This article deals with ‘Emotional Intelligence.’ This is part of our series on ‘Ethics’. For more articles on Ethics, you can click here.
What are Emotions?
- Emotions are feelings inside the person. They influence person’s reaction to events and direct his/her attention to important events .
- They are biologically given and a result of evolution because they provided good solutions to ancient and recurring problems that faced our ancestors. Therefore, they are the essential constitute of human mind.
- There are 8 Basic Emotions
All other emotions are combination of these emotions . For example: Happiness and Anticipation together results in Excitement.
- Emotions have positive side as
well as negative side
- Negative : Emotions during stage performance can result in “Stage Fright”. On the other hand, emotions such as hate can damage the relationships.
- Positive : Emotions are important for survival. Humans live i groups due to the emotional bonds of love and care.
- Anyone can become angry —that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way —this is not easy. (Aristotle)
- When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with the creatures of emotion. (Dale Carnegie)
- Give me that man that is not passion’s slave, and I will wear him In my heart’s core. (Hamlet to his friend Horatio)
What is Emotional Intelligence (EI)?
- According to Goleman, EI is the capacity to recognize our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotions well in ourselves and our relationships . (If asked in exam what is Emotional Intelligence, write this definition)
- Emotional Intelligence consist of two words
- Emotions: Discussed above
- Intelligence: Information processing ability of an individual
- Hence, Emotional Intelligence is ability to reason with emotions and use emotions in the reason
- Reason with Emotions: Try to find the cause of emotion that is generated.
- Use Emotions in Reasoning : Use emotions to facilitate thinking . Common perception is emotions block the ability of man to reason but person must use emotions to reason in better way.
- EI can be seen as head working with heart . It is unique intersection of both without overpowering other.
- In earlier philosophies, emotions were seen negatively and opposite to reason . It was advised to suppress or get rid of them to enjoy the fruits of life. But now emotions are seen in different way. We have come to realise that , emotions are here to stay & we cant get rid of them . Hence, it is better to manage our emotions .
- It involves
- Identify & access (understand) your emotions
- Manage your emotions
- Identify & access (understand) other’s emotions (like your wife or team member’s emotions)
- Manage their emotions
Hence, it involves not only managing your emotions but emotions of other’s as well.
History of Emotional Intelligence
|300 BC||Aristotle was first to talk about this when he said, “Anyone can become angry —that is easy. But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right time, for the right purpose, and in the right way —this is not easy.”|
|1989||John Mayer and Peter Salovey talked about Emotional Intelligence and gave their Ability Model.|
|1995||Daniel Goleman popularised the term Emotional Intelligence for the workplaces.|
|2013||UPSC introduced Ethics in the Mains exam and Emotional Intelligence was part of this.|
Domains of EI given by Daniel Goleman
1 . Self-Awareness
- Self-awareness means recognizing your own emotions and ability to hear your inner voice
- It is critical for psychological insight, self-understanding, and self-acceptance.
- People who are certain about their emotions are more adept at managing their lives and having a more certain sense of their true feelings about various decisions: what job to take, what relationships to invest their time in, what activities to undertake, and what goals to set.
- Aristotle has also said that Self Awareness is the beginning of all wisdom.
- Through self-awareness, you come to know your emotions. Now you can regulate & manage ones own emotions which comes under self management.
- This means soothing ourselves, and controlling anxiety, depression or anger. People who fail in this ability are more prone to feelings of distress & depression.
- Mastering the management of our emotions allows us to recover quicker from setbacks, upsets, and failures, and to move on towards our goals.
3. Social Awareness
- Try to know about emotions of others (and hence coming to situation that those can be channelised and used in next stage).
- It includes Empathy ie our ability to feel what others feel, to understand what others have to say, and to get attuned to subtle social signals about what others need or want. This is a must-have ability for everyone in the caring professions, in education, sales or management.
4. Social Management
- It means managing the emotions of others.
- It comes under Relationship Management.
- This is the task of leadership, popularity, and interpersonal effectiveness. It involves guiding them and channelising their emotions constructively.
- Person with high emotional intelligence becomes a force multiplier, he can extract max work out of the team members – he knows how to motivate people. Gandhi became good leader because he had high EI.
person who can manage emotions of others will be affective in following
- Developing Others
- Change Catalyst
- Conflict Management
- Building Bonds
- Teamwork and Collaboration
The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature . Those who have high ability have high EI.
EI is calculated on basis of Four Abilities wrt Emotions
1 . Perceiving Emotions
- The ability to detect emotions in faces , pictures & cultural artefacts including the ability to identify one’s own emotions.
- All individuals have different ability to perceive emotions.
- Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of EI as without it any further action in this regard is not possible.
2 . Understanding Emotions
- The emotions that we perceive can carry wide variety of meanings. The observer must try to interpret cause of that emotion. One having more ability in this regard can interpret correctly the cause of emotion & vice versa.
- If someone is expressing angry emotion, the observer must interpret the cause of their anger & what it might mean.
- For example: if your boss is angry, it might mean that he is dissatisfied with your work or it could be because he got a speeding ticket or he might be fighting with his wife. One having high EI will have high ability to understand what is the cause.
3. Managing Emotions
- Emotional intelligence involves an ability to manage our own emotions and those of others.
- People who are emotionally intelligent have an ability to amplify or restrain emotions, depending on the situation.
4. Using Emotions in thought
In thought process, persons use Emotions to enhance thinking, decision-making, channelizing emotions for constructive purpose, like making appropriate decision or solving some problem.
Indian Philosophical Thought and Emotional Intelligence
Indian philosophical thought also speaks about Emotional Intelligence. Bhagavad Gita refers to the emotionally intelligent person as a ‘Sthithapragnya’ (the emotionally stable person). A ‘Sthithapragnya’, according to Lord Krishna is one who remains unperturbed in the face of calamity, and takes good or evil with equanimity. He has the power to emotionally attach or detach from any situation, at his will.
Side Topic: Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence Quotient (IQ) Measurement
- It is ratio of person’s mental
age to chronological age
- Above Average Intelligence = Mental Age > Chronological Age
- Below Average Intelligence = Mental Age < Chronological Age
- Average Intelligence = Mental Age = Chronological Age
- Formula to calculate IQ = Mental Age / Chronological Age X 100
- 10 year old child who does as well as Average 10 year child has IQ of 100
- 8 Year old child who does as good as 10 year child has IQ of 125
- IQ > 130 = Genius
- IQ < 70 = Mentally Retarded.
IQ vs EQ
|General Intelligence||Emotional Intelligence|
|Concentrates on memory, learning , puzzle solving, reasoning||Concentrates on emotional aspects like Intuition, Conscience, Perception, Intention etc|
|Aim is to increase mental power||Aim is to ensure increased influence of individual on group|
|Its presence increases the possibility of success in professional life||Its presence ensures success in professional life as well as personal life|
|No relation with morality||Its application can be seen at the level of moral development|
What is more important- EQ or IQ?
- EQ is believed to be a better indicator of success at the workplace. People with high EQ usually make great leaders and team players because of their ability to understand, empathise, and connect with the people around them. David Goleman in his book ‘Emotional Intelligence: Why EI matters more than IQ’ has concluded that “The success of a person depends more on EI i.e. ability of person to manage emotions than IQ i.e. cognitive ability.” According to Goleman, success at workplace is about 80% or more dependent on EQ and about 20% or less dependent upon IQ.
- As a result, many persons, high on IQ, may not be successful in life, while contrary to this, most successful people are high on EQ.
- Intellectual intelligence (IQ) isn’t enough on its own to be successful in life. Ones IQ can get him into college, but it’s the Emotional Intelligence that manages the stress and emotions when facing final exams or during an interview. EQ, on the other hand, is the ability to effectively use IQ and all other potentialities that an individual possesses to the greatest advantage.
- Nobel Prize winning psychologist, Daniel Kahneman, found that people would rather do business with a person they like and trust rather than someone they don’t, even if the likeable person is offering a lower quality product or service at a higher price. Hence, instead of exclusively focusing on conventional intelligence quotient, one should make an investment in strengthening his/her EQ (Emotional Intelligence).
Attributes of Emotionally Intelligent Person
According to Goleman, Emotionally Intelligent person has following characteristics
- Self Awareness means knowledge about oneself ie one’s strength and weakness.
- Benefit : Person will set realistic goals and hence chances of goal accomplishment will be higher. Hence, they have history of positive goal discrepancy.
- Such people have high stress management skills and can recover from setbacks rapidly.
- Because of self motivation, sustained action is possible.
- They are able to produce measured response to the emotionally surcharged events . This becomes possible because they don’t allow themselves to become prisoners of their own feelings.
- Understand the perspective of others and feel the things like others do.
- Empathy can be further categorised into three types
- cognitive empathy—the ability to understand another person’s perspective;
- emotional empathy—the ability to feel what someone else feels;
- empathic concern—the ability to sense what another person needs from you.
Better handling of relationships or social skills
- The social skills that enables the individual to manage relationship effectively includes Tolerance, Patience, Tactfulness , Good social memory, sense of humour and high sense of self-efficacy.
- Person having high EI has the ability to enrol people in his vision.
- Person having high EI has the ability to convert challenges into opportunities and create win-win situation for all stakeholders.
- It is believed that creativity is facilitated by the positive emotions. On the other hand, EI enables one to manage their stress levels, and be optimistic in the face of adversities.
Applications of EI : Why to develop EI?
To become good leader
- It was Daniel Goleman who established the link between EQ and leadership. In leader-follower relationships, the leader is an “emotional guide” who navigates the course of uncertainty, threat, clarity, assurance and work. It is also the fundamental task of leaders to create resonance; resonance being “a reservoir of positivity that frees the best in people”.
- Leadership is intrinsically an emotional process in which leader recognise follower’s emotional state , attempt to evoke emotions in followers and then seek to manage follower’s emotional state accordingly . Person with high emotional intelligence becomes a force multiplier, he can extract max work out of the team members – he knows how to motivate people. Gandhi became good leader because he had high EI. He know how to inspire people, how to rally them for freedom struggle , how people will react etc
To build better Relationships & become more acceptable
- Intelligence Quotient (IQ) will help person to work better because person will have more skills but EQ will help person to have better relationships. If you have high emotional intelligence, you can recognise your own emotional state and emotional state of others and engage people in a way that draws them near you. It will help person to be accepted by public .
Channelize own emotions constructively
Since Emotions are here to stay so one cant get rid of them but one can channelize his/her emotions in constructive way. Unregulated emotions damage your mental and physical health.
- Depressed person may become suicidal
- Aggressive person may become insomniac.
- Unregulated Emotions leads to clouded judgements.
- Whether you are dealing with trading partner , competitor , customer or colleague , being able to empathise (put yourself in other’s shoe or thinking from other’s perspective) can be used to arrive at finding win-win solutions.
Emerge from setbacks and depressions easily
- Improve your performance and help to pass through depressions & setbacks easily. Emotional Intelligence can be used for internal motivation which can reduce procrastination , increase self-confidence and improve our ability to focus on goals. Along with that, it helps the person in leading a healthy life as accumulated and persistent stress leads to the various cardiovascular diseases.
Become more employable
- U.S. Department of Labor conducted a survey which looked at what employers were looking for in entry level positions. The results showed that the list was dominated by emotional intelligence factors.
- Emotional intelligent people can understand other outrage or outburst thus avoid violent conflict and preventing communal issue.
Use in Governance and Administration
- Dealt below
Emotional Intelligence used by famous personalities
- Gandhi became good leader because he had high EI. He know how to inspire people, how to rally them for freedom struggle , how people will react, how to select symbols that will resonate with the common public etc.
Jawahar Lal Nehru
- During the seventeen years he was the Prime Minister, Nehru strode the Indian political stage like a colossus. But he never imposed his political will and always had an ear for what others had to say. Though not in favour of linguistic states, he adhered to popular wishes. He did not choose chief-ministers but allowed the party organisation at the state-levels to elect their leaders.
Martin Luther King
- Some of the greatest moments in human history were fuelled by emotional intelligence. When Martin Luther King, Jr. presented his dream, he chose language that would stir the hearts of his audience. He promised that a land “sweltering with the heat of oppression” could be “transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.” Delivering this electrifying message required emotional intelligence—the ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions. Martin Luther King demonstrated remarkable skill in managing his own emotions and in sparking emotions that moved his audience to action. King delivered “a perfectly balanced outcry of reason and emotion, of anger and hope. His tone of pained indignation matched that note for note.”
Experiments regarding Emotional Intelligence
Experiment 1: Marshmallow Experiment
- Experiment was conducted on 1,037 children who were born in single year of 1970s in Dunedin town of New Zealand.
- To know about the will power and ability to control the emotions of these children, psychologist Walter Mischel performed Marshmallow Test on them. He gave them choice between eating one marshmallow right away and getting two by waiting 15 minutes.
- Only 1/3rd of the children were able to resist for 15 minutes while 2/3rd took single marshmallow right away. Years later, when the children in the Dunedin study were in their 30s and all but 4% of them had been tracked down again, the researchers found that those who’d had the cognitive control to resist the marshmallow longest were significantly healthier, more successful financially, and more law-abiding than the ones who’d been unable to hold out at all.
EI in Governance & Administration
All Governance is people governance and all service is public service . Relationships are the DNA of governance. If the public functionaries fail to develop trusting relationships with other people , there can be no governance.
- Guided by Max Weber’s idea on bureaucracy, it had been assumed that effectiveness and efficiency would be harmed if human emotions influence the rational actions of public administrators. Therefore , impersonality and de-humanisation were regarded as the specific virtues of bureaucracy because it was believed that they would remove the danger of irrational behaviour by individual bureaucrats and the organization as a whole.
- Likewise, FW Taylor’s Scientific Management Approach modelled on the idea of time and motion waste was primarily concerned with maximizing output and efficiency. Worker’s emotional issues like boredom, disaffection, frustration etc were dismissed as negligible terms.
Weber’s and Taylor’s ideas were substantial to the bureaucratic management for most of the last century.
However, in the second half of last century, the notion that the government and administrative processes might be improved by looking at the emotional content in the relational work rather than focussing solely on rationality and science came more and more to the forefront. One of the most prominent contributor in this direction was Elton Mayo who for the first time recognized that the formal organizational properties don’t satisfy the needs of the individuals and that the individual form informal groups . Through their Hawthorne studies , Elton Mayo et al. demonstrated that the most significant factor affecting organizational productivity was the inter-personal relationships developed on the job and not the pay and working conditions. Mayo saw the development of informal groups as an indictment of the society that treated human beings as insensitive machines and were concerned with only economic self interest. Mayo’s work resulted in human-relation movement in industry and it’s impact was felt in working of government and administrative machinery.
Mayo’s work was followed by the works of Mayer, Salovey and Goleman and their efforts resulted in the development of understanding that governance encompasses developing trusting relationships between the government and citizens . Hence, concept of Emotional Intelligence has become very valid .
It is increasingly being recognized that public functionaries must know how to deal with circumstances that include emotions. Administrative success and failure today is not based on technical proficiency alone but more so upon how effectively can Public Functionaries display their Emotional Intelligence skills to manage interactions with the people around them and as well as the public effectively.
EI helps Civil Servants to take correct decision in complex situations
- Indian Civil Servant works in
complex situations like
- Scarcity of public resources vis a vis expectations of public.
- Unreasonable demands by different sections of society .
- Political pressure on bureaucrats to deliver.
- Pressure of media to act in public interest and to meet targets timely even when resources arent sufficient.
- Handling of mass protest and riot like situation.
- Management of subordinates.
- Blatant use of ‘transfers’, ‘postings’ and ‘extensions’.
- Public agitation
In these situations person must hold his nerves and control his emotions and shouldn’t lose temperament. This is possible using Emotional Intelligence.
Managing work family conflict
- We have observed that Civil Servants are not able to balance their professional and personal life and even go to extend of committing suicide. EI is the way out in this regard.
Helps administrator to become better leader
- Emotionally intelligent administrator will be a better leader because he has ability to
- Enroll people into his vision (both people and his workforce).
- Understand & empathise with different positions
- It improves social capital. Social capital refers to the bonds of mutual respect and care among the members of the collective . EI allows up for building up of Social Capital with Peers, Media, Citizens, Superiors, Subordinates, General Public and other stakeholders .
Use of EI in Crowd Management
- When person is charged with emotion after particular incident , he will be at the lowest level of his reasoning eg after Riot against particular community, people of that community will get emotionally charged with anger and may try to kill others. At this time , it is the emotion of anger that is driving them and not reason. Civil Servant placed to control at this situation will have to manage the Emotions of Crowd instead of going into reason .
Question : “Emotion can lead to our worst decisions or our best ones: The difference is emotional intelligence.” In light of the given statement, illustrate how emotional intelligence is critical in decision making. How can it help a civil servant in taking prudent decisions?
- Almost from the beginning, the decision-making experts encouraged to make decisions through rational process involving facts and analysis. However, in reality in many instances, the real driver of our actions are our emotions. Many experts and empirical studies warn decision-makers about the perils of making decisions when one is emotionally aroused. Reason for this is, there is inverse relationship between Emotional Arousing and Rational Thinking. If person is more emotionally charged, he will act under emotions ignoring the reason and can do unethical & revengeful acts.
- Hence, best course of action in such situation is to control one’s own emotions and don’t get swayed by them. Civil Servant should be high on EI and should be able to control them so that he can take rational decision.
It can help civil servant in taking prudent decision can be illustrated by following example :
- Take example of law enforcement agencies. When faced with hostile environment, they may commit revengeful acts. If some terrorist has killed members of agency, in anger they can take decision of revenging the death of their colleagues and go to site unprepared without doing home work. This can result in huge collateral damage.
- At the same time, if officer is having high EI, then he can manage his own and his junior’s emotions and at the same time can channelise their anger into inspiration for eliminating terrorism. They can make proper plan , arrest those terrorist and take out information from them to bust their whole organisation
How to develop Emotional Intelligence?
Cognitive intelligence (IQ) does not change with age or experience. However, with EQ, this is not the case. Emotional competencies are learned and can be taught. The mastery of EQ skills evolve over a lifelong growth.
- Emotional quotient is best inculcated from an early age by encouraging qualities like sharing, thinking about others, putting oneself in another person’s shoes, giving individual space and the general principles of cooperation. There are tools like toys and games available to improve emotional quotient, and children who do not do well in social settings are known to perform significantly better after taking SEL (Social and Emotional Learning) classes.
- Using Yoga: Person can take help of exercise such as control over breathing to increase self awareness and self management.
- Person should be open to the inputs from others.
- Make groups where they can freely tell each other what they feel as we can’t know who we are until we hear our self speaking the story of life to whom we trust.
- Emotional literacy: Person should improve his emotional literacy because if person can’t label his emotional state correctly, he can’t manage his emotions.
- Non-verbal communication: Person should learn to interpret non-verbal communication such as facial and body gestures.
- Develop empathy
Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence
- Leaders can use emotionally surcharged speeches to rob the capacity of person to reason and use people to achieve their nefarious goals. For Example: Hitler who used his emotionally surcharged speeches to encourage common germans to attack and kill Jews.
- Person can use Emotional Intelligence to disguise his/her true feelings.
- Person with high EQ can also use his capability to manipulate others.
- In the jobs with low emotional demands, high EQ can prove to be liability rather than asset. Eg: Mechanics, Accountants etc.
But it has to be accepted that people aren’t always using emotional intelligence for nefarious ends. More often than not, emotional skills are simply instrumental tools for goal accomplishment.
Sample Case Study
You are the Officer Incharge of a very important railway junction, which is an artery of trade and commerce. A peasant disturbance has been brewing in your district for the past few weeks. Their discussions with the political and district leadership has borne no fruit and it has come to the stage that now they are protesting by organizing a sit-in on the railway tracks near the station. They have thereby succeeded in blocking movement of all trains. This disruption is causing significant harassment for the passengers waiting at the platform as well.
- What will be your course of immediate action?
- How can emotional intelligence act as a tool in handling this issue?
- What steps will you take so that such incidents are not repeated in the future?
Being an officer in charge of the railway station it is my duty to ensure that the railway operations do not get affected by the ongoing protest. I will make sure that the railway tracks are cleared by using persuasion, warning and all other legal means available. I will also seek help from district administration to ensure that smooth functioning of the critical railway junction is not hampered. Additionally, I will ensure that the passengers face minimum inconvenience by providing timely communication to the passengers about the current situation, ensuring basic amenities like water, medical aid etc. at the station. Safety of the passengers at the station will also be taken care of.
Emotional intelligence is very crucial to handle the above situation.
- Emotional intelligence is helpful in keeping oneself calm and composed. Coordination at many levels – district administration, angry protesters, passengers- in such situation is likely to generate huge mental
- The officer should empathize with the emotions of the crowd and win the trust of angry peasant protesters who are full of doubt. The officer must base arguments on huge economic loss, inconvenience to general public and the legal consequences to convince them for dropping this method of protest and engage in meaningful talks with the political leaders.
- Some passengers may have urgent reasons to travel and the current situation requires that the emotions of passengers showing regret with the current service needs to be understood. The officer must show emotional maturity in dealing with such passengers.
Steps that can be taken to prevent this in future:-
- First, I would ensure that those who are involved in blocking the railway lines get adequately punished. This will dissuade anyone in future to attempt the same.
- Additionally, I will create public awareness about the legal aspects of such actions which will educate the public and will prevent such incidences. While protesting for certain issues is not wrong but the mechanism to be adopted should be peaceful and within legal means. In any case, illegal means of protest like blocking railway lines is not acceptable in a democracy where various avenues of staging dissent are available.
Previous Year Questions
- What is ‘emotional intelligence’ and how can it be developed in people? How does it help an individual in taking ethical decisions? ( 2013 )
- Anger is
a harmful negative
emotion. It is
injurious to both
personal life and work
- Discuss how it leads to negative emotions and undesirable behaviours.
- How can it be managed and controlled? ( 2016 )
- How will you apply emotional intelligence in administrative practices? (2017)
- “Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding. “Mahatma Gandhi ( 2018 )
- Emotional Intelligence is the ability to make your emotions work for you instead of against you”. Do you agree with this view? Discuss. ( 2019)
Previous Year Case Studies
- A private
company is known
for its efficiency, transparency and
employee welfare. The company though
owned by a
private individual has
a cooperative character where employees feel
a sense of
ownership. The company
employs nearly 700
personnel and they have voluntarily decided
not to form
union. One day
suddenly in the
morning, about 40 men
belonging to political party
gate crashed into
the factory demanding jobs
in the factory. They
threatened the management and
employees, and also
used foul language. The employees feel demoralized. It
was clear that
those people who
gate crashed wanted to be
on the payroll
of the company
as well as
continue as the
volunteers/members of the party. The
company maintains high
standards in integrity and
does not extend
favours to civil administration that
also includes law
Such incident occur
in public sector also.
(20 Marks) (250
- Assume you are the CEO of the company. What would you do to diffuse the volatile situation on the date of gate crashing with the violent mob sitting inside the company premises?
- What can be the long term solution to the issue discussed in the case?
- Every solution/action that you suggest will have a negative and a positive impact on you as (CEO), the employees and the performance of the employees. Analyse the consequences of each of your suggested actions.