Emotional Intelligence: History, Concepts, Benefits, Importance [UPSC Notes]

By Durga Prashanna Mishra|Updated : July 4th, 2022

Emotional Intelligence is the ability of a person to manage, access, and control one’s own emotions as well as others. One of the most fundamental aspects of a human experience is our capability to experience emotions. Without emotions, our existence would be uni-dimensional, and nowhere near to the vibrant and rich as it is. As per the research, Emotional Intelligence Plays a crucial role in success at a personal and organizational level.

Emotional Intelligence is a huge portion of General Studies Paper-4 under Ethics and Human Interface. That’s why every UPSC aspirant must have an in-depth understanding of Emotional Intelligence in order to answer questions correctly asked on this topic.

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence can be defined ability to comprehend own’s emotions and others’ emotions and use them in the right way to guide one’s actions and thinking.

  • This term was coined by two researchers- John Mayer, and Peter Salovey in 1990. However, it got popular in 1996 from Dan Goleman’s book “Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ’.
  • John Mayer and Peter Salovey defined Emotional Intelligence as “ The ability to monitor one's and others’ emotions, to differentiate between different emotions, and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide behavior and thinking.
  • This definition of Emotional Intelligence was also adopted by Goleman and further categorized into Managing emotions, self-awareness, Empathy, Handling relationships, and motivating oneself.
  • Emotional Intelligence is one of the types of intelligence needed for success in various kinds of situations.
  • Those who are aware of emotions for themselves and others and regulate accordingly can be tagged as emotionally intelligent.

History of Emotional Intelligence

In the 1920s, Edward Thorndike describes the concept of “Social Intelligence”, and it was the ability to get along with other people.

  • However, in 1985, Wayne Payne introduces the term “ Emotional Intelligence” for the first time in their doctoral thesis ‘A Study of Emotion: Developing Emotional Intelligence.
  • In 1987, in an article published in Mensa Magazine, Keith Beasley used the term “ Emotional Quotient”.
  • In 1990, John Mayer and Peter Salovey published their landmark article “Emotion Intelligence”.
  • 1995 was the year when Emotional Intelligence became popular after Daniel Goleman's book “Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ” was published.

Concepts of Emotional Intelligence

The four elements of Emotional Intelligence as given by Daniel Goleman are as follows:

  • Self-Awareness: it is the skill of being aware of one’s emotions as they occur. It is also the ability to keep impulses and negative emotions under control.
  • Empathy: it is an ability to see things from the point of view of others.
  • Self-Regulation: it is about controlling one’s emotions, instead of a quick reaction. One must control their emotions before responding.
  • Internal Motivation: it talks about one’s drive to improve and achieve commitment to one’s initiative, goals, and developing skills to attain targets, and taking the right steps to act on opportunities.
  • Social Skills: it is about balancing the wants and needs of others with ones by applying empathy. It is about building a good rapport with other people.

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence

The benefits of Emotional Intelligence are given below.

  • It helps to solve problems by using both feelings and logic.
  • Emotional Intelligence allows being more flexible in changing situations.
  • It keeps positive and optimistic
  • Emotional Intelligence helps to express one’s needs
  • It expresses compassion, caring, and empathy for others.
  • Emotional Intelligence improves communication and interactions with others.
  • EI also helps to respond thoughtfully and calmly to difficult people.

How to Improve Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional Intelligence can be developed in the following ways:

  • By self-evaluating oneself, an individual can be aware of reactions and emotions in different situations,
  • By observing other people, one can be able to understand others’ feelings.
  • By improving one’s expression, one will be able to communicate in a better way.
  • By analyzing the impact of one’s action on others, one will be able to fine-tune the actions.
  • Improvement of listening ability also helps to build Emotional Intelligence.

Utility of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is a great tool for accomplishing goals, but it can be used for manipulating others as well.

  • Those who master their Emotional Intelligence can be better manipulators. When you hone your won emotions, you can disguise your true feelings. When you understand what others feeling, you can notice them acting against their best interest.
  • Emotional Intelligence must be used carefully when and where it matters the most.
  • Leaders can take bad advantage of their Emotional Intelligence and rob us of our capacities.
  • For example, Mahatma Gandhiji’s speeches motivated so many Indians to fight for freedom, on the other hand, Hitler’s speeches played with Germans' emotions.

Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Civil Services

Emotional Intelligence can be used in governance and administration for better decision-making and emotional management.

  • It can improve organizational relations among the employees.
  • An emotionally Intelligent civil servant can motivate his/her subordinates to achieve a particular goal.
  • Emotional Intelligence helps in stress management.
  • It leads to better decision-making by not letting emotions influential to the final result.
  • Emotional Intelligence also helps to recruit qualified staff who are better at managing their emotions.
  • Emotional Intelligence prevents conflict of interest.
  • Maintain political equality irrespective of personal ideology.
  • Emotionally Intelligent civil servants are able to communicate in a better way.

Relationship Between Emotional Quotient(EQ) and Intelligent Quotient(IQ)

The emotional Quotient is the level of emotional intelligence of a person, on the other hand, IQ is the score derived from some tests designed to access the intelligence of an individual.

  • EQ refers to one’s ability to control, perceive, evaluate and express emotions. IQ is used to determine the academic abilities of individuals.
  • EQ is centered on the abilities like evaluating how others feel, identifying emotions, perceiving how others feel, controlling emotions, and using emotions to facilitate communication and relate with others.
  • IQ is about abilities like knowledge of the world, spatial processing, working memory, quantitative reasoning, and short-term memory.

Emotional Intelligence Models

There are 3 major frameworks into which the Emotional Intelligence models may be categorized.

  • Ability Model- it equates the EI with mental abilities, and assesses them through the tools that categorize responses into right and wrong.
  • Mixed Model- as per this model Emotional Intelligence is the combination of abilities and personality traits.
  • Trait Models- it says that the Emotional Intelligence abilities are the same as the personality traits rather than the abilities and adopt personality test.

Promoting Emotional Intelligence in Children

Promoting Emotional Intelligence in children becomes so important because as adults our life is highly influenced by what we have experienced in our childhood.

  • The increasing stress level in adults is deep roots in the imprints we have gotten as children.
  • As per the research, people with better Emotional Intelligence are able to cope with everyday challenges in a better way, and benefit professionally, academically, and socially.
  • That’s why childhood is the best time to develop Emotional Intelligence.
  • Schools and parents would play a vital role in the Development of Emotional Intelligence in children.

Emotional Intelligence UPSC

Emotional Intelligence is introduced in the UPSC Syllabus. It is one of the creative steps to monitor the Emotional Intelligence of the UPSC aspirants. The ethics paper or the General Studies-4 talks about Emotional Intelligence, and every UPSC aspirant must aware of this term, and other facts related to it. We have created this article that would help the aspirants understand Emotional Intelligence in a better way. Additionally, candidates must follow the right UPSC Books for this particular topic to get an in-depth understanding. Below we have provided a direct link to download Emotional Intelligence UPSC Notes that have all the information covered in this article.

>> Download Emotional Intelligence UPSC Notes PDF

UPSC Previous Year’s Questions on Emotional Intelligence

UPSC Previous Year Question Papers included questions from EI. Some questions are given below.

  • UPSC CSE 2020- What are the main components of emotional intelligence (EI)? Can they be learned? Discuss
  • UPSC CSE 2019- “Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you instead of against you”. Do you agree with this view? Discuss.
  • UPSC CSE 2017- How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices?
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FAQs on Emotional Intelligence

  • Emotional Intelligence can be defined as the ability to control, perceive, and evaluate emotions. In simple words, Emotional Intelligence is the ability to understand, recognize, and manage our own emotions and as well as others.

  • Emotional Intelligence comes under the General Studies-4 of the UPSC Syllabus. And questions are asked in the UPSC exam on this topic every year. That’s why Emotional Intelligence is important in UPSC. 

  • Daniel Goleman, who popularized Emotional Intelligence, talks about five key elements of Emotional Intelligence namely- Self-awareness., Self-regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and Social skills.

  • The three primary models of Emotional Intelligence are- the ability model, mixed model, and trait model. These are the main branches of Emotional Intelligence. 

  • Emotional Intelligence can help an individual to build strong relations, achieve career and personal goals, and succeed in both professional and personal life, additionally, it improves communications skill, and enhance decision-making ability.

  • Emotional Intelligence can be improved by self-evaluating oneself, observing others, improving one’s expressing, analyzing the impact of one’s actions on others, and improving listening skills.

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