In this 3rd (also last) chapter of the leadership history I would like to give a dedicated attention to emotions and to emotional intelligence.

historically seeing, it is a very young topic, and has been recorded any study, definition or reasearch only since the begin of 20th century. As the academic studies of psychology has been improved, where more discussion available around emotions in connection with leadership since 1950s.


The very earliest roots of emotional intelligence (and the only perhaps) can be traced to Darwin’s work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and, second, adaptation.

In the 1900s several influential researchers in the intelligence field of study had begun to recognize the importance of the non-cognitive aspects.

As early as 1920, Thorndike describes the skill of understanding and managing other people as the term social intelligence.

Similarly, in 1940 Wechsler described the influence of non-intellective factors on intelligent behavior, and further argued that our models of intelligence would not be complete until we could adequately describe these factors.

In 1983, Gardner has introduced the idea of multiple intelligence; interpersonal intelligence and intrapersonal intelligence.

  •  interpersonal intelligence – the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people
  •  intrapersonal intelligence – the capacity to understand oneself, to appreciate one’s feelings, fears and motivations

In Gardner’s view, traditional types of intelligence, IQ can’t completely explain cognitive ability or performaned outcomes.

Wayne Payne’s has used first as term in his doctoral thesis A Study of Emotion: Developing  Emotional Intelligence in 1985. However, prior to this, the term “emotional intelligence” had appeared in Leuner (1966). Greenspan (1989) also put forward an EI model, followed by Salovey and Mayer (1990), and Goleman (1995). The distinction between trait emotional intelligence and ability emotional intelligence was introduced in 2000.

Substantial disagreement exists regarding the definition of EI, with respect to both terminology and operationalizations. Currently, there are three main models of EI:

  • Ability EI model
  • Mixed models of EI (usually subsumed under trait EI)
  • Trait EI model

Ability model

Salovey and Mayer’s conception of EI strives to define EI within the confines of the standard criteria for a new intelligence. The ability-based model views emotions as useful sources of information that help one to make sense of and navigate the social environment.

They explain that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to relate emotional processing to a wider cognition. Their model describes four types of abilities:

  1. Perceiving emotions – the ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts—including the ability to identify one’s own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – the ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem solving. The emotionally intelligent person can capitalize fully upon his or her changing moods in order to best fit the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – the ability to comprehend emotion language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, and the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – the ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. Therefore, the emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions, even negative ones, and manage them to achieve intended goals.
English: Managing emotions - Identifying feelings

Image via Wikipedia

Mixed models

The model introduced by  Goleman focuses on EI as a wide array of competencies and skills that drive leadership performance. Goleman’s model outlines four main EI constructs:

  1. Self-awareness – the ability to read one’s emotions and recognize their impact while using gut feelings to guide decisions.
  2. Self-management – involves controlling one’s emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances.
  3. Social awareness – the ability to sense, understand, and react to others’ emotions while comprehending social networks.
  4. Relationship management – the ability to inspire, influence, and develop others while managing conflict.

Goleman includes a set of emotional competences within each construct of EI. Emotional competencies are learned capabilities that must be worked on and can be developed to achieve outstanding performance. Goleman posits that individuals are born with a general emotional intelligence that determines their potential for learning emotional competencies.

Bar-On model of emotional-social intelligence (ESI)

Bar-On defines emotional intelligence as being concerned with effectively understanding oneself and others, relating well to people, and adapting to and coping with the immediate surroundings to be more successful in dealing with environmental demands.EI develops over time and that it can be improved through training, programming, and therapy.

Bar-On hypothesizes that those individuals with higher than average EQs are in general more successful in meeting environmental demands and pressures. He also notes that a deficiency in EI can mean a lack of success and the existence of emotional problems. Problems in coping with one’s environment are thought, by Bar-On, to be especially common among those individuals lacking in the subscales of reality testing, problem solving, stress tolerance, and impulse control.

In general, Bar-On considers emotional intelligence and cognitive intelligence to contribute equally to a person’s general intelligence, which then offers an indication of one’s potential to succeed in life.

Trait EI model

Soviet-born British psychologist Petrides proposed a conceptual distinction between the ability based model and a trait based model of EI and has been developing the latter over many years in numerous scientific publications.

Trait EI is a constellation of emotional self-perceptions located at the lower levels of personality. This definition of EI encompasses behavioral dispositions and self perceived abilities and is measured by self report, as opposed to the ability based model which refers to actual abilities, which have proven highly resistant to scientific measurement. Trait EI should be investigated within a personality framework. An alternative label for the same construct is trait emotional self-efficacy.

The trait EI model is general and subsumes the above other 2 models from Goleman and Bar-On. The conceptualization of EI as a personality trait leads to a construct that lies outside the taxonomy of human cognitive ability. This is an important distinction in as much as it bears directly on the construct and the theories and hypotheses that are formulated about it.

Source: Wikipedia, Darwin, Thorndike, Wechster, Gardner, Payne, Leuner, Greenspan, Salovey, Mayer, Goleman, Bar-On, Petrides