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Emotional Intelligence for Enhancing Leadership


Emotional intelligence refers to an individual’s ability to assess and manage their emotions and those of others. This requires a person to understand themselves on a deeper level and develop the capabilities of comprehending how others feel. By achieving this, people can increase their productivity in any activities they perform, leading to successful outcomes (Pool and Qualter, 2018). Furthermore, knowing how to treat others also enables one to help others achieve their milestones. Emotional intelligence encompasses the ability to guide individual thought processes and decision-making, enhancing leadership skills.

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Models of Emotional Intelligence

The conceptualization of emotional intelligence has been based on scientific research to develop new ways of understanding the concept. These models are based on different researches aimed at better visualization of emotions in human beings. The three main models include Goleman’s performance model, Mayor, Salovey and Caruso’s ability model and Bar-On’s competency model. The models present the views of their authors that build on previous data in the field.

Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Performance Model

The variances present in people are based on a variety of characteristics that they possess. According to Goleman (1995), these differences result in various personalities and attributes that make them unique. Consequently, people can display their emotions differently based on such diverse backgrounds (Gutiérrez-Cobo, Cabello and Fernández-Berrocal, 2017). The ability of emotions to affect individuals’ behavior shows the critical role of emotional intelligence, especially during interactions with other people.


The concept of self-awareness requires an individual to possess the characteristics of emotional awareness and confidence. Understanding personal feelings and why they appear at particular moments creates linkages between actions and their outcomes, which can further explain the effect of such feelings on overall performance (Humphrey, 2008). Additionally, self-confidence promotes decisiveness since such individuals can voice their opinions without fear of contradiction. With such qualities, it becomes possible to learn new things and perspectives previously unknown continually.


This quality involves aspects of self-control where an individual can manage their feelings despite the temptations present. Furthermore, in other situations that require patience, staying calm and composed can help prevent escalation. Apart from that, one can act ethically to ensure that all actions they undertake are in accordance with the set standards. Self-regulation further allows innovations since people can use their creativity to develop original ideas to supplement existing ones. Such new perspectives open up the mind to better ways of doing things, ensuring adaptability in different situations. Ultimately, self-regulation promotes proper handling of shifting priorities and demands in highly changing environments.


The ability to take the initiative and commit to a cause on a personal level displays self-motivation. With such competencies, one can sacrifice individual happiness for an overall group objective. This quality further allows individuals to take risks by handling challenging activities to achieve high results. In the long run, the understanding that challenges and setbacks form part of any experience enables such people to thrive by having the optimism to overcome them.

Social awareness

Social awareness refers to the characteristics that drive associations with others with regard to their relationships. First, the ability to show empathy towards others creates an emotional bond based on understanding other people’s perspectives. The situations requiring attentiveness and sensitivity mostly necessitate a calm personality that takes cognizance of the feelings of others. Secondly, in instances where differences exist among people, having respect for diversity shows tolerance (Miao, Humphrey and Qian, 2017). Lastly, helping others grow and develop in their capacities displays an acknowledgement of their strengths. Through adequate mentorship, others can learn through one on one interactions.

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Social skills

Social skills form an essential part of human interactions through different communication channels. People with such competencies create great leaders since they can easily talk to others and convince them to follow their directions. Moreover, challenging situations require a subtle tone that others can relate to, therefore, such skills complement an individual’s emotional capabilities (Gutiérrez-Cobo, Cabello and Fernández-Berrocal, 2017). This can further enhance collaboration among different people since communications can foster cooperation among members with a common goal. Team interactions are dependent on individual strengths that complement any weaknesses, thus, social skills in members ultimately improve performance.

Bar-On’s EI Competencies Model

This model involves emotional and social competencies that interrelate to determine an individual’s expressions and behavior towards others. Therefore, an individual perceived to be emotionally intelligent must express themselves adequately (Gutiérrez-Cobo et al., 2017). This can only occur once one can understand their internal mechanisms before learning those of others around them. The ability to relate with others ultimately assists with the relations with others, after which one can learn to cope and deal with daily challenges.

The scales developed under this model to measure emotional intelligence include intrapersonal scores, interpersonal scores, stress management, adaptability and general mood scores. Intrapersonal scores refer to aspects of independence and self-awareness to carry out activities. Interpersonal scores include relationships with others that touch on empathy and responsibility to others. On the other hand, stress management scores require an analysis of tolerance and control in the face of adversity, while adaptability involves solving problems and being flexible. Lastly, the general mood affects individual happiness and optimism for a better future. Combining the above aspects develops an emotional intelligence score described as the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) (Miao et al., 2017). By quantifying such models, it becomes easier to measure individual levels of emotional intelligence.

The Bar-On model has demonstrated the capability of significantly impacting different aspects of human performance. Regarding physical health, factors such as managing emotions, handling stress, solving problems, and being optimistic significantly impact it (Pool and Qualter, 2018). Apart from that, psychological health can also be affected by the person’s ability to cope with stress, the drive to accomplish goals and the verification of thoughts and feelings. Other human performance aspects directly involved under the Bar-On model include social interaction, workplace and school performance, self-actualization, and well-being.

Mayer, Salovey and Caruso’s EI Ability Model

Perceive Emotion

Identifying the emotion in themselves and others through verbal and non-verbal cues forms the first branch under this model. This requires a thorough capability to discern whether they are genuine and accurate to develop a complementary response. This enables the person to express their feelings towards something or someone based on the underlying needs of the situation. Perception, in such cases, can create meaningful responses and reactions in accordance to the context of a situation.

Facilitation of Thoughts

Under this branch, an individual can prioritize their thoughts by paying attention to the most critical information. In such cases, emotions play an essential role in aiding the judgement process. One can further highlight different points of view before settling on a decision because various approaches are used to develop viable solutions. The state of mind forms part of the final thought process in human beings.

Understanding Emotions

Interpreting the meanings behind different emotions in accordance with the context forms part of human relationships. Additionally, emotions can further show themselves under different combinations meaning that one can feel love and hate towards another individual at the same time. Such problematic behaviors require an understanding to appropriately recognize them and identify any transitions among them. Such understanding equates to a higher level of emotional intelligence that supersedes basic instincts present in human beings.

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Management of Emotions

Being open-minded enables an individual to engage or detach from situations that require an emotional attachment. Additionally, it further creates rationality whereby people who can easily manage their emotions can reason without feelings clouding their judgements (Pool and Qualter, 2018). In the long run, the ability to enhance any pleasant emotions and continually limit negative ones can help one live a more fulfilling life by pursuing activities that matter the most to the individual.

Critique of the Conceptualizations

The criticisms of Goleman’s emotional intelligence performance model directly lie in the lack of empirical support claimed to determine the factors. A lack of statistical evidence raises questions on consistency, hence lack a basis for the relationships since the arguments supporting Goleman’s theory of emotional intelligence are too broad. For instance, using imprecise terms in the model’s conceptualization makes it challenging to appraise scientifically. Additionally, the model does not purely focus on measuring emotional intelligence but further outlines factors in adaptive functioning such as social skills (McCleskey, 2014). Based on such findings, some aspects, such as motivation, cannot be easily categorized as either emotion or intelligence. However, the idea of the role of such intelligence in job performance is essential since it can improve the field when applied.

On the other hand, Bar-On’s competency model is perceived to be more theoretical than practical in implementation. In his view, emotional intelligence can only be viewed as non-cognitive capabilities, skills and competencies. The addition of problem-solving in the model shows ambiguity since it is widely recognized as a cognitive ability. Moreover, the use of the EQ-i measure was found to have lower validity concerning personality traits (McCleskey, 2014). This shows that there are scales that overlap hence can lead to incorrect scores of emotional intelligence.

Lastly, the Mayer, Salovey and Caruso’s EI ability model developed the MSCEIT test, whose validity scores highly when analyzed. However, questions are raised about the validity of the test. This is because emotional intelligence can be predicted entirely using an individual’s IQ and personality measures as the basis (McCleskey, 2014). Furthermore, other skills such as expression of emotions and behavior cannot be measured using this test, showing failures to some extent. Finally, there also lack information and data on the appraisal of non-verbal abilities, which can provide pertinent information when testing for emotional intelligence.

Role of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence plays a vital role in motivating for individuals to complete tasks and achieve objectives adequately. On an individual level, people who define their personal goals have a deeper understanding of the expected outcomes (Stein, 2017). As such, this creates the required motivation to reach the individual’s aspirations over a set period by mastering the tasks needed to achieve the goals. Therefore, in line with the elements identified by Goleman, these qualities can foster increased productivity.

Leadership provides an opportunity for an individual to take charge of situations and guide others to achieve the group objectives. Leaders are required to display a range of emotions such as pleasure, anger and disappointment with various situations that occur each day in their institutions (Stein, 2017). For instance, employees who do not achieve their targets may elicit feelings of dismay in the leader, while increased revenue may lead to feelings of joy. Therefore, the ability to be flexible enough to pass through the various emotions without negatively impacting the overall effectiveness of the leader shows high emotional intelligence. The emerging leaders must show that they can handle difficult situations without breaking down by first understanding the feelings of others (Burch, Humphrey and Batchelor, 2013). Lastly, effective leadership behavior depends on emotional intelligence that guides interactions with various stakeholders. As a leader, one must understand the cumulative effect of poor emotional behavior that can spread throughout an institution.


Emotional intelligence encompasses the capability to perceive, process and regulate emotion, guiding their thought process and decision-making towards themselves and others. Goleman asserts that the differences in people result in various personalities and attributes that make each unique. On the other hand, Bar-On’s model involves emotional and social competencies that interrelate to determine an individual’s expressions and behavior towards others. Mayer, Salovey and Caruso’s model involves aspects of perceiving emotion, facilitating thoughts, understanding the emotions, and managing them. Ultimately, emotional intelligence motivates for individuals to achieve objectives while also guiding leadership structures on best practices.

Reference List

Burch, G. F., Humphrey, R. H. & Batchelor, J. H. (2013) ‘How great leaders use emotional labor: Insights from seven corporate executives’, Organizational Dynamics, 42(2), pp. 119-125. doi: 10.1016/j.orgdyn.2013.03.005

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Gutiérrez-Cobo, M. J., Cabello, R. & Fernández-Berrocal, P. (2017) ‘The three models of emotional intelligence and performance in a hot and cool go/no-go task in undergraduate students’, Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(33), pp. 1-13. Doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2017.00033

Humphrey, R. H. (ed.) (2008) Affect and emotion: New directions in management theory and research. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing.

McCleskey, J. (2014) ‘Emotional intelligence and leadership: A review of the progress, controversy, and criticism’, International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 22(1), pp. 76-93. doi: 10.1108/IJOA-03-2012-0568

Miao, C., Humphrey, R. & Qian, S. (2017) ‘Are the emotionally intelligent good citizens or counterproductive? A meta-analysis of emotional intelligence and its relationships with organizational citizenship behavior and counterproductive work behavior’, Personality and Individual Differences, 116(1), pp. 144-156. doi: 10.1016/j.paid.2017.04.015

Pool, L. D. & Qualter, P. (2018) An introduction to emotional intelligence. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Stein, S. J. (2017) The EQ leader: Instilling passion, creating shared goals, and building meaningful organizations through emotional intelligence. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

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