Emotional Intelligence of Transformational Leaders

Barbuto & Burbach (2006) indicate that emotional intelligence is a prerequisite for strong leadership. This notion has been present within the body of literature on leadership within the past few years. In order to conceptualize this, it is prudent that we operationally define emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence can be thought of as an intricate mix of skills which invariably include the following:

  • The ability to respond to an individual with empathy and understanding
  • The ability to predict changes in moods of individual team members which will prove to be disruptive to the team dynamics
  • The ability to communicate effectively with individuals irrespective of their status within an organizational structure. The aim of this communication is to establish networks and to effectively manage relationships within an organization
  • The ability to self-motivate beyond and go beyond the financial implications of effective leadership
  • The ability of an individual to be in touch with self. Essentially an individual needs to be aware of his/her moods and how they affect the dynamics of the work environment.

The impact of an emotionally intelligent leader can be profound when one examines it within the scope of transformational leadership in that in order for a leader to be effective, he/she has to understand what is going on with the individuals they are charged with leading. In other word, he/she has to understand the strengths and weaknesses of an employee in order to guide that individual along the path which proves to be most beneficial for the company.

This can only be done through empathy as well as the utilization of strong interpersonal skills and an understanding of the moods of their employees. He/she should be cognizant of the fact that moods have a tendency to permeate an organization and spread to other employees within that organization. In addition to the aforementioned factors, it is wise for an individual in a leadership role to be cognizant of his/her emotions and the effect they might have on the company as a whole. Finally, an emotionally intelligent leader has to possess the quality of internal motivation. Essentially, he/she needs to have an internal locus of control which will serve to empower the individuals in their charge.

In examining examples of positive emotions, one can cite the emotions related to a positive mood, disposition and affect. Barbuto & Burbach (2006) credits a positive mood for creating a positive outlook on problems wherein organizational problems are viewed as challenges which can be utilized as a means of gaining the necessary experience to proceed in an informed manner. A positive disposition is seen as the facilitator of stability which impacts the ability to make accurate decision as well as to form stronger interpersonal bond.

A positive affect can work to enhance problem solving skills and the ability to make accurate decisions as well as afford the leader the flexibility to allow other team members to be viable and contributing members of the team by exploiting their strengths.

Reference

Barbuto, J.E. & Burbach, M.E. (2006). The Emotional Intelligence of Transformational Leaders: A Field Study of Elected Officials. The Journal of Social Psychology, 146(1), 51-64.