Emotional intelligence (EI) is the area of cognitive ability involving traits and social skills that facilitate interpersonal behavior. Intelligence can be broadly defined as the capacity for goal-oriented adaptive behavior; emotional intelligence focuses on the aspects of intelligence that govern self-knowledge and social adaptation.
The term first appeared in 1985 in Wayne Payne’s doctoral thesis, A study of emotion: Developing emotional intelligence. Payne’s thesis centered on the idea that society’s historical repression of emotion is the source of wide-scale problems such as addiction, depression, illness, religious conflict, violence and war. Daniel Goleman, a psychologist and behavioral science journalist, later popularized the term and developed related concepts in his influential book, Emotional Intelligence (1995). According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace.
Goleman and others have developed the concept of a testable EQ (emotional intelligence quotient) counterpart to the IQ (intelligence quotient). In contrast to the focus on academically-oriented skills, such as mathematical ability, that are evaluated in an IQ test, an EQ test focuses more on the individual’s capacity to deal effectively with others. To that end, it evaluates traits and abilities such as self-awareness and empathy, which are sometimes referred to as soft skills.
– many thanks to WhatIs & TechTarget