The paper "Emotional Intelligence and Leadership" is a perfect example of management coursework. Emotional intelligence (EI) has been defined by Mayer and Salovey (1997) as the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth. As the definition suggests, there are four aspects of EI, the ability to appraise and express emotion, the use of emotion to enhance cognitive processes and decision making, knowledge about, and management, of emotions(Mayer and Salovey 1997).
Mayer and Salovey present EI as the ability of a person or a leader to use emotions to facilitate their reasoning and reasoning intelligently about emotions. In essence, EI connects emotions and reasoning and gauges the extent to which a person’ s cognitive ability is informed by their emotions and the extent to which they manage their emotions cognitively (George 2000). A recurrent theme in EI literature is that EI is correlated with effective leadership. This essay will assess the value of EI in leadership. First, the essay will discuss the relationship between EI and leadership styles, indicating that transformational leadership is the most effective in relation to EI.
The essay will then debate whether EI is an innate ability or an acquired skill and whether conclusive empirical evidence exists to support the claim that emotionally intelligent leaders are more successful. It will be argued that EI can be learned. The essay will evaluate Antonakis’ argument that current research into the relationship between EI and leadership is not conclusive and examine other skills beyond EI that are relevant to leadership such as personality, charisma, conflict resolution skills, cross-cultural competence, an understanding of power and communicative competence.
In conclusion, it will be argued that EI is an important determinant of effective leadership. Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Research has indicated that emotionally intelligent leaders are more effective (Palmer et al 2001, Gardner and Stough 2002). They are generally happier, higher-performing, more committed to their organization and more successful in taking advantage of positive emotions and translating them into better organizational performance (Gardner and Stough 2002). This has implications for various leadership styles- transformational, transactional and laissez-faire leadership styles.
EI can be used as both a measure of the effectiveness of leaders and as a tool for developing effective leadership skills. Transformational leader arouses the needs and motivates their followers to achieve dramatic change through performance beyond current standards and expectations while transactional leaders fulfill the needs of their members in exchange for the realization of basic expectations. Laissez-faire leadership, as the name suggests, is characterized by a negative relationship between leaders and followers, where leaders are either unavailable to provide support or assistance, absent when required or unwilling to take responsibility.
Transformational leadership requires a higher EI ability and is generally considered the most effective leadership style. Transformational leaders are more sensitive to the emotional states of their subordinates and are able to act on them or manage them to motivate them, implement change or achieve high-performance standards (Gardner and Stough 2002).
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