Chicago School of Professional Psychology
This paper will encompass a discussion about emotional intelligence (E.I.), its varied definitions, applications to leadership, and potential areas of concern. It begins by outlining the ability-based model of E.I. set forth by Mayer, Caruso, and Salovey and their Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale. Next, the mixed and trait-based constructs of emotional intelligence are discussed by examining Daniel Goleman’s definition of E.I., along with some of his claims about its effects on leadership in the workplace. From a scientific standpoint, relationships between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership are examined by reviewing a meta-analysis by Harms and Credé. Finally, there is a discussion about the implications that emotional intelligence is still not completely established as a scientifically established construct, and an example of the potential for misuse of emotional intelligence is given.
The Effects of Emotional Intelligence on Leadership
One of the hottest topics incorporating psychology in business in recent years has been the application of Emotional Intelligence to the workplace. In his best-selling book from 1996, Daniel Goleman brought the concept into popular culture with his publication of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ. Subsequently, lots of focus has been put into how skills used for understanding, interpreting, and managing emotions can affect performance in the workplace. This paper will describe some of the implications of the research involving emotional intelligence and leadership, how it can be improved, and some of the potential downfalls associated with giving too much emphasis to this popular construct. Defining Emotional Intelligence
The idea that human intelligence is more than a single measurable trait of problem solving like IQ has been a common theme in psychology since the publication of Howard Gardner’s book, Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences. His work extended the range of measurable human attributes to different areas such as musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic and mathematical or logical skills (Gardner, 1983). Building on that concept and other earlier attempts to describe an aptitude for social abilities, the researchers Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (1990) established a widely used definition for emotional intelligence as “…an ability to recognize the meaning of emotions and their relationships, and to reason and problem-solve on the basis of them.” From that basis, they created the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS), which is a standardized test of this capacity that shows divergent validity with other tests of personality and measures of well being (Mayer, Caruso and Salovey, 2000). Their work has helped to establish emotional intelligence as a scientifically based concept rather than simply a phenomenon of “pop-psychology.” The Ability-Based Model
The MEIS is a test of abilities that can be directly assessed rather than relying solely on self-reports of a person’s belief about their emotion-related abilities. This component of the test is one of the ways Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey (2000) have established emotional intelligence as a legitimate measure of intelligence. Their conception of emotional intelligence integrates four abilities of increasing complexity: perception and appraisal of emotion, assimilating emotions into cognitive abilities, understand and reasoning about emotions, and the management and regulation of emotions. By restricting the concept of E.I. to these four measurable characteristics, the researchers were able to show convergent validity between the different measures of E.I. as well as minor correlations with other established measures of intelligence (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000). These findings help to establish the ability-based...