman, D. (1995). Text from Journeys: Inside out, outside in. ©L. O. Wilson,Book manuscript. All rights reserved.)

**Learn how to apply Emotional Intelligence concepts to students’ classroom experiences. 

A fantastic resource – The School of Life – A London based concern concentrating on helping others understand the concepts driving emotional intelligence and emotional wellness. They also have lots of products to trigger discussions on issues that surround emotional intelligence and its development, plus a dedicated YouTube channel that shares lots of wonderful, succinct, well done videos. This is a fabulous resource for parents, teachers, and others who want to stimulate meaningful discussions about what it means to be human.


Childre, D.L., Teaching children to love

Damasio, A.R., Decarte’s error: Emotion, reason and the brain

Goleman, D., Emotional intelligence

Goleman, D., “On emotional intelligence,” Educational leadership, v.54, n.1, September 1996, 6-10.

Selected web resources to check out:

Edutopia on Emotional Intelligence is the missing piece

Daniel Goleman  talking on  EQ in Edutopia  – This is an older video clip with Goleman the author of EQ, but no less important!

The School of Life – A London based concern concentrating on helping others understand the concepts driving emotional intelligence and emotional wellness. They also have lots of products to trigger discussions on issues that surround emotional intelligence and its development, plus a dedicated YouTube channel that shares lots of wonderful, succinct, well done videos. This is a fabulous resource for parents, teachers, and others who want to stimulate meaningful discussions about what it means to be human.

Emotional Intelligence Information – I comprehensive array of information on EQ

From Cleverism – An EQ overview plus some good video clips on the topic