Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Emotional Intelligence and Positive Organizational Leadership: A Conceptual Model for Positive Emotional Influence

Academic journal article Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management

Emotional Intelligence and Positive Organizational Leadership: A Conceptual Model for Positive Emotional Influence

Article excerpt

The Traditional Approach to EI

Emotional intelligence has been an intensely debated topic since it's rise to public awareness with Goleman's (1995) popular work by the same name. The intensity with which this topic is discussed is evident by the inability of top researchers and minds to agree on a definition for emotional intelligence. Thus, for the purpose of defining EI, we will begin with a definition that is perhaps most shared among the different schools of thought. At its most fundamental level, emotional intelligence relates to the use of the components of mind associated with emotion as opposed to purely rational thought in the application of intelligence. That said, the division emerges relative to whether scholars argue for purely emotional ability based models of EI or whether they promote mixed models that integrate emotional and rational components of intelligence and personality (Walter et al., 2011). These mixed model approaches include any models which measure traits or broader competencies. Thus they are also sometimes referred to as trait models.

Supporters of ability-based models define emotional intelligence as an ability or set of abilities which determines ones effectiveness in dealing with emotion. Mayer and Salovey (1993), the primary advocates of this school of thought, defined emotional intelligence as, "a type of social intelligence that involves the ability to monitor one's own and others' emotions, to discriminate among them, and to use the information to guide one's thinking and actions. The scope of emotional intelligence includes the verbal and nonverbal appraisal and expression of emotion, the regulation of emotion in the self and others, and controversy the utilization of emotional content in problem solving" (p. 433). This model was later expanded to include four key behavioral components 'reflectively regulating emotions," "understanding emotions," "assimilating emotion in thought," and "perceiving and expressing emotion" (Mayer, Caruso, & Salovey, 2000, p. 269).

These models suggest that emotional intelligence should focus primarily, if not solely, on the purely emotional components of mind as a subcomponent of the broader concept of emotional intelligence. They argue that their perspective is grounded in sturdy scientific research and careful operationalization of the concept. Furthermore, they argue that "definitions of Emotional Intelligence should in some way connect emotions with intelligence if the meanings of the two terms are to be preserved" (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). Thus they suggest a close relation between emotional intelligence and Gardner's intrapersonal intelligence and have sought to establish EI as an intelligence (Gardner, 1983, 1999, 2004; Mayer et al., 2000; Mayer & Salovey, 1993). Walter et al. (2011) summarized many similar definitions from the ability-based perspective, offering that those who take this perspective hold a literal view of the term emotional intelligence. Thus they are concerned when emotional intelligence is "conceptualized (particularly in popular literature) as involving much more than ability at perceiving, assimilating, understanding, and managing emotions" (Mayer et al., 2000).

The mixed-model perspective argues that there is something missing from the definition offered by the ability-based models. They suggest that it is incomplete, or possibly lacking in depth. The mixed-model definition of emotional intelligence does not discriminate between emotional intelligence and the broader concept of social intelligence, but combines them as one, Emotional-Social Intelligence (Bar-On, 2006; Bar-On, Maree, & Elias, 2007). As Bar-on (2007) explained, "People who are emotionally and socially intelligent are able to understand and express themselves, to understand and relate well to others, and to successfully cope with the demands of daily life. . . . to do this effectively, they need to manage emotions and be sufficiently optimistic, positive, and self-motivated" (p. …

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