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Role of Emotional Intelligence Essay

Summary: This article discusses the correlation of a leaders Emotional Intelligence (“the ability to understand and manage moods and emotions in the self and others”) (George) and how it plays a role in how effective that manager is. The author first relates how emotions, moods and feelings play a part in how humans deal with each other on a day to day basis. Ms. George points out that positive moods and emotions can have a positive effect on how we deal with life, and on the flip side how negative moods and emotions can have the opposite effect in our social and work lives. She states that “Feelings are intimately connected to the human experience. Feelings are intricately bound up in the ways that people think, behave, and make decisions.”

Many people with the inability to show emotion find life difficult as even the smallest decisions are hard to make with no gage of how others may react or “feel” about your choices. The article is not so much about how leaders behave but more so how effective that behavior is in understanding their own and others emotions and moods. The author states there are four different attributes of one’s emotional intelligence; the appraisal and expression of emotion; the use of emotion to enhance cognitive processes an decision making; knowledge about emotions; and the management of emotions.

The article explores each of these attributes and how having these skills can be useful to a leader in dealing with their peers and subordinates. In all the article points to evidence that good leaders also have a higher emotional intelligence (whether they are born with it or whether they learn it). It does not state that EI is the only determining factor when comparing a good leader only that studies show that there is a correlation.

Behavioral Issue: The behavioral issue is how one can use their knowledge of moods and emotions to shape the way they and others react to any given situation. Emotional intelligence in leaders can therefore bring forth the desired results of the organization that they work for. The four different attributes of EI can be used to utilize leaders and those that they lead. Leaders with EI can use the attribute of appraisal and expression of emotion, which “ensures that people are able to effectively communicate with others to meet their needs and accomplish their goals or objectives.” A leader who uses the knowledge of emotion, will understand what determines what a person’s mood might be (such as knowing that delivering bad news will probably bring on a bad mood) and what the consequences of these moods might be (moods may linger for some time increasing negative attitudes and poor results of the sought after goal).

A manager with good EI skills can help enhance “cognitive processes and decision making” skills of others. If a leader can predict or imagine what the reaction of someone else could be given two different actions will have the ability to make a decision as to which action to go with to bring out the desired result for his company. A leader who can manage his own feelings may well be able to manage or evoke desired emotions from others (getting his team motivated and excited about a new project) and this can be instrumental in meeting deadlines and the projected goals of his team. In short, emotional intelligence can be very useful to a manager who is trying to be an effective leader.

Opinion: In my opinion I think the article touches on a very interesting subject. I believe the idea of emotional intelligence is integral to one being an effective manager. This article states many instances when the ability to determine and understand your own feelings, emotions and moods as well as that of others can in effect shape the mood and actions of others. “Truly effective leaders are also distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence, which includes self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill.” (Goleman, 2004) I have personally known managers who display good EI (one who seemed to know how to always motivate me to do the best job possible no matter how lowly the task) and those who are most definitely lacking in the same skills (one who would berate me in front of customers and co-workers).

“Every businessperson knows a story about a highly intelligent, highly skilled executive who was promoted into a leadership position only to fail at the job. And they also know a story about someone with solid—but not extraordinary—intellectual abilities and technical skills who was promoted into a similar position and then soared”. (Goleman, 2004) I am finding that I am firm believer in the use of EI tests prior to hiring is a solid business decision. That way, when social skills are needed for the open position, you are getting an employee that matches all of your needs not just the technical ones.

Relevance to the Study of Organizational Behavior: All businesses or organizations need managers to help shape their employees attitudes and behavior to ensure their desired outcomes. Managers who possess emotional intelligence help to make this possible in the most effective way possible. This is relevant because it deals with employees and with that, employee emotions and how they will react to a manager with good emotional intelligence. Managers who can motivate, or actively manage the workforce by using EI whether natural or learned will ultimately make the company money. Although EI is not required for some types of jobs (jobs that require little to no human contact) there are still many jobs where a manager’s emotional intelligence can be utilized and can make a difference to the bottom line of the company, which is usually the desired outcome.

George, J. M. (n.d.). Emotions and Leadership: The Role of Emotional Intelligence.

Goleman, D. (2004). What Makes a Leader? Retrieved from Harvard Business Review: http://hbr.org/2004/01/what-makes-a-leader

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