Importance Of Emotional Intelligence For A Leader In Today’s Business Consultancy Industry

1341 words - 5 pages

Emotional Intelligence is said to be necessary to move beyond middle management, therefore it must be an essential soft skill for senior management (Chynoweth, 2009). Modern companies, such as Deloitte have taken a keen interest in EQ, and it has quickly become more apparent in managerial literature (Vigoda-Gadot & Meisler, 2010) for its potential of developing employees and helping them “reach the next level”.

EQ theories and models were originally developed in the 70s and 80s by psychologists Howard Gardner, Peter Salovey and John Mayer, however it was with Goleman’s 1995 book ‘Emotional Intelligence’ that it rose to prominence. He described the 5 key elements involved with EQ, self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skill (Goleman, 1998). These are all basic human characteristics, but Goleman found that Emotional Intelligence became an increasingly important part of decision making and leadership skills at the highest levels of companies, stating that the difference between “star performers” and average employees was comprised of 90% attributes linked with EQ (Goleman, 1998).

This theory helps us to quantify EQ, and through Goleman’s work he has developed tests or likely signs to measure an individual’s ability. In a 1996 study, it was found that divisions within a certain company would outperform yearly earning goals by 20% if their senior managers possessed a “critical mass of emotional intelligence capabilities”, conversely senior managers without this critical mass would underperform by a similar percentage (Goleman, 1998). Goleman believes EQ to be a personality model, whereas others have suggested ability and mixed ability models (Salovey & Mayer (1990); Bar-on (1977), Dulewicz & Higgs (2000); Cherniss & Goleman (2001)), showing that there is yet to be one unified theory, and does complicate the measurement when each model focuses on different key skills. Some researchers remain entirely sceptical of EQ models, and believe that there is simply not enough evidence to show that measuring EQ can provide a realistic appraisal of occupational performance (Mishra & Mohapatra, 2009).

To better understand the importance of EQ, you must be able to comprehend why managers and leaders would want to harness and exploit their emotions, and while the difference between leaders and managers may seem negligible it is an area of much study. Higgs (2003) suggested that leadership is the aspect of human behaviour most extensively studied, and many businesses and academics are nothing short of obsessed with the topic (Goffee & Jones, 2000). Young & Dulewicz described the key features of each discipline to help define them; leadership’s key aspects focused around guidance, motivation and focusing, whereas management’s key aspects included budgeting, organisation and control. Extrapolating from the previous sources aspects, it hints that a manager does not necessarily have to motivate, or perhaps not in the same way a leader...

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