Effective Leadership and Emotional Intelligence (EI) Part 2

Scottsdale Leadership Class XIX

This is the second of a multi-article series discussing the relationship of leadership and emotional intelligence.

He who knows others is learned. He who knows himself is wise.”
Lao Tse

Leaders need to know what makes everyone tick, starting with themselves. Many leaders do not often recognize, or take into consideration, the impact their behavior has on the very people they rely on for their success. Leaders must not only hold their employees fully accountable for “what” they do, they must hold those employees accountable for “how” they perform their work.  To do this, leaders must first be ready to take a straightforward look at themselves to make sure their behaviors are in line with their organization’s stated values, and that their leadership practices are supported by strong emotional intelligence competencies (self-awareness, social awareness, self-management & relationship management). This is essential if the leader is willing to build strong, long-lasting relationships and effective leadership.

Dealing with emotionally precarious situations in the workplace can become complicated, and leaders sometimes side step issues they should confront. When these difficult situations are compounded with inadequate communication skills, the end result can become extremely volatile.  The lack of ability to control emotions and display effective communication skills can lead to unsettled conflicts, low morale and diminished productivity. Effective management of employee frustration, anger and upset is critical to employee commitment, motivation and productivity, as well as to an organization’s overall health and profitability. The need exists to help leaders learn to use their emotions in a productive manner and, if necessary, to develop the needed skills for relating well with others.

The benefits of understanding how emotional intelligence competencies contribute to fostering strong leadership qualities for individuals and organizations has far reaching implications. “According to research conducted by Wilson Learning Corporation in Eden Prairie, MN, not only is there a direct correlation between employee satisfaction and job performance, but the biggest contributor to employee satisfaction — and thus productivity — is leadership” (Caudron, 1996, ¶ 3). Organizations can be instrumental in supporting this effort by identifying cultural and leadership principles that promote leadership supported by emotional intelligence.



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3 responses to “Effective Leadership and Emotional Intelligence (EI) Part 2

  1. Terri
    Is there anyway we can judge EI?


    • Terri Rabicoff

      Over the past 10-12 years there has been the development of several multi-rater or 360-degree surveys that have been designed to measure emotional intelligence in the workplace. Many of these are based on a model of emotional intelligence called the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI). These surveys and raters have been useful in providing feedback on (a) someone’s individual strengths and weaknesses compared to others in the same organization or in a similar role, and (b) they also provide feedback on the gaps or discrepancies between a person’s self-perceptions and how they are rated or perceived by others. These feedback systems are great for enhancing self-knowledge, which hopefully leads to improved leadership behaviors, effectiveness and performance.
      Self-observation of one’s own behavior and personal observation of others’ behaviors is key to recognizing and understanding the intelligent use of emotions in managing themselves and working with others. According to Goleman (1995, 1998) and Boyatzis (1982) “emotional intelligence is observed when a person demonstrates the competencies that constitute self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills at appropriate times and in ways to be effective in a situation”.

  2. Lynne Nutter

    I agree that the leader has a huge impact on morale. I am a middle manager of an Air Force medical clinic with about 25 employees in my section, and my boss is over 60 more employees in three other sections. We have really good morale, and are always celebrating special occasions with either breakfast, or cake. It wasn’t like that 3 years ago when management was different. The “leader” was moody and always yelled at the young employees which impated the mission. He soon retired and morale instantly improved.
    EI is definately important for success.

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