The term Emotional Intelligence (EI) was first coined by Daniel Goleman in 1995 in a book with the same name and referred to a persons ability to be aware of and manage their emotions and the emotions of others (Goleman, 1995, 2004; Cooper, 2010; Mishar & Bangun, 2014, Daniel, 2018). Goleman (2004) indicated that EI consists of five (5) component which include empathy, motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation and social skills. Indeed, having mastered their own emotions, they are equipped with a better understanding of the emotional states of others and are thus more adept at managing interpersonal relationships (Goleman, 1995, 2004; Cooper, 2010, Daniel, 2018).
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In fact, scholars have proffered that Emotional Intelligence is even more important that ones Intelligence Quotient especially in leadership roles and in light of more cultural diversity and the dependence on teamwork in the workplace (Goleman, 2004; Daniel, 2018). Furthermore, an increasing number of research studies have shed light on the matter of emotional intelligence and its correlation to an individuals behaviours, whether by the performance of children at school or employees at a work place.
Rafaila (2015) showed the importance of emotional intelligence among children with children using EI as a tool to solve many issues including activities and interpersonal relationships. From a study on Pakistani university teachers, researchers looked at the link between EI and job performance and were able to show that EI has a significant impact on the teachers job performance (Asrar-ul-Haq, Anwar. & Hassan. 2017). Indeed, teachers with higher EIs were able to communicate more effectively, provide better life skills guidance to their students and had an overall positive attitude that engendered learning (Asrar-ul-Haq, Anwar & Hassan. 2017). Another study looked at the link between emotional intelligence and creative performance on frontline hospitality employees with creativity referring to the ability to be innovative and problem solve in the workplace (Darvishmotevalia., Altinay & De Vitac, 2018). The study showed that employees with higher EIs were able to be more innovative especially with issues requiring cultural intelligence and uncertainty in the work environment (Darvishmotevalia., Altinay & De Vitac, 2018). Even in the area of romance, a meta- analytical study revealed that persons with higher EI reported greater relationship satisfaction (Malouf et al., 2014).
The question now lies, does correlation equate to causation. Now whilst the tried and true answer has always been that correlation does not equal causation, Asher and Asher (1976) proposed a guide whereby in certain circumstances correlation may equate causation. The three criteria outlined included that the variables or phenomena must covey that the relationship must not be spurious and the cause must either occur simultaneously or precede the supposed effect. Indeed, it would seem then that the correlation between increased EI and increased performance in life (work, school and in romantic relationships) does not equate to causation as whilst the relationship is consistent and holds true across many diverse variables or settings, there are examples where EI did not correlate to performance. A good example of this would be the study conducted by Salavera et al. (2017) where higher EI did not correlate to increased creativity. Further, this study may lend assistance to the argument regarding the role of individual differences in behaviour and that EI is not the only factor at play when it comes to individual behaviour. In summary, whilst several studies have shown correlation with emotional intelligence and persons behavour, EI is not the only factor the drives behaviour and thus one must also factor in the role of individual differences.
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