Emotional intelligence leadership



It is apparent that implementation of emotional intelligence in organizations require the use of soft-skill tools that are beneficial for most organizations. The challenge of convincing an organization to commit to a particular method and to provide resources for this kind of development will be explored in this paper. The results indicate that true change in leadership skills requires in-depth experiential training and on going support.

Emotional Intelligence Leadership

Organizations have been thrust into a highly competitive environment that is in continuous states of change. Leaders need to begin building a learning organization that includes every person in every position. Leaders with a passionate inspiration will motivate their people by including them in the creation of the corporate vision. Empowered employees require a leader willing to devote time, effort, and energy to establish a core of shared values. Leaders that invest themselves, their resources as well as time are the foundation for building an emotionally intelligent organization. Promotion of emotional intelligence (EQ) requires a broad scope of soft-skills that leaders can use for the benefit of their organization.

Foundations of Emotional Intelligence

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"Emotional leadership is the spark that ignites a company's performance, creating a bonfire of success or a landscape of ashes" (Goleman, Boyatzis & Mckee, 2001). Goleman (1996) defines emotional intelligence as the capacity for recognizing one's feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions well in relationship with self and others. His framework includes four major branches that have grown from the seed of EQ: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Kreitner & Kinicki (2010) affirm the first two are personal competencies and determines how we handle ourselves; the second two are social competencies and determine how we handle our relationships with others (p. 145). Daft (2005) defines emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize, comprehend and assimilate emotions in self and others and stresses that everyone has the ability to increase their EQ (p. 145). According to Daft, (2005) "Managing emotions does not mean suppressing or denying them but understanding them and using that understanding to deal with situations productively" (p. 146).

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence Skills

It is easy to understand the importance of emotional intelligence in regards to managing stress, increasing motivation, and productive conflict resolution, as these have been linked to improved overall organizational effectiveness (Daft, 2005). Individuals and organizations that can learn to operate in emotionally intelligent ways will remain vital and dynamic in today's competitive marketplace. Leaders with high levels of EQ are able to instill unity and create high performance teams that are cohesive in their work efforts. In today's fast paced, static environment, organizations that introduce and implement EQ are able to create sustainable changes in an established corporate culture and build a new culture of shared responsibility with a united purpose (Daft, 2005). Emotional intelligence is exactly what the name implies. The basis of an emotionally competent leader is one with an inspiring vision for change with increased adaptability. The emotional stability of a leader can affect the whole organization by being a positive role model that is able to motivate and inspires others by their empathetic abilities (Daft, 2005).

Goleman's research, over several years with diverse types of organizations has shown the ability to predict high performance individuals and teams through soft skill competencies associated with EQ. Organizational training and development of EQ for leaders and managers have been shown to increase employee productivity, reduce apathy, and increase employee fulfillment, and job stability.

The Process of Organizational Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence is not just managing emotions: it involves engaging emotional intelligence insights and tools combined with the potential of the current rational tools. The process for learning EQ follows a logical progression. First the organization's top leaders should be comfortable with using EQ competencies, such as self-awareness to build empathy, coach others, resolve conflict, and improve their political awareness and teamwork. Organizational leaders need a clear definition of the critical importance of EQ through conducting a detailed self-assessment of EQ competency skills for all staff members. This is not something that can be accomplished in a one-week seminar. It requires repeated application of basic competencies of EQ at home, work or social gatherings. This requires insight into leadership capacity and increasing organizational performance by benchmarking and strategically leveraging diversity (Druskat & Wolff, 2001). Leaders and managers provide coaching or mentoring support and should establish a 360-degree feedback for visible improvements, as well as a high return of the organization's initial investment that can improve corporate culture for a lifetime.

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It has been determined that consistent utilization of emotional intelligence encourages staff members towards intentional communication, in terms of people issues and individual response to change (Fariselli & Ghini, 2005). Extensive research by Goleman, Boyatzis & Mckee (2001) have shown that high levels of emotional intelligence, create organizational cultures where learning, trust, sharing of information, and healthy risk-taking increases on a consistent basis. Organizations that have committed to EQ change initiatives do benefit from frequent and random monitoring for talent retention, staff performance, and customer service with adjustments made as indicated.


Daft, R. L. (2008). The leadership experience (4th ed.). Cincinnati: South-Western. ISBN-13: 9780324539684.

Druskat, V. U. & Wolff, S. B. (2001, March). Building the emotional intelligence of groups.

Weatherhead School of Management. Harvard Business Review; 81-90. Retrieved March 21, 2010 from http://nootropics.com/social-intelligence/emotionalgroup.html

Fariselli, L. F. & Ghini, M. (2005). Optimizing manufacturing reengineering with emotional intelligence: SAP, LEAN, and people at CIBA Specialty Chemical. Six Seconds. Bologna, Italy. Retrieved March 21, 2010 from http://www.eqtoday.com/modules.phname=News&file=article&sid=317

Goleman, D. (2000). Emotional intelligence: Issues in paradigm building. Consortium for Research on Emotional Intelligence in Organizations. In Goleman, D. & Cherniss, C. (eds.). The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace: How to Select for, Measure, and Improve Emotional Intelligence in Individuals, Groups, and Organizations. San Francisco. Jossey-Bass. Retrieved March 22, 2010 from http://www.eiconsortium.org/reprints/ei_issues_in_paradigm_building.html

Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R. & Mckee, A. (2001, December). Primal leadership: The hidden driver of great performance. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved March 20, 2010 from http://hbr.org/2001/12/primal-leadership/ar/1

Kreitner, R., & Kinicki, A. (2010). Organizational behavior (9th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780073530451