Emotional Intelligence and Leadership: A Fascinating Connection

 

Here at TBC we like to keep abreast of industry news, so we read from a lot of different sources: blogs, websites, white papers, scholarly articles, research, etc. We know that not everyone likes to read scholarly research, so decided to make it easy for you by summarizing some important industry articles and putting them into less intimidating language.

One researcher we really enjoy following is Dr. Frank Shipper Ph.D., Professor of Management in the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business at Salisbury University in Salisbury, MD. He has conducted many studies on using 360 Feedback to develop leadership and workplace skills, and has been awarded many accolades for his research.

One particularly interesting article is titled, “A cross-cultural exploratory study of the link between emotional intelligence and managerial effectiveness” (2003). In this article, Shipper explores the association between emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage emotions and create motivation, and the effectiveness of employees in a managerial setting across three different cultures: The US, the UK, and Malaysia.

A quick background:

Emotional intelligence has garnered a large following over the past century, starting with Darwin’s work on emotional survival in the 1900s. As early as the year 1920, researcher E.L. Thorndike described “social intelligence” to describe the skill of managing and understanding other people. The first person attributed with using the term, “emotional intelligence” was Wayne Payne in his doctoral thesis, although there is proof that the term occurred in papers as early as 1966. EI became mainstream after the publication of Daniel Goleman’s best selling book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Since its publication, many theories on EI have developed and, inevitably, controversy has ensued. Wikipedia does a great job of summarizing information on EI and providing further links to different theories, ideas, and opinions on the worth validity EI.

According to Shipper, emotional intelligence (EI) is a “self-other argument” that can be gathered and tentatively measured by using 360 surveys. It is very complicated to measure EI, and there are many differing opinions on the best instrument for its collection and measurement. Shipper, however, decided that the most effective way to measure self-awareness, which is directly correlated with EI, was to use 360 surveys.

Through completing 360 Feedback surveys of 3,785 managers from the U.S., the U.K., and Malaysia, Shipper proved his hypothesis that there is a relationship between self-awareness and managerial effectiveness, but determined that the link is more complicated than previously thought. He noted that the culture in which the survey was written and the content of the survey can affect the visible strength of this relationship. Shipper also noted that interpretation of 360 instruments should be done carefully in countries where the instrument was not developed, and that cross testing of 360 instruments must take place for accurate results.

Shipper’s article supports the idea that good managers are able to understand their emotions and interact with others in a way that encourages and inspires them. Developing EI skills are an essential step on the path to leadership development, and can make or break leadership in the workplace.

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