The Importance of Emotional Intelligence

In a very real sense we have two minds, one that thinks and one that feels.” –Daniel Goleman

About a year ago, I was asked to collaborate with university faculty and school personnel (e.g., administrators, principals) on the writing of a grant which aimed to promote the development of emotional intelligence in P-20 students. And although I am well aware of the value of supporting efforts to secure external funding, I would be lying if I said that grant writing appeared on my top ten list of work-related activities. In fact, anyone who has spent more than a few minutes with me can can probably guess that I’d much rather devote my time to teaching a class, “coaching” struggling students, or planning fun and interesting lessons–yes, I am one of those weird people who actually enjoys planning lessons.

When asked to collaborate on such a time-consuming proposal, my initial response–though outwardly affirmative–was unimpassioned at best. And while I still don’t enjoy grant writing the way I enjoy teaching, “coaching”, and lesson planning, the countless hours of reading, professional development workshops, and personal reflection required by the grant have made me an unequivocal supporter of emotional intelligence. At this point, I’d gladly go head-to-head (figuratively, of course) with anyone who claimed that success and happiness were achievable in the absence of emotional intelligence–a position that has been refuted by numerous scholars and practitioners in recent years.

In the last two decades, scholars and practitioners have increasingly devoted their time and attention to the study of emotional intelligence, including the competencies that comprise it, and the relationship between emotional intelligence competencies and success in personal, academic, and professional arenas. Through their research, these scholars and practitioners have linked emotional intelligence to increased levels of:

  • Stress tolerance (Chan, 2006; Lopes, Cote, & Salovey, 2006),
  • Emotion regulation, managing one’s emotions (Perry & Ball, 2005),
  • Mental & physical health (Slaski & Cartwright, 2002; Stough et al., 2009),
  • Personal well-being (Brackett, Rivers, & Salovey, 2011; Chang, 2009),
  • Emotional awareness (Perry & Ball, 2005), and
  • Job-related satisfaction (Wong, Wong, & Peng, 2010).

As these findings would suggest,¬†emotional intelligence is integral to one’s success and happiness in personal, academic, and professional endeavors. Given its global relevance and applicability, I have decided to make emotional intelligence the subject of an entire series of posts. In the first set of posts, I will describe the competencies associated with emotional intelligence. In the second set of posts, I will share strategies for promoting the development of emotional intelligence competencies in oneself and others (e.g., children, students).

I hope you will find emotional intelligence to be as important and insightful as I have!






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