Chapter 3 – Project Manager as a Leader

3.7. In-depth Look: Emotional Intelligence

In-depth Look

Emotional Intelligence

Emotions play an important role in humans because it influences how we perceive, understand, and respond to our surroundings. Emotion was derived from the Latin word emovare which means to change or to move constantly (Gonzalez, 2019a). Humans create their personalities out of emotions which has formed a major part in the growth of learning. It is for the reason scientists began to study the abilities and capacities of humans to reason and understand their own emotions. Humans can efficiently perceive emotions, regulate, and control them.

Wayne Payne is said to have first coined the term Emotional Intelligence (EI) for the first time in 1986 when he wrote his doctoral thesis. He defined Emotional intelligence as the ‘study of emotion: building emotional intelligence; self-integration, connecting to fear, pain, and desire’ (Gonzalez, 2019b).

His work was improved by two psychologists, John Mayer and Peter Salovey, in 1990. They defined Emotional intelligence as a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to control one’s moods and emotions. As well to control other’s emotions, distinguish between different emotions, and utilize that information to guide one’s thinking and behaviour (Gonzalez, 2019b). Both psychologists realized that humans must be able to handle their own and others’ emotions. Since 1990, there has been a surge in interest in learning more about EI and how it affects perception and behavior. Salovey and Mayer were the two key contributors to the introduction of emotional intelligence into academic literature. Based on the findings of the studies, the theorists concluded that components of Emotional Intelligence appear to be talents that can be tested (Broughton, 2017). EI has emerged as a promising new category for understanding behavioral diversity in recent years. Training approaches are being used in companies to help employees become aware of their emotions and develop specific abilities. The concept of EI has piqued the interest of many scholars, and as the field’s study has progressed, so has our knowledge of it (Surti & Gangal, 2021).

The concept of Emotional intelligence (EI) was later popularized and improved in 1995 by Dr. Daniel Goleman in his book Emotional Intelligence. According to Cole, there are five elements of EI:

  1. Self-awareness: This refers to the ability to understand how one feels at any time and the impact that mood has on others.
  2. Self-regulation: This includes regulating or channeling one’s emotions, as well as predicting consequences before acting on impulse.
  3. Motivation: Motivation is the process of achieving objectives, and enduring challenges while learning.
  4. Empathy: Empathy means recognizing the feelings of others and reacting positively.
  5. Social Skills: Social skills include managing relationships, motivating individuals, and eliciting desired behaviours from them (Cole, n.d.).

Emotional intelligence (EI) can be referred to as the ability to sense, control and assess emotions. Emotionally intelligent people can relate to others with empathy and understanding and use their emotional awareness to guide their actions and conduct.

Even though the theory of Emotional Intelligence emerged as a new theory, it had its roots on other similar theories and concepts. Theorists like Gardner (1983) advocated more comprehensive methods to understand general intelligence because of the quest to comprehend social intelligence (Fiori & Vesely-Maillefer, 2018). Even though ideas of emotional intelligence were only developed in 1990, there has been a lot of research and writing on the subject since then.

Although no direct correlations have been shown, studies have demonstrated that those with high EI have better mental health, work performance, and leadership abilities. Empathy is often related with EI because it requires a person to connect their own personal experiences and with those of others. Individuals aiming to become more successful leaders have been looking for ways to enhance EI since it became prominent in the last several decades (Emotional Intelligence, 2022).

The major takeaway from the theory of EI is that controlling your thoughts, understanding your own and others’ emotions, cultivating a positive attitude, and allowing your conduct to impact the climate at work are all ways to improve.

Some of the most common criticisms of EI is that it merely evaluates adherence to social norms rather than any talent or ability (Grensing-Pophal, 2019). Three other criticisms include not being properly defined, poorly measured, and individuals can fake high intelligence quotient.

According to a research paper by Frank Romanelli, Cain and Smith, (2006) it was questioned whether Emotional Intelligence (EI) was a requirement in academics. The studies showed that in professional fields such as medicine, law, and organizational fields such as Human Resource Management, there is a necessity for learning EI. When dealing with a doctor or lawyer there is a necessity to understand the patient or a victim. In the case of HR, this can be a requirement for recruiting the right person into the organization.

In a study conducted by Drigas and Papoutsi (2019), they tried to find out if Human Resource professionals must have Emotional Intelligence (EI) and if it has any importance in the field. The study suggested Human Resources Specialists who are highly Emotionally Intelligent could select and recruit people with good leadership qualities. Apart from this, they were excellent trainers in their field. It was concluded that Human Resources Specialists ought to include the EI model in their practice for better judgment.

Class of 2022 Contributions: Olabisi dada, Naimy Benny, Devika Chandran Thai Valappil, Varum Thomas, Elohor Nomuoja, Akanksha Akanksha