Goleman's Emotional Intelligence Performance Model in the Workplace

In the world of work, the competencies that Daniel Goleman integrated into his interesting theory regarding emotional intelligence are increasingly in demand today.
Goleman's Emotional Intelligence Performance Model in the Workplace
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 10 October, 2023

There are many who claim to know what emotional intelligence consists of. These people will often have read more than one book by Daniel Goleman and may have taken numerous courses on the subject.

However, in practice, the correct application of emotional intelligence is still lacking. We see it in our relationships and also in the workplace.

More than thirty years have passed since Goleman and Mayer first mentioned emotional intelligence. But the value, usefulness, and relevance of this theory will never expire.

It’s a valid and widely accepted construct. That said, despite being an approach that correlates with well-being and personal fulfillment, we still haven’t managed to master it.

One example lies in thinking that emotional regulation is equivalent to perfect and complete control over our own emotions. This false belief involves thinking that individuals with emotional intelligence don’t get cross or experience rage or anguish.

Nevertheless, in reality, it’s quite the opposite. Indeed, there’s nothing as natural as experiencing the entire palette of emotions, including the most uncomfortable ones.

Truly intelligent behavior means understanding all internal experiences and not getting carried away by the most adverse states. For this reason, the individual who works effectively in the area of emotional intelligence perfectly masters a series of extremely specific skills.

Those that Daniel Goleman described in his model are especially useful in the organizational field.

We all need to develop our ability to process emotional information and use it to improve our relationships, work toward our goals, and regulate our behavior.

Friends talking in office about Intelligence Performance Model
Good emotional intelligence skills facilitate mental well-being and general satisfaction in life.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Performance Model

Today, there are still occasional debates regarding whether emotional intelligence is really a type of intelligence. One aspect in which all the experts agree is that no one demonstrates truly intelligent behavior if they don’t know how to regulate what they feel. For example, nobody is a true genius if they don’t possess empathy or know how to regulate their frustration.

Given the importance of emotional intelligence, Daniel Goleman has emphasized the importance of structuring it in the workplace. It’s through soft skills that we develop adequate emotional self-awareness which is so essential in the workplace.

Moreover, if we all became empowered in the subdimensions that orchestrate emotional intelligence, we wouldn’t only be more productive, but we’d also be happier.

To this end, Goleman developed the Emotional Intelligence (EI) Performance Model. He developed the theory in his book, Emotional Intelligence (1995). Its purpose is to describe the set of skills that make us competent agents in this ability. They’re as follows:

Emotional intelligence teaches us how to regulate, understand, and connect with our feelings and emotions. We use this information to guide our behavior.

1. Self-awareness

How are you feeling right now? Where does that emotion come from? What’s triggering it? How is it affecting how you think and act? Emotional self-awareness is the ability to connect with your internal states to understand yourself, regulate your behavior, and act in a more adaptive manner.

According to research conducted by the universities of Southern California (USA) and Hamburg (Germany), self-awareness involves recognizing our own existence.

2. Self-regulation

Self-regulation is the cornerstone of emotional intelligence. It means not letting yourself be carried away by what you feel. But, at the same time, it means not repressing your emotions.

Self-regulation implies understanding what you feel in order to employ appropriate strategies and favor balance, adjusted behavior, and the correct response to each situation.

3. Social skills

This component of emotional intelligence concerns interacting well with other people. You need to understand your own emotions in order to communicate and interact with others on a daily basis.

Examples of social skills include active listening, verbal and nonverbal communication skills, leadership skills, and developing rapport.

4. Empathy

In Goleman’s performance model of emotional intelligence, empathy is a cornerstone. However, it’s not enough to simply acquire adequate skills in the art of understanding the feelings and emotions of others. You must go further.

In fact, empathy also implies knowing how to act, respond, and be proactive in the face of the needs of others. The moment you connect with those around you and act to promote their well-being, you shape the true essence of humanity.

5. Internal motivation

Goleman claims that being driven by money or material gain isn’t beneficial. It’s better to be passionate about what you do. It leads you to motivation and clear decision-making. You’re also more likely to experience a state of ‘flow’ by being immersed in an activity.

Empathy favors human connection, as well as the understanding of others. This is the only way to create stronger and happier work groups.

Daniel Goleman popularized the term emotional intelligence in his books and most people aspire to develop it because it’s associated with success. But this isn’t entirely correct. Because the emotionally intelligent person doesn’t necessarily aspire to rise up as a leader or an inspirational model.

With emotional intelligence, you achieve better control, improve your social relationships, and feel more self-confident to achieve your goals. The above five aspects of emotional intelligence are the best starting point for psychological well-being in the workplace.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Barchard, K. A. (2003). Does emotional intelligence assist in the prediction of academic success? Educational and Psychological Measurement63(5), 840-858.
  • Brackett, M., Mayer, J. D., & Warner, R. M. (2004). Emotional intelligence and the prediction of behavior. Personality and Individual Differences, 36, 1387-1402.
  • Davies, M., Stankov, L., & Roberts, R. D. (1998). Emotional intelligence: In search of an elusive construct. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(4), 989-1015.
  • Goleman, Daniel (1997) La importancia de la Inteligencia Emocional en la empresa. CONECTA
  • Mayer, J. D., Caruso, D. R., & Salovey, P. (2016). The ability model of emotional intelligence: Principles and updates. Emotion Review8(4), 290-300.
  • Mayer, J. D., Roberts, R. D., & Barsade, S. G. (2008). Human abilities: Emotional intelligence. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 507-536.
  • Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. R. (2004). Emotional intelligence: Theory, findings and implications. Psychological Inquiry, 15(3), 197-215.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.