Term Paper: Leadership and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

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Leadership and Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence within the Workplace

Several definitions have been used by specialists in order to create a clear and specific view on what is thought to be Emotional Intelligence. Most definitions are similar, with slight differences regarding certain aspects. The common thing for all definitions is that Emotional Intelligence is considered to be the ability to reason about emotions, to recognize the meaning of emotions and the relationships that take place between them, and also the capacity to perceive, assimilate, understand, and manage emotions (Mayer, 1999).

Emotional Intelligence (EI) is consisted of five characteristics and abilities: self-awareness, mood management, self-motivation, empathy, and managing relationships. Emotional Intelligence is strongly correlated with all other abilities. These abilities can be affected by Emotional Intelligence either in a positive or a negative manner, in accordance with how well the relationship between these abilities is managed (Goleman, 1998). Also, EI refers to two different aspects: understanding oneself, with everything this aspect encompasses, on the one hand, and understanding others, on the other hand.

For a while now, it is a known fact that EI matters a great deal in the workplace, no matter the nature of one's work. EI is now associated with other major skills that weigh a lot in succeeding in one's field of work. In certain areas, people with high EIQ are considered to be more successful than people with high IQ, but with lower EIQ. Both theoreticians and practitioners agree that "successful organizations in the future will be those that grow their people with outstanding EQ. The future will belong to those who have excellent relationship skills. Human capital will then truly leverage corporate performance through people, pride, and profits" (Rock, 2006).

In his paper "The Business Case for Emotional Intelligence" Cary Cherniss, Ph.D. At Rutgers University has presented a series of cases where EI is of extreme importance at the workplace, significantly influencing the work environment and its outcomes. Some of these examples are:

The most successful U.S. Air Force recruiters selected by using EIQ were those who scored significantly higher in competencies like assertiveness, empathy, happiness, and emotional self-awareness

An analysis conducted on more than 300 top managers working in 15 global companies revealed that the following emotional competencies distinguished stars from the average: influence, team leadership, organizational awareness, self-confidence, achievement drive, and leadership

In a national insurance company, insurance sales agents with poor emotional skills sold only half of what insurance sales agents with strong emotional competencies sold research conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership has revealed that the primary causes of executives derailment are involve emotional competence deficits

Emotional Intelligence is considered to be a competitive advantage as leadership is concerned. In certain situation, EI has become a sine qua non-condition for managing people. Unlike traditional leadership models that were based on military and autocratic characteristics, nowadays' leadership model is based more and more on EI skills. One of the reasons responsible for this change is the fact that the autocratic leadership style is not accepted by the workforce anymore. The current evolutions in the world have developed workforce's sense and need of democracy and independence, determining leadership to develop in a similar manner. Other than this, compared to previous eras, nowadays' workforce's options and choices have considerably multiplied, determining new styles of leadership to develop (Childs, 2004).

Most specialists agree upon the fact that leaders must now meet new and tough demands, like: consultation and involvement, autonomy and freedom, opportunities for growth, challenge, and glory, inclusion and team spirit. The same specialists consider that it is very difficult for an individual to meet all these demands. Other than self-report questionnaires, EI can be measured by experiential exercises and 360 feedback processes, which can be more pertinent.

However, EI should not be the attribute of leaders only, as it should be promoted among all the members of the work environment. The four steps needed for promoting and implementing EI among the workforce by leaders are presented bellow:

Paving the way

Doing the work of change

Encouraging transfer and maintenance of change

Evaluating change

The first step, paving the way, starts with analyzing the organization's needs. In other words, for any particular type of job the most important competencies for effectively performing that job must be determined. Using a valid method is recommended. These competencies must be in complete accordance with the organization's general direction and strategy (Chapman, 2006). Assessing the individual is the next thing to do. This step is followed by delivering assessments on the individual's strengths and weaknesses. This assessment should be performed and delivered accurately and clearly. Then, learner choice must be maximized. The participation in the development process should be left at the individual's choice. However, people should be encouraged to participate, by implementing suitable strategies and policies. Learning goals must be connected with personal values. If the individual will not perceive the connection between these aspects, he will be less motivated to participate. Adjusting expectations must be made so that the improvement process will have the expected outcome. Also, the individual's readiness for training must be assessed.

The second step starts with fostering a positive relationship between trainers and learners. Trainers with developed EI skills are more likely to engage learners in the change process. It is important to make change self-directed. Also, clear goals must be set so that learners have a clear image of the competence in cause and everything related to it. These goals must then be divided into manageable steps. In order for the learning process to provide the expected outcome, it is necessary to provide opportunities to practice. Performance feedback is also necessary given the fact that people feel more motivated this way. Other subdivisions of this step include: relying on experiential methods, building in support, using models, enhancing insight, and preventing relapse.

The third step of the process is based on encouraging the use of skills on the job by reinforcing and rewarding learners. This is when coaches and mentors should intervene. The learning process must be supported by a suitable organizational culture.

The fourth step consists in evaluating change. The EI skill that must be developed through this process must be measured before and after the training. Also, periodical follow-ups are recommended.

Emotional Intelligence's contribution to an organization's overall success has been best described by Daniel Goleman when stating that "the evidence suggests that emotionally intelligent leadership is the key to creating a working climate that nurtures employees and encourages them to give their best. That enthusiasm, in turn, pays off in improved business performance" (Goleman, 2004). However, even traditional leadership styles have developed some sort of EI competence: the coercive style is linked to the drive to achieve, initiative, and emotional self-control; the authoritative style is linked to self-confidence, empathy, and change catalyst; the affiliative style is linked to empathy, building bonds, and conflict management; the democratic style is linked to collaboration, team leadership, and communication; the pacesetting style is linked to conscientiousness, drive to achieve, and initiative; the coaching style is linked to developing others, empathy, and emotional self-awareness. It is considered that most effective leaders are those that try to integrate four or more of these styles on a regular basis, since each of these styles is more affective than the others for a particular situation. Further more, "the EI theory of performance at the collective level predicts positive links between EI leadership, organizational climate, and subsequent performance. Hay/McBer data indicate not only that EI-based leadership may be the most important driver of climate but also the climate in turn may account for 20 to 30% of organizational performance (Goleman, 2004).

It has been scientifically proven that the most effective leaders are those who apply more EI competencies in their every day… [END OF PREVIEW]

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