emotional intelligence and effective leadership

emotional intelligence and effective leadership - Emotional...

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Emotional intelligence and effective leadership Benjamin Palmer Organizational Psychology Research Unit, Neuropsychology Laboratory, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Melissa Walls Organizational Psychology Research Unit, Neuropsychology Laboratory, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Zena Burgess Organizational Psychology Research Unit, Neuropsychology Laboratory, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Con Stough Organizational Psychology Research Unit, Neuropsychology Laboratory, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia Introduction During the last decade interpersonal skills have become more integral to effective leadership (Goleman, 1998a). Where leaders were once seen to control, plan and inspect the overall running of an organization, in today's more service-oriented industries, leadership roles are also to motivate and inspire others, to foster positive attitudes at work, and to create a sense of contribution and importance with and among employees (Hogan et al. , 1994). These contemporary leadership requirements have placed new demands on leadership training programs to develop these skills in evolving leaders and on organizations involved in leadership selection to identify them in potential candidates (Fulmer, 1997). As a result, research has been exploring the underlying attributes and behaviours of leaders who successfully perform these contemporary leadership roles in order to identify leadership selection and training criteria for the recruitment and development of effective leaders (Church and Waclawski, 1998; Pratch and Jacobowitz, 1998; Ross and Offerman, 1997; Sternberg, 1997). One variable that has recently gained much popularity as a potential underlying attribute of effective leadership is the construct of emotional intelligence (EI) (Sosik and Megerian, 1999). EI is described as a set of abilities that refer in part to how effectively one deals with emotions both within oneself and others (Salovey and Mayer, 1990). It has been proposed that in leadership, dealing effectively with emotions may contribute to how one handles the needs of individuals, how one effectively motivates employees, and makes them ``feel'' at work (Goleman, 1998b). Today's effective leadership skills have been described to depend, in part, on the understanding of emotions and the abilities associated with EI (Cooper and Sawaf, 1997; Goleman, 1998a; Ryback, 1998). Exactly how, and to what extent EI accounts for effective leadership is currently unknown. Despite much interest in relating EI to effective leadership there is little research published that has explicitly examined this relationship. Popular claims regarding the extent to which EI accounts for effective leadership skills are at present misleading. For example, one search firm claims ``Emotional Intelligence accounts for more than 85 percent of exceptional performance in top leaders'' (HayGroup, 2000). This finding is unlikely ± there has never been a psychological variable that has
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emotional intelligence and effective leadership - Emotional...

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