Katharine Becks-Final Research Paper
Running head: EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 1
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE 2
Emotional Intelligence – an Art or a Science?
Emotional Intelligence – an Art or a Science?
Emotional intelligence is an attribute related to emotional information and individual’s emotions; it is not only beneficial to an individual in terms influencing, interpersonal relationship, but is also applicable in group settings such as in work environments. Due to its importance, a number of researches have been conducted relating emotional intelligence to leadership and management. Drugs and Papoutsi (2019) describe emotional intelligence-EI as the evaluation, perception, and management of the individual’s and others’ emotions. The concept of EI connects cognition, emotion, and metacognitive processes; it is more important in the work places now than it was before due to the high interconnection of the world economy thanks to globalization. That means in work environments, employees with high emotional intelligence are valued than those without because of their ability to cope with a different people from different cultures and lifestyles. In leadership and management positions, EI is attractive because of the many demands and enhanced competition faced today. Summarily, EI creates the needed skills framework and responsible behavior that help people succeed at work. Whereas emotional intelligence is a human attribute, organizations also adopt the concept. Drigas and Papoutsi (2019) note that emotionally intelligent organizations attract talents to their workforce and address challenges effectively; in such organizations the leaders and managers cooperate, influence others and find creative and faster ways of finishing tasks. Notably emotions that are properly managed to enhance trust, commitment, and faith. That means the innovations, productivity, and success of organizations, groups, or individuals arise in situations where emotional intelligence is high (Zeider, Matthews, & Roberts, 2004). Due to the importance and applications of emotional intelligence at different levels, the paper explains whether EI is an art or a science.
An organizational leader may be unable to tell whether emotional intelligence is an art or a science. It is not deemed important for a leader to distinguish as such knowledge may not have direct impact on the desired results. Daniel Goleman (2000) emphasizes on more science and less art. Goleman emphasizes that a leader should be able to study situations and learn what kind of leadership styles and underlying emotional intelligence competencies should be applied. It takes a scientific angle where a leader learns and adjusts in a bid to drive the desired results. However, what are the specific EI competencies enable a leader to understand situations and change the leadership style in order to achieve the desired results? Most leaders are usually unaware of the leadership styles that should apply to various situations as noted by Goleman. However, an approach to EI as a science can help them understand situations better and apply the right leadership styles.
The Purpose of the Study
The purpose of the study is to find out the specific approach that leaders can take to learn the attributes of the organizational situations they face, and how the information can be used to inform the leadership approach that is adopted. Goleman (2000) asserts that different situations in the organization require different leadership styles and their respective underlying EI competencies. However, as Goleman notes, leaders are not aware of how that is done. It is the primary aim of this study to find out how leaders can apply EI as a science and learn about the situation.
The Research Questions
The research paper will aim at addressing the following research question.
i. How can leaders apply Emotional Intelligence as a science to understand situations and apply the right leadership styles?
ii. What are the essential EI skills and competencies that will enable leaders become better at learning about problems and solving them?
As highlighted above, emotional intelligence is associated with success; as such, leaders and managers value EI because of its importance in their various responsibilities. The concept explained in relation to whether EI is an art or a science is linked to its role in leadership and managerial success. Specifically, there are different applications of EI in management and leadership positions; therefore, the focus of the paper is narrowing down the different applications of EI in an organizational environment. There are leadership skills, such as affiliative leaders who show EI competencies including empathy, building relationships, and communication. Such skills are deemed very essential in understanding the organizational environment. However, there is a need for an empirical study that will unearth the most effective EI skills and competencies that enable a leader to find out more about situations and adjust quickly. The goal of the leader is to attain the desired results, hence they should react quickly and in the right manner.
Psychologists first coined the concept of emotional intelligence in 1990s; however, it gradually spread to other fields such as education, business, and popular cultures. Among the leading researchers on the topic as Salovey and Mayer, who defined EI as ability to understand and recognize individual’s and others’ emotions (Cherry, 2019). According to Cherry (2019) emotional intelligence is applied in understanding situations, making decisions, solving problems and communicating with others. Emotional intelligence is segregated in four levels namely reasoning with emotions, perceiving with emotions, managing with emotions, and understanding with emotions (Cherry, 2019). Empirical studies have shown that emotional intelligence is different from general intelligence because EI helps in explaining individual differences (Zeider, Matthews, & Roberts, 2008). Based on the EI concept, it is still unclear whether EI is cognitive or non –cognitive or whether it is implicit or explicit knowledge. In addition, it is also unclear whether EI refers to the cultural and social milieu or whether it is a basic aptitude. According to Zeider, Matthews, and Roberts (2008), EI is multifaceted in nature; therefore, it should be evaluate from different perspectives. Based on this understanding, EI can be measured using different constructs. The psychometric scales are scientific in nature because they adhere to certain principles that make EI a science. However, artists argue that EI is an art because it depends on the cultural and social milieus. According to Kaufmaan and Beghetto (2009) EI, which is an aspect of emotion helps individuals to navigate through the challenges of creative works. In fact, it is argued that one of the ways of increasing EI is engaging with the arts, and appreciating art is daily and professional engagements. Creative ideas and products may be performances, films, or items created. That means as individuals continue engaging with the arts, they develop emotionally and become intelligent (Morris, Urbaniski & Fuller, 2005). As such, EI is an art because it sometimes adheres to the social and cultural norms that are gradually altered with time.
As noted, EI is both a science and an art. EI is applicable in processes that are about understanding situations, making decisions, and solving problems (Cherry, 2019). It indicates that EI enables a leader to learn more about a situation and become oriented to the issue or the problem that is being faced. While involving bank workers, Mohona Biswas, Shameema Ferdausy, and Sahidur Rahman (2017) found out that the EI components such as; self-awareness, self-regulation, and social skills have a positive correlation with problem-solving. They showed that a person with the skills is able to identify challenges and can design strategies to address them. They added that business organizations should focus on improving the workers’ EI skills for them to become better at solving major issues and problems.
Biswas, Ferdausy, and Rahman (2017) emphasized on the importance of the skills in the evaluation of a problem before it can be addressed. They asserted that skills, such as social skills enable a person to establish teams and support systems that can help with the identification of issues leading to a particular problem. The researchers make it clear that a leader cannot learn about the problems and issues on their own, hence it is important they exhibit skills that create a support system that enables them evaluate issues fast and efficiently. These findings are consistent with those showed by Zahra Arefnasab, Hosein Zare, and Abdolreza Babamahmoodi (2012). The researchers showed that individuals with a high level of EI were better at solving problems when compared to those with low EI. The authors also showed that individuals with a high EI level exhibited insight when solving a problem. It means that they could understand the underlying issues that led to the problem and could work with teams that helped address the problems.
Underlying EI competencies are depicted as core skills that enable a person to solve a particular problem. A majority of the research studies do not pay attention to the specific leadership skills, but on the core skills under EI that helps a party solve a certain problem. Raquel Gilar-Corbi et al., (2019) shows that managers with EI skills such as listening and communication skills are likely to solve many problems that are experienced during the performance. The authors stressed on the importance of learning and understanding the problem before planning on how to address it. They added that such processes are usually influenced by the relations a leader or a manager has established with colleagues and the junior workers. The EI skills are essential in the establishment of such relations.
The existing literature does not clearly examine the leadership styles that individuals can adopt in order to learn more about the presenting situations. However, the literature shows that a manager or a leader needs to establish effective interactions with individuals and teams that serve as a support system for understanding a particular situation. In most cases, the manager is not available in every section, hence may have difficulties understanding a situation (Flynn, 2008). When working on their own, they will need to spend much time learning about a situation, which may subsequently impact their overall effectiveness and efficiency (Osmani & Maliqi, 2012). However, such an issue can be addressed by styles such as affiliative leadership, which has underlying EI competencies, such as empathy, communication skills, and building relationships (Goleman, 2000). It enables the leader to establish and sustain interpersonal relationships that are geared towards better and improved performance as well as problem solving. From the literature, such an approach is considered overall important in understanding and providing solutions to issues experienced by leaders and managers.
In relation to the work environments, managing people is both a science and an art. As noted, it is a science because managers or leaders have to analyze the situation before making some management decisions. Management is evaluated based on how it increases the effectiveness and performance of the organization; therefore, effective managers will learn to control and influence the emotions of their followers in order to success. Different techniques may be used to influence emotions. According to Goleman (2011) management of people is characterized by challenges that include emotional distress; however, managers should continuously motivate their employees in order to increase performance.
According to different authors reviewed, emotional intelligence is both an art and a science. An art because of inability to be guided by specific principles and rules; however, it is a science because its effects can be proven in different settings. The different levels of emotional intelligence influence different aspects of an individual. For instance emotions and moods such as fear, anger, and happiness influence how individuals behave and make decisions. In leadership and managerial positions, the continuous interactions with followers and subordinates may trigger different contrasting emotions due to the differences in interactions (Goleman 2011). However, an effective leader should be emotionally intelligent to control, manage his or her own emotions, and influence the emotions of the followers so that it does not negatively affect their performance at any given time. That means emotional intelligence is important in workplaces in a number of ways; first it enhances communication skills and relationships in workplaces. Leaders and managers with high emotional intelligence are good at solving conflicts, making better decisions, responding to constructive criticism and maintaining composure while under pressure.
To learn about situations and address the various issues and problems, a manager or a leader needs to exhibit certain competencies under the EI. The working environment has become too diverse and complex, meaning a manager may not necessarily make follow-ups and learn about the specific aspects of performance. They need to work with teams that not only provide support but also insights that can be acted on. Such a culture can only be accomplished if the leaders can establish strong and goal-oriented relationships with their colleagues and subjects. Going forward, it is a consideration that should be made by the modern business organizations
Notably, the ability to control and manage others’ and ones’ emotions can be acquired through learning the different categories of emotional intelligence. For example, an individual who learns about motivation, which is one of the categories of EI focuses on achieving the specified goals for their own sake. In workplaces, such individuals do not need to be extrinsically motivated by material or non-material benefits in order to work. One of the ways of enhancing motivation is learning to focus on what is appealing in the work, and learning to maintain positive attitude among others.
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