Daniel Goleman's five components of emotional intelligence

Emotional Intelligence, as a psychological theory, was developed by Peter Salovey and John Mayer.

"Emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth." - Mayer & Salovey, 1997

The following steps describe the five components of emotional intelligence at work, as developed by Daniel Goleman. Goleman is a science journalist who brought "emotional intelligence" on the bestseller list and has authored a number of books on the subject, including "Emotional Intelligence," "Working With Emotional Intelligence," and, lately, of "Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships."

An article on the relation between Goleman and the psychological research community appeared in Salon, on June 28, 1999.

The Five Components of Emotional Intelligence


  • The ability to recognize and understand personal moods and emotions and drives, as well as their effect on others

Hallmarks* of self-awareness include self-confidence, realistic self-assessment, and a self-deprecating sense of humor.

  • Self-awareness depends on one's ability to monitor one's own emotion state and to correctly identify and name one's emotions.


[*A hallmark is a sure sign: since self-awareness is necessary for, say, realistic self-assessment, that is, without self-awareness no realistic self-assessment, the presence of realistic self-assessment is a sure sign (sufficient to conclude that there is) self-awareness.]


  • The ability to control or redirect disruptive impulses and moods, and the propensity to suspend judgment and to think before acting

Hallmarks include trustworthiness and integrity; comfort with ambiguity; and openness to change

Internal motivation

  • A propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence


Hallmarks include a strong drive to achieve, optimism even in the face of failure, and organizational commitment.


  • The ability to understand the emotional makeup of other people
  • A skill in treating people according to their emotional reactions


Hallmarks include expertise in building and retaining talent, cross-cultural sensitivity, and service to clients and customers. (In an educational context, empathy is often thought to include, or lead to, sympathy, which implies concern, or care or a wish to soften negative emotions or experiences in others.) See also Mirror Neurons.

It is important to note that empathy does not necessarily imply compassion. Empathy can be 'used' for compassionate or cruel behavior. Serial killers who marry and kill many partners in a row tend to have great emphatic skills!

Social skills

  • Proficiency in managing relationships and building networks, and an ability to find common ground and build rapport

Hallmarks of social skills include effectiveness in leading change, persuasiveness, and expertise building and leading teams.