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Is Emotional Intelligence Beneficial For Effective Leadership?

1693 words - 7 pages

There are many different definitions of what emotional intelligence is and exactly which components should be included to comprise it. The most basic model of emotional intelligence is the "four branch model" described by John Mayer and Peter Salovey in 1997. The key concepts included in the four branch model are: "emotional intelligence is the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional meanings, and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote both better emotion and thought (Mayer & Salovey, 1997).” The scientific definition of emotional intelligence, according to John Mayer, Peter Caruso and Peter Salovey is that "emotional intelligence refers to an ability to recognize the meanings of emotion and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them. Emotional intelligence is involved in the capacity to perceive emotions, assimilate emotion-related feelings, understand the information of those emotions, and manage them (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000)."
Daniel Goleman describes emotional intelligence as "the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves and for managing emotion well in ourselves and in our relationships (Goleman, 2000).” Goleman goes on to explain that emotional intelligence can be broken down into two core competencies. These competencies include personal competence and social competence. Personal competence includes traits such as self-awareness, defined as being aware of what you are feeling; and self-management, which is what you do with your feelings once you are aware of what you are feeling, or exercising control of your feelings. Social competence includes traits such as social awareness, which is being aware of what others are feeling, or empathy; and relationship management, which is how you respond to other feelings in relation to your own. Goleman refers to relationship management as “inspirational leadership (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002).”
After studying both the "four branch model" and Goleman's writings, one of the characteristics of emotional intelligence as I understand it is the ability to manage feelings and handle stress. Instead of those feelings and stress becoming a hindrance, the emotionally intelligent individual knows how to use them. The emotionally intelligent leader makes these traits work for them, not only to better relate to staff members, but to guide them and motivate them in order to better do their job and to obtain the goals of the organization. As an example, in the book Primal Leadership Daniel Goleman relates a story of a company that was personally affected by the tragedy of 9/11 (Goleman, et al., 2002). This financial company had family members, friends and coworkers taken away by this event. Instead of internalizing what he was feeling the leader called a meeting with his staff to discuss what they were all going...

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