Emotional Intelligence: History, Definition, Components, EI UPSC

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

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 the human experience is our capability to experience emotions. Without emotions, our existence would be uni-dimensional, and nowhere near to vibrant and rich as it is. As per the research, Emotional Intelligence plays a crucial role in success at a personal and organizational level.

With a growing body of research highlighting its significance, emotional intelligence has become a vital component of personal development, leadership, and overall well-being. This article delves into the history, components of emotional intelligence, exploring its impact on various aspects of life.

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’.

Emotional Intelligence UPSC Notes

John Mayer and Peter Salovey defined Emotional Intelligence as “ The ability to monitor one’s and other’s emotions, to differentiate between different emotions, and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide behaviour 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.

Components of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is comprised of several interconnected components that collectively contribute to one’s ability to understand, manage, and use emotions effectively. The key components of emotional intelligence include:

  • 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

Emotional Intelligence (EI) offers numerous benefits that positively impact various aspects of our lives. Here are some key benefits of developing and cultivating emotional intelligence:

  • 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?

Improving Emotional Intelligence (EI) is a valuable endeavor that can enhance various aspects of our personal and professional lives. 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 actions 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 own 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 and helped during freedom struggle, 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 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 Ethics Syllabus, as it is one of the creative steps to monitor the emotional intelligence of the aspirants. Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in fostering effective leadership, enabling civil servants to navigate intricate bureaucratic systems, build strong relationships.

That’s why UPSC expects candidates to have comprehensive knowledge on this topic. To build a strong understanding of EI candidates can refer to the best UPSC Ethics Books, and notes, and tackle any questions related to this topic.

Emotional Intelligence UPSC Questions

Question: Emotional intelligence refers to: a) Understanding and managing one’s own emotions b) Understanding and managing other people’s emotions c) Both a) and b) d) None of the above

Answer: c) Both a) and b)

Question: The five components of emotional intelligence, as proposed by Daniel Goleman, include: a) Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills b) Self-esteem, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills c) Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, sympathy, and social skills d) Self-esteem, self-regulation, motivation, sympathy, and social skills

Answer: a) Self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills

Question: Emotional intelligence is essential for effective: a) Leadership b) Teamwork c) Decision-making d) All of the above

Answer: d) All of the above

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