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Higgs And Dulewicz
These two British authors from Henley Management College identified seven elements of emotional intelligence in their book Making sense of emotionalintelligence2. These elements are broken down into the following three areas:
Drivers: motivation and decisiveness, traits that energise people and drive them towards achieving goals.
Constrainers: conscientiousness, integrity and emotional resilience, factors that control and curb the excesses of the drivers.
Enablers: sensitivity, influence and self-awareness, traits that facilitate performance and help individuals to succeed.
Other writers and consultants have come up with different models. To attempt a summary of all the writing, while intelligence quotient (IQ) purely measures cognitive capacity, emotional intelligence is argued to involve emotional centres based in a different part of the brain working in harmony with the intellectual centres. People with good levels of emotional intelligence are said to be more able to manage and harness their emotions. They are also better able to understand other peoples emotions, to communicate with them, relate to them and influence them.
Emotional Intelligence In The Workplace
Supporters of the concept claim that emotionally intelligent managers are (for example) better at resolving workplace conflict and are better negotiators and better leaders. Thus Goleman argues that most managers with MBAs have similar IQs (because to gain an MBA demands a certain level of intelligence), but the distinguishing feature of good managers among MBA-holders is higher levels of emotional intelligence. Mayer, however, has said that in his view not every manger needs to have emotional intelligence, though managers should be aware of itin others and value it. To some extent, this may be a fruitless debate: in the same way that some people have higher IQs than others, there is a continuum of emotional intelligence. Virtually everyone will have some degree of emotional intelligence, and the question may then become how it can be developed and harnessed (see below). All writers agree that emotional intelligence is not a substitute for IQ and technical and professional abilities. Managers need to be professionally competent first.
Does Emotional Intelligence Improve Job Performance?
What evidence is there that emotional intelligence enhances job performance? Its proponents have carried out research which claims to show linkages. There are examples from different cultures:
A very clear relationship between a competency-based measures of emotional intelligence and British managers career advancement over a seven-year period2.
American financial advisers who went through an emotional competence development programme had sales gains of 8% - 20%, significantly more than those who did not undergo the programme3.
Ten emotional competencies emerged as the distinguishing capabilities of successful teams in a German chemical company3.
Emotional intelligence is also said to be an effective way of identifying leadership potential, because the qualities that constitute good leadership such as decisiveness, empowering others and openness to change all reflect aspects of emotional intelligence - for more on leaders qualities, see our factsheet on leadership.
Can Emotional Intelligence Be Learned?
Goleman argues that trying to teach emotional competencies via the traditional course is wrong. Long-established training methods are based on cognitive learning, which draws on different areas of the brain from emotional learning; emotional learning involves ways of thinking and acting that are more central to a persons identity. Moreover, people are more likely to resist being told that they need learn how (for example) to control their temper or improve their interpersonal skills than they are to being told that they need to improve their technical skills. Developing emotional intelligence brings additional brain circuitry into play - in effect this circuitry needs to be re-tuned, which takes time. It can, says Goleman, take at least two months to unlearn old behaviours and replace them with new ones. Away from the workplace, the Goleman approach is to follow up 360-degree feedback (which identifies their levels of emotional intelligence) by encouraging people to produce action plans. Back at work, they are encouraged to practice the new behaviour immediately, with support from a mentor or immediate manager.
Higgs and Dulewicz argue that their components of emotional intelligence divide into two categories. The first category is those that people can clearly learn through established learning methods, such as personal development strategies like sensitivity, influence and self-awareness. The second category relates to the more enduring elements of an individuals personality that are more difficult to learn, like motivation, emotional resilience and conscientiousness. For this category, the development approach should consist of training strategies that exploit each individuals characteristics to the full and on developing 'coping strategies' that minimise the impact of potential limitations. Other organisations and individuals have drawn up different approaches, but the two mentioned above illustrate that that there is no single agreed way of developing emotional intelligence.