ASAP Resources - Emotional Intelligence

Beginning to Understanding Our Emotional Intelligence

Only in recent years has there emerged a scientific model of the emotional mind that explains how so much of what we do can be emotionally driven. How we can be so reasonable at one moment and so irrational the next? Is there the sense in which emotions have their own reasons and their own logic? Perhaps the two best assessments of the emotional mind are offered independently by Professor Paul Ekman, head of the UCSF Human Interaction Laboratory and by Seymour Epstein, a Clinical Psychologist at the University of Massachusetts.

Leading writer on Emotional Intelligence (EI), Daniel Goleman (1995) defines EI "As the capacity for recognizing your own feelings and those of others, and for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships." In his seminal book—Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ, Goleman (1995) discusses the core concepts needed to begin understanding and assessing our emotional intelligence. He discusses the important skill of self-awareness, which includes the two key concepts of personal competence and social competence.

First of all, what is self-awareness? Self awareness involves having an accurate understanding of how you behave; how other people perceive you; recognizing how you respond to others; being sensitive to your feelings; intents and general communication style at any given moment; and being able to accurately disclose this awareness to others. Here are some examples of self-awareness:

  • Know when you are thinking negatively.
  • Know when your "self talk" is helpful.
  • Know when you are becoming defensive.
  • Know how you are interpreting events.
  • Know what senses you are currently using.
  • Know the impact you behavior has on others.

Personal competence 

This involves self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation. Goleman describes each as follows:

  • Self Awareness—Knowing one's internal states, preferences, and intuitions.
  • Self Regulation—Managing one's internal states, impulses, and resources.
  • Motivation—Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals.
  • Social Competence—Having and using empathy and social skills.
  • Empathy—Awareness of others' feelings, needs, and concerns.
  • Social Skills—Adeptness at inducing desirable responses in others.

Suggested readings for more in-depth explorations of Emotional Intelligence:

  • Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
    By Antonio R. Damasio (1994)
  • The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions
    By Paul Ekman and Richard J. Davidson (1994, Ed)
  • Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ
    By Daniel Goleman (1995)
  • Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It; Why People Demand It
    By James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (1993)
  • The Leadership Challenge: How to Keep Getting Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations
    By James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (1993)
  • Successful Intelligence: How Practical and Creative Intelligence Determine Success in Life
    By Robert J. Sternberg (1997)
  • Managing as a Performing Art: New Ideas for a World of Chaotic Change
    By Peter B. Vail (1989)


Academic and Staff Assistance Program (ASAP) offers confidential, cost-free assessment, counseling, consultation and referral services to all UC Davis Health System faculty, staff, and their family members. Whether the problem is work-related, personal, career or relationship focused, ASAP can assist you in evaluating and resolving the problem.

You can call ASAP at 916-734-2727 for an appointment.