Emotional Intelligence and Organizational Leadership Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

Emotional Intelligence and Effective Leadership


Emotional intelligence can be defined as the ability to appreciate and clarify emotions, as well as to use them to improve and develop thoughts. In management and leadership in the workplace, emotional intelligence is an essential skill that allows one to reason with, and about emotions. Another definition of emotional intelligence is the capability to not only recognize but also fittingly deal with one's individual feelings and also of others. It comprises three skills, generally: The first of these is emotional awareness, which is the capacity to recognize and ascertain one's own emotions and the emotions of people around them. The second skill is described as a person's capability to control their emotions and to channel them productively. This would include using these emotions to come up with solutions to problems. The third skill is the capacity to manage one's feelings, evidenced by their ability to control their emotions and exert a calming influence on others or even cheer them up.

The impact of emotional intelligence on the leadership and management of organizations has been great. Management style has changed fundamentally in the last twenty years. Jobs are now more oriented towards the customer, more knowledge based and emphasize teamwork. Individuals in firms now have largely more independence even at junior management levels. This has led to less arbitrary organizational cultures and a smaller number of management levels. According to Brackett and Salovey (2006), the very nature of such organizations has allowed those with highly developed social skills to be as successful as those who excel academically.

History demonstrates that social or emotional intelligence has been around for some time and is thus not a new concept. With time, it has gained general acceptance as a major constituent of success in the workplace. A manager's role is to achieve organizational objectives using people. Some of these people include the staff under the manager, fellow managers in the firm, suppliers of goods and services as well as the customers. Successful managers need to have a good understanding of emotional intelligence, how well-developed their emotional intelligence is, and how to use it to achieve objectives (Brackett & Salovey, 2006).

Leadership and communication are some of the examples of emotional intelligence concepts. Leadership adopts the motto 'serve to lead' which is portrayed by considering and consciously making the other person more important than you. It is thus a way to communicate. True leadership does not encourage co-dependence but interdependence. It is about working together to achieve the greater good of the business. It is essentially a partnership. This brings out an essential premise that all members of the team can practice and demonstrate leadership. There is little room in this premise for leadership that dictates what people should do. This view of embracing emotional intelligence in leadership injects high energy and power to the team. A balance must be established where excess communication and noise and shouting are discouraged. Yet it is through communication that leadership is expressed, and used to achieve good in the business (Brackett & Salovey, 2006).

Brackett and Salovey (2006) hold the view that the output achieved is more through good communication in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. However low effectiveness and efficiency characterized by arguments, disagreements and power struggles is a clear indicator of bad communication. They go on to emphasize that paying attention to the nature and the type of communication used in an organization is very important.

One feature of emotional intelligence is the emotional quotient is much more related to intelligence quotient. When the psychologists introduced intelligence quotient, attention was directed towards easily measured cognitive aspects such as problem solving and memory. Some researchers during this period were, however, keen to note that non-cognitive traits were also important. During the 1940s, some psychologists were distinguishing between the personal and social factors in intelligence by using terms such as intellective and non-intellective elements of intelligence. McKee, Boyatzis and Johnston (2008) aptly put this forth by proposing that non-intellective abilities were key in predicting ones' ability to succeed at work and in life.

The Concept of Emotional Intelligence compared to Emotional Quotient

IQ is a permanent, inherent, and unalterable characteristic unlike EI which can be molded with training. Some successful achievers display high EI in professions like HR, sales, customer service and health services and so on. Such professions demand individuals that are extrovert, socially adept, courteous, responsible, and having integrity towards individuals and society members. Carrying such emotional values along with professional pressures is not always easy. Quite often, the two requirements might prove hindrance to each other. Lesser equipped ( people with low EI), might absolve themselves of EI qualities and considerations in the face of pressing professional requirements, resulting in inadequate or less than optimum outcomes. To understand the impact and importance of EI, one only needs to look at the facts provided by "malpractice suits"- physicians devoting only a couple of minutes more to evoke emotional responses in patients through positive and encouraging talk, face lesser chances of being charged (Brackett & Salovey, 2006).

Reasons why leaders need emotional intelligence

There are several reasons why leaders need emotional intelligence skills. One of these reasons is participative management in building and mending relationships. Participative leadership is a leadership style which emphasizes the buy-in decision at the beginning of an initiative. In today's management environment where interdependence within and amid groups is encouraged, participative management is seen as an essential relationship-building tool.

Many meaningful correlations are drawn between participative management and emotional intelligence on various benchmarks where skills and perspectives are measured. Therefore those managers who rank high in emotional intelligence that is demonstrated by their listening skills and ability to incorporate the contribution of others in managing change, are considered to be able to easily build relationships, cooperate with their teams, enjoy life more, control their reactions, appreciate their emotions as well as those of others.

Lack of emotional intelligence in the leadership of an organization has adverse effects. This leads to the downfall of the organization due to poor leadership and misunderstanding of the employees and leaders due to poor communication within the organization (McKee, Boyatzis, & Johnston, 2008).

Elements of emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence has got several elements that leaders should cultivate to improve their leadership effectiveness. Some of these are:

Self-Awareness: This is the capacity of the individual to identify and comprehend their moods, emotions and drives and its impact on others.

Self-regulation: This describes the ability to control a person's moods and reactions and redirect these. It is demonstrated by the tendency to put off self judgment and think before taking action.

Motivation: One is driven to work by considerations that are beyond monetary gains and/or status. It is passion that drives individuals. It is also an element or a propensity to pursue goals with energy and persistence (McKee, Boyatzis, & Johnston, 2008).

Recommendations: a strategy that the organization could undertake in order to improve the social skills of leaders

Social awareness is described as the ability of the individual to recognize and understand their emotions and how they affect others, can be seen in a number of competencies. The paper describes 2 competencies and the first of this is the empathetic competence. This is seen as a conscious comprehension of other people's needs, concerns and emotions. A person possessing this competency is able to recognize emotional tensions by perception like looking out for non-verbal cues for example, changes in facial expression and voice tone. Being empathetic highly depends on one's self-awareness. From the understanding of one's own feelings flows the concern and understanding of other's feelings. Therefore when job performance depends on interactions with others, understanding of others feelings is important . In the case of physicians, those who are adept at recognizing emotions in their patients experience more success than those without this skill. McKee, Boyatzis and Johnston (2008) state that the best managers of product development teams naturally have this ability to understand the needs of others. They believe that empathy and effective sales correlate well as found in a study of large and small retailers. This empathy competence helps to avoid stereotyping in a largely diverse workplace by enabling us to read people's emotions and hence avoid creating anxiety in stereotyped individuals leading to performance deficits.

Another key competence in social awareness is the service competence, which speaks of the capacity to recognize a customer's unspoken needs and concerns and then pair them with the correct product or service. This is the distinguishing characteristic of star sales performer over the average ones. This may sometimes require having a long-term view which entails preserving customer relationships rather than going for immediate gains.


Brackett, M. A., & Salovey, P. (2006). Measuring emotional intelligence with the Mayer-Salovery-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Retrieved from: http://www.psicothema.com/pdf/3273.pdf.

McKee, A., Boyatzis, R. E., & Johnston, F. (2008). Becoming a resonant leader: Develop your emotional intelligence,…

Sources Used in Document:


Brackett, M. A., & Salovey, P. (2006). Measuring emotional intelligence with the Mayer-Salovery-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Retrieved from: http://www.psicothema.com/pdf/3273.pdf.

McKee, A., Boyatzis, R. E., & Johnston, F. (2008). Becoming a resonant leader: Develop your emotional intelligence, renew your relationships, sustain your effectiveness. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Pub.

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