World renown psychologist, Dan Goleman, rose to fame with the publication of his book “Emotional Intelligence” in 1995. Goleman wrote this international bestseller after working as a journalist for the New York Times for 12 years, reporting on the brain and behavior sciences. During his career at NYT, he stumbled across an article in an academic journal surrounding the concept now known as emotional intelligence (EI), and the idea for his book was born. In his book, Goleman explores the contribution of emotional intelligence to personal and professional success. In addition to his books on EI, he has written books about a wide range of topics, including self-deception, creativity, transparency, meditation, social and emotional learning, eco-literacy, and the ecological crisis.
Before Goleman became a best-selling author, he attended undergrad at Amherst College and UC Berkeley, and graduate school at Harvard. He spent time traveling to India and other regions in Asia during his pre-doctoral years, before returning to work with the New York Times. Goleman is the co-founder of the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) - one of the most well-known research-based organizations for social and emotional learning (SEL). The organization supports the notion that social and emotional skills are key to developing leaders, and should be introduced into the learning curriculum. As co-manager of the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations at Rutgers University, he guides academic researchers to understand the effects of SEL on our daily lives.
The Theory of Emotional Intelligence
Praise for Goleman’s book centers around its idea: emotional intelligence is the main source of our capability and motivation, eventually affecting our success. Goleman’s theory focuses on the connection between emotional intelligence and the workplace.
Goleman states, “For leaders, the first task in management has nothing to do with leading others; step one poses the challenge of knowing and managing oneself.” This is accomplished by analyzing a person’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is comprised of self-awareness, self-regulation, internal motivation, empathy, and social skills. Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions, and how they affect others.
Self-regulation relates to a person’s ability to control impulses and moods. Internal motivation combines a person’s reasons for working, beyond external factors like money and status. Empathy reflects a person’s ability to understand the emotions of others and treat them according to their emotional reactions. Lastly, social skills reflect a person’s ability to interact with others and build relationships.
As emotional intelligence indicates leadership, it would be beneficial to evaluate these skills in the workplace. Performance reviews could be used to determine a person’s complete workplace persona, not just their performance. This approach to performance evaluations could assess not just quality of work, but interpersonal skills, professionalism, and ease of communication; essentially, leadership. Success depends on leadership.
Goleman’s Work and Frameworks
Goleman’s philosophy corresponds high levels of emotional intelligence with the traits of great leaders. For this reason, he is behind the mission of Frameworks. In 2014, Goleman spoke at the Head and Hearts Luncheon about the implications of emotional intelligence. Introducing SEL to the classroom early on will not only help cultivate a new generation of leaders but also ensure that students are learning these life skills. Emotional skills are not only valuable in the workplace, but also on the home front. Trust, empathy, and communication are key to building and maintaining relationships.