There are many definitions of emotional intelligence from different perspectives. These leaders in the field have a variety of ways of defining EI.
Salovey and Meyer, the founders of EI inform us that it is the skill of understanding emotions. That being able to assimilate feelings in order to make the thought process easier and to comprehend our feelings and to manage them to deliver personal growth is what EI is all about.
The definition of emotional intelligence takes into account the way emotions are used in everyday life to benefit individuals. It also encompasses the fact that emotions can also be detrimental if not managed well.
Six Seconds, a large organization geared towards developing EQ, defines it as the “relationship between yourself and others”.
This definition of emotional intelligence is a great one as it is clear and simple and most everyone can understand it.
However you define EI, research shows that having it is a good thing! Emotional intelligence theory shows people with high EQ are more likely to be happy and productive. They are more confident and have less stress in their lives. In fact, people with good EI generally do better at work and home because they are able to manage their feelings and be self aware. These people are able to feel empathy for others and read others emotions thus preventing conflict.
Research into this area shows that children as young as toddlers can start to develop the skills of EQ. Thus we as parents and educators have a responsibility to ensure children are equipped with these skills and that emotional intelligence training or skill building is as an important part of the curriculum as reading and math.
The good thing about it is that everyone, no matter what their age, has the ability to improve their EQ through exercises and persistence. Training oneself to be emotionally intelligent is a calming and beneficial tool that can aid just about anyone.
Daniel Goleman looks at the different competencies of emotional intelligence and suggests people work on developing those to improve their EQ.
By looking at emotional intelligence theory we can learn to understand more about how to develop EQ in ourselves and our children.