Family Life Month Packet 2001
Family and Consumer Sciences
Human Development and Family Science
Emotional Intelligence … What Is It?
Nancy K. Recker, M.A., Family and Consumer Sciences Agent, Allen County,
Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, The Ohio State University
For many years, it was thought that a person’s
Emotional, or social intelligence, involves at
intelligence (IQ or intelligence quotient) deter-
least five types of skills:
mined how people succeeded in life. Schools
• Self-awareness is a person’s ability to under-
used IQ tests to choose children for gifted pro-
stand and be aware of their feelings and
grams and some companies even used IQ scores
moods. Self-awareness helps a person keep an
when hiring. In the last ten years, researchers
eye on their thoughts and emotions so they
have found that IQ isn’t the only predictor of a
can better understand why they feel a particu-
person’s success. They are now looking at emo-
tional intelligence (EQ) as another determinant
• Managing emotions This skill helps people
of a person’s success in life.
display their emotions in socially appropriate
ways. It helps one control anger, sadness, and
“Emotional intelligence is a different way
of being smart. It includes knowing what
• Motivation helps a person use their emotions
your feelings are and using your feelings
to reach their goals. It helps them hold back
to make good decisions in life. It’s being
their impulses and delay gratification to reach
able to manage distressing moods well and
control impulses. It’s being motivated and
• Empathy is the ability to understand how a
remaining hopeful and optimistic when you
person feels. It is different from feeling sorry
have setbacks in working toward goals. It’s
for someone. It is feeling like “walking in
empathy; knowing what the people around
you are feeling. And it’s social skill—get-
• Social skills are dealing with others in social
ting along well with other people, manag-
situations. It is the ability to carry on a conver-
ing emotions in relationships, being able to
sation and deal with other’s emotions. It is
persuade or lead others,” (O’Neil, 1996,
being socially competent.
Both types of intelligence are important but in
different ways. The IQ contributes about 20% to
Emotional intelligence was popularized in
the factors that determine life accomplishments
1995 when psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote
(O’Neil, 1996). That leaves about 80% for ev-
his book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can
erything else. Research has shown that emotional
Matter More Than IQ.
All educational programs conducted by Ohio State University Extension are available to clientele on a nondiscriminatory basis without regard to
race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation, national origin, gender, age, disability or Vietnam-era veteran status.
Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Ag. Adm. and Director, OSU Extension
TDD No. 800-589-8292 (Ohio only) or 614-292-1868
intelligence can make a difference in life’s suc-
whelmed but used methods that gave the chil-
cesses (O’Neil, 1996). For example, boys in the
dren the experience of mastering something new.
second grade who are impulsive and always get-
By the time these children reached kindergarten
ting into trouble are six to eight times more
age, they weren’t shy. They weren’t the most
likely than other children to be violent in their
outgoing children, but they weren’t the most
teens and commit crimes. Sixth grade girls who
confuse feelings of boredom and anger with hun-
There are some patterns that block the use of a
ger are the ones most likely to have eating disor-
person’s emotional intelligence: fear and worry,
ders when they become teenagers. These chil-
avoiding pain, negative self-image, unrealistic
dren are unaware of how they are feeling and
expectations, and blaming others. When these
what it’s called. So if a person doesn’t have these
blocks occur and emotional intelligence isn’t
skills, he or she can get into trouble, especially
used, people end up acting in unsuccessful ways.
as a child transitions into adulthood. If a person
The goal is to be more informed about emotions
does have these abilities or emotional intelli-
and let them help overcome obstacles in life.
gence, they can help one throughout life. These
Much information has been written on the
abilities affect everything from success in mar-
subject of emotional intelligence and sometimes
riage to how well one does on the job. Emotional
sorting out the information can be confusing.
skills also help a person academically. Such
The first step to increasing emotional intelli-
skills as delaying satisfaction or enjoyment when
gence is self-awareness. What are your feelings
searching for long-term goals are helpful to chil-
and why are you feeling that way? Although this
dren academically (O’Neil, 1996). Children who
can be very difficult for some, once a person
can stick with tasks and finish homework or as-
begins to understand himself or herself, he or she
signments do much better later in life than those
can begin to develop other emotional skills,
children who are easily distracted and go off to
which leads to more emotional intelligence.
do something else.
Emotional Intelligence is
Feldman, L. (1999). Emotionally intelligent
leadership. Falls Church: Daniel Feldman.
Although children are born with different tem-
Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence.
peraments, or how they approach things—social,
New York, NY: Bantam Books.
laid back, intense, shy, etc., EQ helps parents and
Kuther, T. (2000). Emotional intelligence.
teachers work with these qualities so children
Themestream. Retrieved March 6, 2001 from
can better cope in the world. For example, in-
the World Wide Web:
stead of protecting shy children from the world
and catering to them, parents encouraged their
young children to participate in challenging situ-
O’Neil, J. (1996). On emotional intelligence: a
ations (meeting new kids, going to new places).
conversation with Daniel Goleman. Educa-
They encouraged in ways that kids weren’t over-
tional Leadership, 54 (1), 6-11.
“Emotional intelligence is a different way of being smart.”