The Five Domains of Emotional Intelligence

Wagon wheel

Emotional Intelligence – EQ

Daniel Goleman’s book – Emotional Intelligence: Why it can Matter More than IQ – appeared on the scene in 1995 and took the business community by storm. Behind the scenes many researchers like Peter Salovey, John Mayer, David Caruso, Marc Brackett, Reuven Bar-On, and many others were developing and testing models and theories about emotional intelligence and it’s direct and indirect impact on human and team performance. Salovey and Mayer actually coined the term “emotional intelligence.” The research and application of EQ has matured since it’s introduction in the early 1990’s.

Once you learn more about EQ (what it is and what it isn’t) you will begin to develop a gut instinct that something is relevant in the topic. Concrete empirical data continues to be developed and published. Some data provide strong support for the topic and some data provide either weak or even negative support for the topic.

EQ Models

The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso model centers around four domains:

Perceiving Emotions: The ability to perceive emotions in oneself and others as well as in objects, art, stories, music, and other stimuli.

Facilitating Thought: The ability to generate, use, and feel emotion as necessary to communicate feelings or employ them in other cognitive processes.

Understanding Emotions: The ability to understand emotional information, to understand how emotions combine and progress through relationship transitions, and to appreciate such emotional meanings.

Managing Emotions: The ability to be open to feelings, and to modulate them in oneself and others so as to promote personal understanding and growth.

The Reuven Bar-On model has, at its core, five domains and fifteen sub-scales:


Steven Stein and his colleagues at MHS continue to do great work in refining the Bar-On model and creating an assessment that can help with the development and performance of leaders at all levels of an organization. The addition of the domains relating to Decision Making and Stress Management provide added insight into how EQ can be used in the workplace. The sub-scales related to these two domains are crucial to operating in the always-on business environment we find ourselves in today.

Over the next few blog posts we will dive deeper into each domain, the sub-scales of that domain, and explore how each of these areas impact our work, home, and social environments.