Graphics Version ACVE - Emotional Intelligence: Keeping Your Job


ACVE Publications


Emotional Intelligence: Keeping Your Job

Trends and Issues Alert 9

by Bettina Lankard Brown

PDF Available


This project has been funded at least in part with Federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0013. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government. ERIC/ACVE publications may be freely reproduced.


Emotional well-being is increasingly recognized as a predictor of success in school, family, and work life, bringing it to the attention of educational scholars who are starting to link cognition with emotional intelligence. This Alert reviews the rationale for promoting emotional intelligence as early as elementary school, and describes strategies being used to help students recognize and manage their emotions. It also presents some of the new behaviors that teachers can adopt to model emotional intelligence.

Feelings and Behaviors Are Being Linked to Career Success. Emotional intelligence is distinguished from cognitive intelligence by its focus on feelings and behavior rather than facts and knowledge. It represents a cluster of personal and social competencies that include "self-awareness and self-control, motivation and persistence, empathy, and the ability to form mutually satisfying relationships" (Cherniss 1999, p. 26). It involves the ability to recognize personal feelings and emotions and those of others and to use that information to resolve conflicts, solve problems, and improve interactions with others.

According to Goleman, author of Working with Emotional Intelligence, education has embraced the academic model, which focuses on cognitive learning or knowledge transfer, rather than on the thinking processes that lead to emotional learning (Sternberg 1999). However, the most recent research has shown that emotions, personality, and motivation have much to do with career and life success. In fact, it has been noted that "IQ accounts for only 20 percent of the factors that determine success in life" (Cherniss 1999, p. 26).

Educators are Recognizing the Value of Emotional as well as Cognitive Development. In a workplace where success is dependent upon teamwork, collaboration, and good interpersonal relationships, educators and employers are uniting is their realization that technical and computer-related skills do not drive success. Emotional intelligence, which reflects one's ability to interact with others in a positive manner, is often the final determinant of a business's success. Since emotional intelligence must evolve over a period of time, with continual support, feedback, encouragement, and personal motivation, it is never to early to begin the process. Elementary school as well as adult learners follow the same basic process toward emotional development, e.g., identify feelings, think about reasons for them, and use that information to move forward to a demonstrated behavior. Experience in processing emotions can enrich the formal education of adolescents and the work life of adults.

Emotional learning processes cannot be separated from cognitive ones, for the two work together to effect emotional understanding and facilitate problem solving. The following process, presented by Finegan (1998), reflects an emotional development process that draws upon cognitive skills of thinking, prioritizing, analyzing, and decision making:

  • Emotional intelligence involves the perception, appraisal, expression, and regulation of emotions.
  • Emotional learning facilitates thinking; it involves the use of emotions to prioritize thinking and aid judgment.
  • Emotional knowledge evolves through the analysis of emotions.
  • Intellectual growth is spurred by the reflective regulation of emotions.
  • Emotional intelligence facilitates problem solving by enabling the learner to consider his/her own as well as others' emotional states and pattern behavior accordingly.

Organizations Are Increasing Training for Emotional Intelligence. The Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence <> has conducted numerous studies on the use of emotional intelligence in organizations. It has identified several strategies for training and development in emotional intelligence that differ from cognitive and technical training. These strategies can be used for executive development and management, stress management, conflict resolution, and diversity courses. They involve helping learners to change habits by approaching people positively instead of avoiding them, listening without judging, giving feedback skillfully, and so forth. They are strategies that can be used to motivate learners to pursue training in and development of emotional intelligence (Cherniss and Goleman 1999).

  • Assess the organization's needs to show a correlation between emotional intelligence and the organization's bottom line.
  • Help the learner to assess personal strengths and limits when dealing with emotions, especially negative ones, by seeking input from multiple sources.
  • Provide feedback on assessment of personal strengths and limits in a caring and respectful manner.
  • Link the learning goals to personal values, making them specific so that learners can see how they can improve their emotional processing.
  • Provide multiple opportunities for learners to practice and give frequent feedback on performance.
  • Promote team building along with behavioral change by establishing small groups where learners can support and encourage each other through the change process, and build trusting relationships.
  • Incorporate reflection into the learning process, helping learners to think about how they have applied the skills they are learning, the barriers they have faced, and factors that have facilitated growth.

New Teaching Strategies Reflect the Modeling of Emotional Intelligence. Teachers can facilitate learning by modeling the behavior they expect learners to demonstrate in school and/or on the job. "The behavior of a supervisor or any high status person is crucial for the transfer and maintenance of new emotional and social competencies" (ibid., p. 13). Teaching strategies should address different learning styles and incorporate visual, sensory, auditory, and interactive elements such as role playing, group discussions, and simulations (Laabs 1999). Especially recommended is the use of self-disclosure in which instructors use their own stories to communicate how they dealt with an emotion. Sharing stories that reflect the instructor's self-awareness, motivation, and persistence provides a model of behavior that learners can emulate in their own efforts to form mutually satisfying relationships and become more emotionally intelligent (Cherniss 1998).


Bates, Steve. "Your Emotional Skills Can Make or Break You." Nation's Business 87, no. 4 (April 1999): 17.

Reviews Goleman's book Working with Emotional Intelligence and highlights the following "best practices" for fostering greater emotional competency: assessing the individual, delivering assessment with care, and focusing on manageable goals.

Bushell, Sylvia. "Putting Your Emotions to Work." Journal for Quality and Participation 21, no. 5 (September-October 1998): 49-53.

According to Hendrie Weisinger, emotional intelligence is the degree to which an individual can use his/her emotions, feelings, moods, and those of others to foster effective operations and positive behavior.

Cherniss, Cary. "Social and Emotional Learning for Leaders." Educational Leadership 55, no. 7 (April 1998): 26-28. (EJ 563 897)

Educational leaders must reflect the social competencies promoted by advocates of emotional intelligence. They must be able to forge working relationships with many people, serve as mentors and coaches, and exhibit self confidence and an ability to modulate emotions.

Cherniss, Cary, and Goleman, Daniel. Bringing Emotional Intelligence to the Workplace. Technical Report Issued by the Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations, Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University, 1999.

Discusses the possibility of improving the social and emotional competence of adult workers through training and development programs. Identifies 14 empirically supported models of best practice for developing emotional intelligence in the workplace and offers 22 guidelines for developing emotional intelligence in organizations.

Cooper, Robert K. "Applying Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace." Training & Development 51, no. 12 (December 1997): 31-38. (EJ 555 024)

Identifies three driving forces of competitive advantage: building trusting relationships, increasing energy and effectiveness, and creating the future. Contends that emotional intelligence, not IQ, dictates who will have the most satisfying and successful lives. Lists four cornerstones of emotional intelligence: emotional literacy, emotional fitness, emotional depth, and emotional alchemy.

Dumas, Lynne S. "IQ vs EQ." Parents 73, no. 89 (August 1998): 140-145.

Asserts that emotional intelligence is a greater measure of success than IQ, influencing a child's ability to make friends, recover from adverse situations, and enjoy life.

Farris, Dale. "Working with Emotional Intelligence." Library Journal 124, no. 6 (April 1, 1999): 147.

Identifies the following emotional traits that make up emotional intelligence and that are demonstrated in the corporate world: self-awareness, motivation, self-control, influence, altruism, empathy, and the ability to love and be loved.

Finegan, Jane E. "Measuring Emotional Intelligence: Where We Are Today." Paper presented at the annual meeting of the mid-South Educational Research Association, New Orleans, LA, November 4-6, 1998. (ED 426 087)

A discussion of emotional intelligence is presented using three studies to illustrate the concept and its measurement: (1) a study conduced by J. Mayer, M. DiPaolo, and P. Salovey regarding the emotional content of visual stimuli; (2) a study by P. Salovey and others involving differing abilities for attending to, clarifying, and managing emotions; and (3) a study by J. Mayer and G. Geher regarding the identification of emotions.

Goleman, D. Working with Emotional Intelligence. New York: Bantam, 1998.

Shows that the single most important factor distinguishing star performers in every field is not IQ, advanced degrees, or technical expertise, but the quality Goleman calls emotional intelligence. Provides guidelines for cultivating these capabilities and explains why corporate training must change if it is to be effective.

Johnson, Lynn. "Emotional Intelligence." Executive Excellence 16, no. 8 (August 1999): 10.

Defines emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize and deal with inner feelings and thoughts and to understand one's own impact on others.

Laabs, Jennifer. "Emotional Intelligence at Work." Workforce 78, no. 7 (July 1999): 68-71.

Emotional competence is acquired over an extended period of time. Training and teaching directed to the development of this skill must take the time factor into account and afford guidance and feedback that leads the learner to unlearn old habits of thought, feeling, and action that are deeply ingrained and learn new ones.

Miller, Mike. "Emotional Intelligence Helps Managers Succeed." Credit Union Magazine 65, no. 7 (July 1999): 25-26.

The attributes of a successful manager are correlated with those characterized as reflecting emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Orr, Joel N. "Eat a Toad!" Computer-Aided Engineering 18, no. 4 (April 1999): 74.

Having reasoning skills without regard for emotions can lead to poor decision making. People who cut themselves off from emotions also cut themselves off from the people they are here to serve, or be served by-spouses, children, parents, employers, coworkers, and customers.

Sternberg, Robert J. "Working with Emotional Intelligence." Personnel Psychology 52, no. 3 (Autumn 1999):780-783.

Delivers a critical review of Daniel Goleman's book Working with Emotional Intelligence, pointing out statements that lack substance, assertions that are unsupported with references, and contradictions. However, the value of discourse on emotions, personality, and motivation are applauded.

"The Emotionally Intelligent Worker." The Futurist 33, no. 3 (March 1999): 14.

Contends that those workers tho are best able to deal with their own and their co-worker's feelings stand a better chance of organizational success.

Zigler, Ronald Lee. "The Four Domains of Moral Education: The Contributions of Dewey, Alexander and Goleman to a Comprehensive Taxonomy." Journal of Moral Education 27, no. 1 (March 1998): 19-33.

Investigates the correlation between John Dewey's and F. Matthias Alexander's writing and Daniel Goleman's research and ideas about emotional intelligence. Emphasizes the internal as well as external domain of moral education and development.


ACVE Publications