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Understanding Emotional Intelligence – The growing prominence of the term ‘emotional intelligence’ means that by now most people have heard of it. However, acknowledging the existence of emotional intelligence and understanding what it really means and why it’s so important are two different things.

It’s time to delve a little deeper into the meaning of emotional intelligence and why recognising its importance in the modern world is vital for society’s progression.

What are the four different emotional intelligences according to Daniel Goleman?

Emotional Intelligence question Click to Flip
Daniel Goleman emotional intelligence


What Is Emotional Intelligence?

The short definition of emotional intelligence is that it’s the ability of a person to be able to identify their emotions and manage them. This also extends to the identification and management of other people’s emotions. It can include understanding emotions, using emotions for specific purposes, and regulating emotions.

One of the most prominent figures in emotional intelligence research, Daniel Goleman, has furthered this definition of emotional intelligence by separating it into four different personal abilities, each of which is a collection of competencies:

  • Self-Awareness – Accurate Self-Assessment, Emotional Awareness, Self-Confidence


  • Self-Management – Adaptability, Achievement, Emotional Self-Control, Initiative, Transparency, Optimism


  • Social Awareness – Empathy, Service Orientation, Organisational Awareness


  • Relationship Management – Teamwork & Collaboration, Conflict Management, Inspirational Leadership, Developing Others, Influence, Change Catalyst


Emotional intelligence is not a fixed state but a personal ability that can change and develop throughout a person’s life. By recognising the importance of emotional intelligence, it can bring many wonderful benefits to society.

Why Is Recognising Emotional Intelligence Important?

The first importance of emotional intelligence is that it’s an essential component of a balanced life. Without which, the ability to understand our emotions and the emotions of others, therefore communication is greatly limited.

Through emotional intelligence, we can understand why we’re feeling a certain emotion, and then either work towards overcoming that emotion or harnessing it. For example, anxiety is a negative emotion that can harm mental health. Being able to manage anxiety through emotional intelligence and handle the emotion could improve mental well being.

By recognising emotional intelligence, we can work towards greater levels of personal emotional intelligence. Which can have a number of exceptional benefits to personal development and development as a society.

The four personal abilities of emotional intelligence that Goleman outlined provide excellent evidence as to how society can benefit from understanding emotional intelligence. The slight variations of competencies published by Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis in 2017, also demonstrate how emotional intelligence can improve society. The 12 elements of emotional intelligence outlined, include:


  • Inspirational Leadership
  • Teamwork
  • Conflict Management
  • Coach and Mentor
  • Influence
  • Organisational Awareness
  • Empathy
  • Positive Outlook
  • Achievement Orientation
  • Adaptability
  • Emotional Self-Control
  • Emotional Self-Awareness


Imagine the healthier, happier society that could be created if people developed their ability to work as a team and be empathetic, positive, adaptive, and inspirational?

9 types of intelligence

9 types of intelligence

Understanding the Multiple Intelligences for a Better Society

When it comes to multiple intelligence, emotional intelligence is only the tip of the iceberg. In 1983, Howard Gardener theorised nine types of intelligence:

  • Naturalist
  • Musical
  • Logical-Mathematical
  • Existential
  • Interpersonal
  • Bodily-Kin-aesthetic
  • Linguistic
  • Intra-Personal
  • Spatial


These areas of intelligence cover everything from coordinating the mind and body and understanding sounds to taking on life’s biggest questions. If understanding emotional intelligence can help to build a better society, then recognising the varied intelligence of the modern world and harnessing them for society’s benefit could change society for the better.



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