Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Development.

In 2012 it is widely accepted that Emotional Intelligence gives an advantage in the achievement of “success” and is more important than IQ. This is especially true for Leadership and its importance improves the higher up the organisation an individual goes.

From Darwin to the present, most descriptions, definitions and conceptualizations of emotional intelligence have included one or more of the following components:
(a) The ability to recognize, understand and express emotions and feelings.
(b) The ability to understand how others feel and relate with them.
(c) The ability to manage and control emotions.
(d) The ability to manage change, adapt and solve problems of a personal and interpersonal nature.
(e) The ability to generate positive affect and be self-motivated.

Emotional Intelligence is broken down into competences which are categorised by Goleman into Dimensions: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.

All agree that Emotional Intelligence can be learned and improved. There is debate however, as to how much it can be improved.
Higgs and Dulewicz contend that only some competences can be improved and of these only some by training – the others by experience.
Goleman suggests a different type of training is required. Organizations need to make accessible a mode of learning that is appropriate to the emotional intelligence domain these abilities can be improved. I carried out Academic research on a significant statistical population in 2007 which concluded that Emotional Intelligence can be improved substantially using the correct approach.

As it’s a different part of the brain that needs to be retrained one can’t improve these abilities in the same way that you learn technical expertise. So the appropriate mode is a requirement of successful outcome. Adapting from Goleman, Bytazis & McKee (2002) one can derive a 5 step model:

  • Define who you want to be
  • Define who you are now
  • Define how you get to who you want to be.
  • Plan to make the changes stick.
  • Identify who can help and support you.

My own experience and research contends that Emotional Intelligence can be developed through innovative and specific one to one or group training. The learning is not however like academic learning and revolves around processes which change the way you look at yourself, feel about yourself and engage with the world around you. Aristotle once said “We are what we repeadly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit”. How true!

Aidan Higgins

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