Emotional Intelligence Testing

Emotional Intelligence Testing and Debrief

Emotional intelligence, also known as EI or EQ, is one of the most sought after skills in today’s workforce, particularly in leadership. This is likely because some 90% of top performers score high on emotional intelligence, while only 20% of low performers do the same. Other research shows EQ makes up for 58% of professional success, regardless of specific role or industry.

Businesses can use emotional intelligence tests for a wide variety of reasons such as during recruitment, for internal promotions, for learning and development and more.

The History of Emotional Intelligence Testing

The term emotional intelligence derives from the term emotional strength, which was coined by Abraham Maslow in the 1950s. It was Michael Beldoch who first used the term emotional intelligence in one of his papers in 1964.

From here, developmental psychologist Howard Gardner built on this idea in his publication, "Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences". In it, he argued that traditional categories of intelligence, such as IQ, fail to fully examine cognitive ability. Instead, he stated there are multiple categories of intelligence including interpersonal intelligence (the ability to understand the emotions of others) and intrapersonal intelligence (the ability to understand one's own emotions). 

Though the concept existed as far back as this, it wasn't until 1995 that Daniel Goleman popularised the term in his book, "Emotional Intelligence - Why it can matter more than IQ". Since then, several psychologists including Stanley Greenspan and Peter Salovey have both worked on models to define EI.

Defining Emotional Intelligence

Salovey and Mayer define emotional intelligence as "the ability to monitor one's own and other people's emotions". They say those with a high level of emotional intelligence have the following capabilities:

  • To perceive emotions
  • To use emotions
  • To understand emotions
  • To manage emotions

Daniel Goleman's own model is slightly different. His updated model from the Best of Harvard Business Review 1998 focuses on the competencies and skills that drive leadership performance specifically.

He states emotionally intelligent leaders possess:

  • Self-awareness (the ability to know yourself)
  • Self-regulation (the ability to manage yourself)
  • Social skills (the ability to manage relationships)
  • Empathy (the ability to understand others)
  • Motivation (the ability to understand what motivates others)

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