Emotional intelligence (EI) is regarded as one of the important components of effective leadership. Batool (2013) points to the strong link between EI and leadership style. It is also found that leaders tend to receive higher EI scores than their followers (Siegling, Nielsen & Petrides 2014). Being a Human Resources specialist, I have to interact with all employees, helping them function effectively in our company. I often have to help in addressing conflict situations and helping teams work properly. In order to better understand my leadership style and the areas to improve, I have completed an EI test. My scores were rather high as I had 8 in self-awareness, 7 in self-management, 9 in social awareness, and 6 in relationship management. In this paper, I will consider social awareness and relationship management in relation to my leadership style as one of these quadrants reveals my strengths while another one indicates some points for improvement.
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Emotional Intelligence: Social Awareness and Relationship Management
The quadrants in question are associated with the individual’s ability to understand their team and manage it. The dimension of social awareness is characterized by three competencies, including organizational awareness, service orientation, and empathy (Pinos et al., 2013). Organizational awareness is associated with comprehension of the processes that take place in the life of the organization. Empathy is related to understanding other people and their values and interests. Service orientation is the ability to identify and meet people’s needs. The domain of relationship management involves such competencies as visionary leadership, developing others, influence, change catalyst, conflict management, creating ties, collaboration. This aspect is of paramount importance for managing teams and leading followers.
My Past Experiences and EI Skills
I cannot say the results of the EI exercise are surprising. I have appropriate self-reflection skills and able to contemplate my strengths and weakness, competencies, and skills to acquire. Importantly, the analysis of the self and past experiences is one of the essential skills for leaders (Gautier 2016). It is critical to reveal one’s traits, strengths, and weaknesses since this knowledge will help in leading others and contributing to the development of effective organizational culture. My self-awareness skills have enabled me to understand the way I identify the changes that occur in the organization and working environment, as well as the way I manage some of these processes.
First, I would like to consider my social awareness competencies as I excel in this area. Since my school years, it has been quite easy for me to identify some trends emerging in teams and different social groups. Sometimes I could simply feel that a conflict situation is about to arise. One of the illustrations of my ability to understand organizations (organizational culture, employees’ needs, and existing issues) is my work as a trainer. I was to run several training sessions aimed at developing communication skills in our employees. According to my discussions with employees, we had no issues or conflicts as all saw their working environment as favorable. Pinos et al. (2013) note that conversations with others and the discussion of their competencies, experiences, and work-related problems can help followers to self-reflect and identify their strengths and weaknesses. Clearly, such talks are only a part of managing groups as people often try to conceal their true attitudes. Some training tasks helped me unveil the tension existing in our organization.
I grouped the employees into different teams, which was instrumental in identifying the problems that had not been apparent. Two employees had strong leadership skills, which is beneficial for the company. Nevertheless, both of these individuals had quite different visions and approaches to addressing assignments. When these people were in one group, their team always failed to perform well, while their teams managed to excel when they led others. Being a transformational leader, I tried to talk to the two leaders and draw their attention to their strong leadership skills and the lack of teamwork skills. Transformational leaders try to transform their followers’ attitudes and encourage them to change some behaviors (Pinos et al., 2013). I was not sure this brief discussion could solve the problem, so I addressed the head of the department and shared my observations. I recommended he avoid placing the two employees in one team.
As seen from the outcome mentioned above, I have rather a weak relationship management skills. I simply revealed my concerns and let another person resolve the conflict that could emerge. Schlaerth, Ensari, and Christian (2013) state that the ability to address conflicts effectively correlates with emotional intelligence. The existing research shows that people who have high scores are more successful in treating conflict situations. At the same time, it is still unclear which sub-dimensions are crucial for this ability. I believe relationship management is the central domain for conflict resolution that can affect the overall performance of a leader.
I can analyze another situation to identify the competency that is the least developed. It was not paid work as I volunteered to handle an event for a minority group. The members of my team were committed to the goals of the project and shared similar values, which made our cooperation rather easy. However, some people had their own vision of what to focus on. At the stage of planning, I managed to be inspiring as all team members seemed engaged and cooperative. Some people had certain fears as to their prior knowledge and the lack of skills, but being a transformational leader, I provided the necessary materials and links for them to gain the necessary information. We also had some discussions where we addressed some of the most sensitive areas. I also was a change catalyst as we tried to find new approaches to handling quite a routine set of activities. All these competencies are important elements of relationship management (Pinos et al., 2013). I was quite successful in inspiring, developing people, and facilitate change.
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At the same time, I failed to send clear messages as team members had another view on the importance of different activities. Although the conflicts that arose did not have negative effects on the event, I still failed to solve them effectively. I just avoided them as I feared making things worse. Therefore, the claim by Schlaerth, Ensari, and Christian (2013) is relevant, and it is necessary to identify the effects each dimension has on specific leadership skills.
On balance, I would like to note that this self-reflection helped me see exact gaps in my knowledge. I have felt I had some issues with conflict management, but I still hoped that my ability to understand people could suffice to be an effective leader. However, now I see that it is essential to develop relationship management skills. I will concentrate on my communication skills (sending clear messages) and conflict management. Clearly, I will also try to improve my competencies associated with other dimensions.
Batool, BF 2013, ‘Emotional intelligence and effective leadership, Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, vol. 4, no. 3, pp. 84-94.
Gautier, C 2015, The psychology of work: insights into successful working practices, Kogan Page, Philadelphia, PA.
Pinos, V, Twigg, NW, Parayitam, S & Olson, BJ 2013, ‘Leadership in the 21st century: the effect of emotional intelligence, Electronic Business Journal, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 59-72.
Schlaerth, A, Ensari, N & Christian, J 2013, ‘A meta-analytical review of the relationship between emotional intelligence and leaders’ constructive conflict management, Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 126-136.
Siegling, AB, Nielsen, C & Petrides, VK 2014, ‘Trait emotional intelligence and leadership in a European multinational company,’ Personality and Individual Differences, vol. 65, pp. 65-68.