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What is emotional intelligence?

If the driving force of intelligence in the twentieth-century business has been IQ, then-in accordance to growing evidence - in the twenty-first century it will be EQ, and related and practical forms of practical and creative intelligence. This "new" intelligence is the heart-level engine that drives human capital and produces the exceptional, creative work required for any company to lead the field amidst the turbulence and confusion of global market changes. In this note, we attempt to understand Emotional Intelligence.

"Emotional Intelligence" refers to the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationship. It describes abilities distinct from, but complementary to academic intelligence, the purely cognitive capacities measured by IQ. Many people who are book-smart but lack EQ end up working for people who have lower IQs than them but who excel in EQ skills.

These two different kinds of intelligence - intellectual and emotional - express the activity of different parts of the brain. The intellect is based on the working of the neocortex, the more recently evolved layers at the top of the brain. The emotional centers are lower in the brain, in the more ancient subcortex; EQ involves these emotional centers at work, in concert with the intellectual centers.

Among the most influential theorists of intelligence to point out the distinction between intellectual and emotional capacities was Howard Garner, a Harvard psychologist, who in 1983 proposed a widely regarded model of "multiple intelligence". His lists seven kinds of intelligence included not just the familiar verbal and maths abilities, but also two "personal" varieties: knowing one's inner world and social adeptness.

A comprehensive theory of EQ was proposed in 1990 by two psychologists, Peter Salovey, at Yale, and John Mayer, now at the University of New Hampshire. Another pioneering model of EQ was proposed in the 1980s by Reuven Bar-On, an Israeli psychologist. In recent years several other theorists have proposed variations on the same idea.

By Daniel Goleman, www.humanlinks.com

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