Understanding Emotional Intelligence with Daniel Goleman

Daniel Goleman offers his model of emotional intelligence and helps us unpack the three levels of emotional intelligence.

My model of emotional intelligence has three levels.

First, there are the neural circuits at play, particularly the dynamic between the prefrontal cortex – the brain’s executive center – and the emotional circuitry, particularly the amygdala which triggers our upsets. These neural highways undergird the four domains – self-awareness, self-management, social awareness (mainly empathy) and relationship management.  And within each of these four domains nest the competencies that make someone highly effective.  A deficit in a given domain, like self-management, means the competencies based on that domain will suffer – it will be difficult to maintain emotional balance, for example, lacking the underlying self-management skills.   

This model reflects the layout of the Emotional and Social Competence Inventory (ESCI-360), which, like this book, has been translated into many languages.  A common method for assessing the strengths and potential areas for development of executives and managers, the ESCI compares one’s own assessment with that of people who know you well and whose opinions you respect – and who rate you anonymously (and so more honestly).

The Scottish poet Robert Burns put it this way:

“Oh! That the gods the gift would give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”

While emotional intelligence has found a secure niche in the working world, my original focus was on education, in the form of what’s now called “social/emotional learning” (or SEL).  This book was in large party an argument for teaching children this human skill set along with standard academic topics like math and reading. The organization that furthers the spread of SEL, does the research showing its effectiveness, and sets best practices is the Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning, which I co-founded in 1994, the year before the publication of this book. CASEL celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019.  

Daniel Goleman continues his exploration of emotional intelligence on Ep. 366 of the MIndrolling Podcast 

CASEL’s five principles incorporate all of my EI domains: self-awareness, self-management, empathy, and social skill.  To these four basic human skills the CASEL framework adds a fifth, sound decision-making, a byproduct of having a mind that is calm, clear, tuned in and connected. That capacity allows a teen, for example, who feels pressured by his friends to take drugs to tell them “No,” and still keep them as friends.  Students tend to love their SEL classes, if only because they help them navigate through such travails and melodramas of childhood and adolescence.

Daniel Goleman offers his model of emotional intelligence and helps us unpack the three levels of emotional intelligence.

What will the next 25 years bring for Emotional Intelligence?  Perhaps surprisingly, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace seems to bode well for emotional intelligence (EI). As AI gains momentum and replaces people in jobs at every level, predictions are, there will be a premium placed on people who have high ability in EI.  

Excerpted from Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Copyright © 2020 by Daniel Goleman. Excerpted by permission of Bantam. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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