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Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

In this competitive world, organizations are prone to look at leadership for ways to increase effective performances and productivities. Most organizations invested huge amount of resources into skills development for individuals, especially for those in the leadership positions. The investments were aimed to improve both individual’s and the organization’s performance. U.S. employers, for example, spent approximately $5 billion on formal training per year. These spendings, along with high-performance work practices, have been shown to contribute to the companies’ competitiveness. As companies grow and recognize the important roles of training for improved business performance, there are increasing recognitions which effective leaders require – a combination of technical, conceptual, and human skills. Part of these human skills constitutes Emotional Intelligence (EI). EI has become a common phrase in the vocabulary of organizational leaders and managers.

EI is mainly about the ability to identify and use emotions resourcefully within ourselves as well as others. The concept of EI was first developed in the 80s by a group of academicians, who began investigating this subject because they were curious about the results of traditional IQ tests. IQ tests were first developed to meet the need of mass military recruitments. The purpose is to have an initial idea of the intelligence level of candidates though standardized test in order to save time and resource in placement. Over the years, more evidence proved that IQ test does not fulfil the expectations developed and users had placed on them. Researchers keep wondering why is that some people with high IQ were failing and some lower IQ were highly successful.

Although EI and IQ are different, both psychologist and neuroscience researchers have established the existence of relationship between emotion and reasoning. It is likely that emotions and feelings are enmeshed in the networks of reason. Research indicates that adequate knowledge and cognition will not ensure effective decision making when unaccompanied by emotional signals. In short, knowledge alone is not enough. The existence of emotional markers in the brain is thought to be critical factors that lead to effective decision-making during the reasoning process. It is further believed that the frontal lobes of the brain are not only the seat of emotions, but they also interconnect emotions, social conduct and decision-making. These neuroscience findings have significant implications for the important role of EI in management and leadership. People who cannot adequately draw upon their emotions or emotional memories are subject to inappropriate social relevant.

A common failing of leaders, from supervisors to top executives, is the failure to be empathetically assertive when necessary. There was a statement saying, “People leave the manager not the company”. For some reason the statement is true. As John Maxwell said, “If you are all alone at the top, you are not a leader. You are a hiker.”

No one creates success alone. To win in business, you must win in people. Running over people will only get you so far. To create true and lasting success you must nurture and invest in your people. Most company encounter high turnover throughout the year. This high turnover will affect the operation of the organization. From this case, have you ever wondered why some highly intelligence managers fail miserably when leading? They graduate with flying colors and came from the top universities. However, when it comes too led they failed. Most of the people in the company not feel happy working under this type of managers. One of the reason thst may tackle is they emphasizes their intelligence at the cost of their EI. Goleman work on EI has not only legitimized the terminology, but also the idea that emotion plays a big significant role in management and leadership. Knowing the need of effective leaders in today’s complex world is the reason why EI has became important when it comes to leading these days.

In their research on EI, Dulewics and Higgs (2000) identify the core common elements in the overall construct which were subsequently demonstrated in empirical studies. These are:

1. Self – Awareness. The awareness of your own feelings and the ability to recognize and manage.

2. Emotional Resilience. The ability to perform well and consistently in a range of situation and when under pressure.

3. Motivation. The drive and energy which you have to achieve results, balance short and long-term goals and pursue your goals in the face of challenge and rejection.
4. Interpersonal Sensitivity. The ability to be aware of the needs and feelings of others and to use this awareness effectively in interacting with them and arriving at decisions impacting on them.

5. Influence. The ability to persuade others to change their viewpoint on the problem, issue or decision.

6. Intuitiveness. The ability to use insight and interaction to arrive at and implement decisions when faced with ambiguous or incomplete information.
7. Conscientiousness and Integrity. The ability to display commitment to a course of action in the face of challenge, to act consistently and in line with understood ethical requirements.

EI is strongly correlated with individual advancement and success in an organizations setting and with individual performance. A leader who possesses EI could be assumed to be a more effective leader. They would be able to work more closely with their subordinates since they would be able to understand them and how to use the most effective communication to get through to them. They also would engage social effectiveness within EI as the foundation of their leadership style. EI in this context would help enhance their leadership effectiveness. If a leader wants to leads more effective ways, they need to improve their own EI as well as their cognitive skills.

“Success is not a destination but it’s a life time journey”

Azri Usman