From a scientific standpoint, relationships between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership are examined by reviewing a meta-analysis by Harms and Creed©. Finally, there is a discussion about the implications that emotional intelligence is still not completely established as a scientifically established construct, and an example of the potential for misuse of emotional intelligence is given. One of the hottest topics incorporating psychology in business in recent years has been the application of Emotional Intelligence to the workplace.
In his best- ailing book from 1996, Daniel Coleman brought the concept into popular culture with his publication of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ Subsequently, lots of focus has been put into how skills used for understanding, interpreting, and managing emotions can affect performance in the workplace. This paper will describe some of the implications of the research involving emotional intelligence and leadership, how it can be improved, and some of the potential downfalls associated with giving too much emphasis to this popular construct.
Defining Emotional Intelligence The idea that human intelligence is more than a single measurable trait of problem solving like IQ has been a common theme in psychology since the publication of Howard Gardener’s book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. His work extended the range of measurable human attributes to different areas such as musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthesia and mathematical or logical skills (Gardner, 1983).
Building on that concept and other earlier attempts to describe an aptitude for social abilities, the researchers Mayer, Salvoes, and Caruso (1990) established a widely used definition for emotional intelligence as “… N ability to recognize the meaning of emotions and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. ” From that basis, they created the Multiracial Emotional Intelligence Scale (ME’S), which is a standardized test of this capacity that shows divergent validity with other tests of personality and measures of well being (Mayer, Caruso and Salvoes, 2000).
Their work has helped to establish emotional intelligence as a scientifically based concept rather than simply a phenomenon of “pop-psychology. ” The Ability-Based Model The MESS is a test of abilities that can be directly assessed rather than relying lowly on self-reports of a person’s belief about their emotion-related abilities. This component of the test is one of the ways Mayer, Caruso, ; Salvoes (2000) have established emotional intelligence as a legitimate measure of intelligence.
Their conception of emotional intelligence integrates four abilities of increasing complexity: perception and appraisal of emotion, assimilating emotions into cognitive abilities, understand and reasoning about emotions, and the management and regulation of emotions. By restricting the concept of E. I. To these four measurable characteristics, the researchers were able to how convergent validity between the different measures of E. I. As well as minor correlations with other established measures of intelligence (Mayer, Caruso, ; Salvoes, 2000).
These findings help to establish the ability-based model of E. I. As an acceptable intelligence measure in the psychology community. Additionally, there exist many trait-based or mixed-model interpretations of emotional intelligence. The main difference between ability-based E. I. And mixed-model ones is that mixed-models tend to incorporate personality traits like empathy into fold. This addition is convenient for understanding and explaining how people can be skilled with their emotions, but makes it difficult to operationally define E. I. As its own concept.
While these conceptualizations offer some insight into how emotional intelligence can influence everyday life, they lack construct validity and undermine respect of the field within the scientific community (Mayer, Caruso, ; Salvoes, 2000). However, they do make E. I. A concept that is more easily relatable and are part of the reason this field has grabbed so much attention. One famous example of a proponent of the mixed- del theory is Daniel Coleman, the author responsible for bringing the idea of emotional intelligence outside of academia and into the public eye with his use of easily understandable language and elucidating anecdotes.
A Mixed-Model Approach In his publications about emotional intelligence, Daniel Coleman breaks the concept down into four categories of skills and attributes: self-awareness, self- management, social awareness and relationship management. He claims that excelling in these four areas has very practical applications to the skills needed for success in the workplace and as a leader (Coleman, 2011). Self-awareness is the ability of a person to understand their own feelings and how that plays a role in interactions with others and basic decision-making.
Self-management refers to understanding one’s emotional reactions to a situation and taking control of impulses in order to react to stimuli in the best possible manner. Social awareness is closely tied with empathy, and deals with a person’s ability to recognize and address the emotions of others. Finally, relationship management refers to using emotional intelligence to influence and communicate with others while successfully managing conflict (Coleman, 2011). According to Coleman (2011), each of these facets has an individual effect on the success of leaders and implications for success in the workplace.
Self-Awareness. Self-awareness helps people understand their own emotions, strengths, and limitations in a way they can use to their advantage in the workplace. Although some people in the business world may believe that admitting weaknesses shows a vulnerability that is not desirable in a leader, understanding one’s own shortcomings benefits them greatly. For example, if a person knows they don’t work well under imminent deadlines, they can schedule their work to be more bread out and start working on tasks early.
Similarly, if a person can recognize that their strengths lie in a certain area and not others, they won’t take on a job that would set them up to fail – even if it requires taking a short-term financial loss. This skill is especially important when leading others, because of how a leader’s actions are interpreted and mimicked by their followers. One example Coleman (1998) uses in an article in the Harvard Business Review is when a store manager was weary of a new personal-shopper service her company was about to instate in a large department store.
She openly addressed her frustration with the fact that she wasn’t picked to run it and asked her team and bosses to “bear with he’ as she came to terms with it and they started up the program. Within weeks she was able to support the project fully. If she had not addressed the underlying issues she was dealing with, she may not have been able to address her feelings and move on to helping the project succeed (Coleman, 1998). In this case, like many others, the ability of this manager to understand and communicate what she was going through helped her avoid subconsciously resenting the project and self-sabotaging her success.
By keeping in touch with her feelings, she addressed an important obstacle she was facing internally, and it contributed to her team’s SUccess in implementing a new strategy in the store. Self- Management. Closely tied with self-awareness is self-management, the ability to take control of the emotional reactions that occur in everyday situations. In much of his work, Coleman (2011) refers to emotional hi-jacking, which is when an emotional reaction causes someone to react in a way that is counter to their general beliefs and rational interests.
He argues that many reactions to fear or emotional sisters trigger the amazedly in decision-making, which uses less information and makes quicker decisions by side stepping the preferential cortex, the center of cognitive control. By using self-awareness and recognizing when a situation is triggering a “fight or flight” response, people can take steps to avoid making brash decisions and control their emotions by using self-talk, meditation, or other relaxation techniques (Coleman, 2011). The ability to regulate one’s own emotions can help leaders in many different situations.
For example, if a leader is frustrated that his employees failed at a ask assigned to them, it would benefit him greatly to not hastily react with contempt and anger, but instead to take the time to manage his reaction and examine the reasons for the failure in order to properly and effectively address them with the group. Coleman (1998) also describes emotional management as a tool to ensure integrity in the workplace. Most instances when integrity is violated in the workplace it isn’t due to an intentional plan to fool others, but instead comes from an opportunity that arises when the perpetrator exhibits low impulse control.
If workers are more able to manage their fear and stress espouses, they can step back from a situation and make a decision that will help them out in the long run, and avoid getting their organization into trouble. Social Awareness. The social awareness facet of Salesman’s model is closely related to empathy and has to do with reading and understanding the emotions of others. This is a skill very necessary for leaders to use in order to develop rapport with their employees, understand reactions from clients, and develop effective work teams.
An example of ascertaining emotions and communicating effectively with employees that Coleman (1998) uses concerned a company in the wake of a large roger. Within the company, two branches ended up reacting very differently to the situation due to their leaders’ different abilities in social awareness. One branch manager delivered news about potential layoffs in a way that emphasized the size and scope of the redundancies without addressing his employee’s emotional reaction to the news. His branch ended up demoralized and lost some of its top talent who left to avoid the firings.
On the other hand, another branch manager who utilized his abilities in social awareness understood that delivering news about layoffs would not go over well with his employees. In a more tactful approach, he revealed his concerns about the potential layoffs to his employees as he announced the news, thereby creating a bond with them. By addressing his own apprehension and reassuring his workers that he would do his best to help them through a tough time, this manager was able to assuage his workers’ fears.
Unlike the leader who allowed his own fears to hinder his effective communication with his followers, the socially aware leader helped his branch effectively make the transition while retaining its highest-level talent (Coleman, 1998). Relationship Management. Salesman’s final area of emotional intelligence regards how a person manages relationships with others by shaping their emotional reactions and content. In workplace organizations, leaders have a particularly important role of shaping their followers emotions because their behavior helps to dictate the actions of the whole organization (Coleman, 2011).
Effective leaders are able to connect with people all around their organization, even before they have an official title to warrant the widespread connections. This is a trait especially true of emergent leaders, who stand out within organizations to take the reins in times of need. Relationship management is perhaps the most intuitive connection made by Daniel Coleman (2011) between emotional intelligence and effective leadership. Elements of relationship management are already valued in the workplace and they help describe some of the characteristics already used to choose leaders in the field.
Along with his application of the other facets of E. I. To leadership, Salesman’s explanations rely heavily on anecdotal evidence to explain and support his theories about why the construct is so important for businesses to take into consideration when choosing leaders. This method works great for eating forth examples for business leaders to follow. However, in order to establish a more evidential relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership skills, it is important to use scientific operational definitions of E.
I. And proper research methodology. Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership One scientific study that examines the relationship between emotional intelligence and effective leadership is a meta-analysis by PDP. Harms and Marcus Creed© (2010). This study, entitled “Emotional Intelligence and Transformational and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analysis” sought to examine the claims hat emotional intelligence is significantly tied with transformational and other leadership behaviors.
Transformational leadership is the most sought-after style of leadership today, and it has been shown to predict leader and performer and effectiveness ratings as well as employee satisfaction and motivation (Harms and Creed©, 2010). Transformational leaders enlighten their followers about the importance of the task at hand, motivate them, and inspire them to work beyond their own interests towards the benefit of an organization (Island, Kola, Rubin & Turner, 2011).
This leadership style is distinct from the transactional style, where work is simplified to an exchange of punishment or reward for work done. Even further down the continuum of leadership styles, the laissez-fairer method of leadership describes leaders who try not to take positions within the organization, avoid interactions with their followers, and are relatively absent from their work (Harms & Creed©, 2010). This meta-analysis took data from 62 independent samples to see how direct measures of E. I. Would correlate with leadership styles overall.
The results from Harms and Creed©’s study were mixed. Overall, there was a iterate estimated true score correlation found between emotional intelligence measures and transformation leadership measures (p=. 41). They found a large distinction in the literature between studies that used the same source to measure transformational leadership and emotional intelligence in their subjects and others that used different sources for that information. In all of the samples where the same source was used, the results were much higher (p=. 6) than the samples where different sources were used (p =. 12). Furthermore, there was a distinction between the correlation values whether ability-based tests or trait- eased tests of emotional intelligence were used. Correlations were lower using ability-based models (p =. 24 same source, p =. 05 different sources) than they were when trait-based models were used(p =. 66 same source, p =. 13 different sources). Essentially, these findings imply that emotional intelligence is not as clearly related to the use of a transformation leadership style as some E.
I. Proponents would suggest (Harms ; Creed©, 2010). The meta-analysis by Harms and Creed© (2010) brings to light many of the concerns that critics of emotional intelligence have espoused. The fact that reports of E. I. ND transformational leadership that were taken from the same source have such a higher correlation than measures from different sources implies that these measures are either inflated or do not have very much inter- rater reliability. Furthermore, since ability-based models of E.
I. Correlated much lower with transformational leadership scores than the trait-based models, and trait-based models tend to overlap with established personality measures, the evidence for emotional intelligence as an independent construct that determines leadership style can be called into question. It should be noted that even the mailer correlations in the meta-analysis were found to be significantly different, but they weren’t as strong as psychologists like Daniel Coleman would have us believe.
Discussion and Potential Downfalls of E. I. Taking into light the difficulties in trying to define emotional intelligence as a distinct and measurable construct, along with the results from Harms and Creed©’s (2010) meta-analysis, it should be emphasized that links between leadership and emotional intelligence have yet to be scientifically supported. With that said, companies and organizations should be careful to not get sucked p in the momentum created by the popularity of emotional intelligence in the business world.
Blindly promoting or hiring people based on this measure alone may not have its intended effect of creating an ideal organization filled with transformation leaders and increased productivity. There are plenty of other established traits and abilities that should be taken into account in making any decisions about managing an organization’s human capital. In fact, some scholars have argued that, like most skills, high amounts of emotional intelligence can be manipulated and misused in ways that will be extremely detrimental to the success of an organization.
Rebecca Alexander article (2011) entitled “The Dark Side of Emotional Intelligence” warns of this particular, albeit rare, occurrence. She describes one example where John Guttered rose to the chairmanship of Wall Street giant Solomon Brothers in the offs. In a time of crisis, he ascertained the standing chairman’s emotions and beliefs about the future of the company and made a public and impassioned speech about the need for his company to remain a private partnership. This well-played tactic earned him the spot at the helm of the company, and he ended p selling the company to a commodity dealer only three years later (Alexander, 2011).
Stories like these are not uncommon in the cutthroat world of business, and it is important to understand how skills like reading and managing other peoples’ emotions can be misused and manipulated like many other skills and intelligences. That being said, it is important to temper our enthusiasm about the promise that emotional intelligence holds in affecting the workplace, and make sure more work is done to understand and best utilize this construct before making any drastic changes.