Introduction to Knowing Yourself

  • Peter Salovey and John Mayer

Peter Salovey, along with his colleague John Mayer, put forth one of the first formal theories of emotional intelligence in 1990. They coined the term and described it as “the ability to recognize, understand, utilize, and regulate emotions effectively in everyday life” (Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, 2013). It is their work that provoked an explosion of interest in emotional intelligence, both within academic fields and in the general public. Judging by the proliferation of books, studies, and research questions centered on the topic, Salovey and Mayer truly struck a chord with their theory.

According to Salovey and Mayer, there are four distinct dimensions or branches of emotional intelligence that form a hierarchy of emotional skills and abilities:

  • Perceiving emotion
  • Using emotions to facilitate thought
  • Understanding emotions
  • Managing emotions

  • Daniel Goleman

Not long after Salovey and Mayer introduced emotional intelligence to the world, other researchers and psychologists began to run with it. Daniel Goleman was one such psychologist; he published the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence in 1995, which helped introduce it into the mainstream. In the book, and in an influential Harvard Business Review article he wrote in 1998 (, Goleman identifies five domains of emotional intelligence, namely:

  1. Self-awareness – knowing one’s

strengths, weaknesses, drives, values, and impact on others

  1. Self-regulation – controlling or redirecting disruptive impulses and moods
  2. Motivation – relishing achievement for its

own sake

  1. Empathy – understanding other people’s

emotional makeup

  1. Social skill – building rapport with others

In subsequent writings and talks,, Goleman has reduced the domains to four, namely

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Self-management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationship Management

According to Daniel Goleman and Richard E. Boyatzis: Emotional Intelligence Has 12 Elements. Which Do You Need to Work On? Harvard Business Review. February 06, 2017

  • Travis Bradberry and Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Following the groundbreaking book by Goleman, author Travis Bradberry and his colleague Jean Greaves capitalized on the growing interest and published their own book, Emotional Intelligence 2.0, which outlines a step-by-step program for enhancing it. Bradberry and Greaves propose 66 evidence-backed strategies to build emotional intelligence by teaching self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

In a YouTube video, The Power of Emotional Intelligence, (, Bradberry first defines Emotional Intelligence as “Your ability to recognize and understand emotions, and your skill at using this awareness to manage yourself and your relationships with others”.

According to the authors, there are four essential emotional intelligence (EQ) skills that anyone can learn (

These skills fall into two major categories: Personal Competence and Social Competence.

Personal Competence

  • Self-Awareness
  • Self-Management
  • Social Competence
  • Social Awareness
  • Relationship Management

The authors begin with a short description of how we perceive and react to what we perceive. They note that bodily sensations enter through the spinal cord and are processed by the primitive portion of the brain known as the limbic system. The limbic system is largely responsible for the processing of emotions and feelings. From the limbic system the nerve impulses travel to the cortex where we make rational decisions. The trouble is, we’ve already experienced an emotion and perhaps made some kind of quick judgment at the limbic area before we apply rational thought to the event.

    1. They aren’t afraid of change. They understand it’s a fact of life, and they’re quick to adapt;
    2. They’re self-aware. They know what they’re good at, what they can work on, and what kinds of environments suit them best;
    3. They’re empathetic. They can easily relate to others and understand what they are going through;
    4. They’re not perfectionists: committed to quality but understand that perfection is an impossible standard;
    5. They’re balanced and able to have a healthy professional and personal life;
    6. They’re curious and open-minded, and they love to explore the possibilities;
  • They’re gracious, grateful, and happy.

Emotional intelligence isn’t something that you either have or don’t. Everyone has emotional intelligence to some degree, and happily, if you feel that you could use some work, it’s something that can be cultivated and developed further in each and every one of us. By cultivating and developing the characteristics listed below, you’ll see great improvement in your emotional intelligence, and you may just experience an improved quality of life, too.

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Self-awareness
  3. Good listening Skills
  4. The ability to adapt
  5. They keep learning and growing
  6. Gratitude.

Six Popular Books on Emotional Intelligence:

According to this article, Goleman notes thatThere are six basic styles of leadership; each makes use of the key components of emotional intelligence in different combinations. The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership – they’re skilled at several, and have the flexibility

to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.”

The six leadership styles are as follows:

  1. The coercive style

This “Do what I say” approach can be very effective in a turnaround situation, a natural disaster, or when working with problem employees. But in most situations, coercive leadership inhibits the organization’s flexibility and dampens employees’ motivation.

  1. The authoritative style 

An authoritative leader takes a “Come with me” approach: she states the overall goal but gives people the freedom to choose their own means of achieving it. This style works especially well

when a business is adrift. It is less effective when the leader is working with a team of experts who are more experienced than he is.

  1. The affiliative style

The hallmark of the affiliative leader is a “People come first” attitude. This style is particularly useful for building team harmony or increasing morale. But its exclusive focus on praise can allow poor performance to go uncorrected. Also, affiliative leaders rarely offer advice, which often leaves employees in a quandary.

  1. The democratic style

This style’s impact on organizational climate is not as high as you might imagine. By giving workers a voice in decisions, democratic leaders build organizational flexibility and responsibility and help generate fresh ideas. But sometimes the price is endless meetings and confused employees who feel leaderless.

  1. The pacesetting style

A leader who sets high performance standards and exemplifies them himself has a very positive impact on employees who are self-motivated and highly competent. But other employees tend to feel overwhelmed by such a leader’s demands for excellence – and to resent his tendency to take over a situation.

  1. The coaching style

This style focuses more on personal development than on immediate work-related tasks. It works well when employees are already aware of their weaknesses and want to improve, but not when they are resistant to changing their ways. The more styles a leader has mastered, the better. In particular, being able to switch among the authoritative, affiliative, democratic, and coaching styles as conditions dictate creates the best organizational climate and optimizes business performance.

  • Increasing the ‘meaning quotient’ of workby Susie Cranston and Scott Keller; McKinsey Quarterly. January 1, 2013.

The mental state that gives rise to great performance—in sports, business, or the arts -has been described in different ways. The psychologist Mihàly Csìkszentmihàlyi studied thousands of subjects, from sculptors to factory workers, and asked them to record their feelings at intervals throughout the working day. Csìkszentmihàlyi came up with a concept we consider helpful. He observed that people fully employing their core capabilities to meet a goal or challenge created what he called “flow.” More important, he found that individuals who frequently experienced it were more productive and derived greater satisfaction from their work than those who didn’t. They set goals for themselves to increase their capabilities, thereby tapping into a seemingly limitless well of energy. And they expressed a willingness to repeat those activities in which they achieved flow even if they were not being paid to do so.



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