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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Emotional Intelligence - Emotions

Emotional Intelligence - EI - is a relatively recent behavioural model, rising to prominence with Daniel Goleman's 1995 Book called 'Emotional Intelligence'. The early Emotional Intelligence theory was originally developed during the 1970s and 80s by the work and writings of psychologists Howard Gardner (Harvard), Peter Salovey (Yale) and John 'Jack' Mayer (New Hampshire). Emotional Intelligence is increasingly relevant to organizational development and developing people, because the EI principles provide a new way to understand and assess people's behaviours, management styles, attitudes, interpersonal skills, and potential. Emotional Intelligence is an important consideration in human resources planning, job profiling, recruitment interviewing and selection, management development, customer relations and customer service, and more.

Ever since the publication of Daniel Goleman‟s first book on the topic in 1995, emotional intelligence has become one of the hottest buzzwords in corporate America. For instance, when the Harvard Business Review published an article on the topic two years ago, it attracted a higher percentage of readers than any other article published in that periodical in the last 40 years. When the CEO of Johnson & Johnson read that article, he was so impressed that he had copies sent out to the 400 top executives in the company worldwide.

"Emotional intelligence is the capacity for recognizing our own feelings and those of others, for motivating ourselves, for managing emotions well in ourselves and in our relationships." (Snow, 2001)

Vitello – Cicciu (2002)

“Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage ourselves and our relationship effectively. Each capability is composed of a set of competencies. Emotional intelligence skills and cognitive skills are synergistic top performers have both? The more complex the job, the more emotional intelligence matters… Emotional competencies cluster into groups… each is based on a common underlying emotional intelligence capacity. The underlying emotional intelligence capacities are vital if people are to successfully learn the competencies necessary to succeed in the workplace. (For example) if they are deficient in social skills, they will be inept at persuading or inspiring others, at leading teams or catalyzing change. If they have little self-awareness, they will be oblivious to their own weaknesses and lack the self confidence that comes from certainty about their strength. None of us is perfect in using all of the emotional competencies. We inevitably have a profile of strengths and limits. However, the ingredients for outstanding performance require only that we have strengths in a given number of these competencies (at least six or so), and that the strengths are spread across all four areas of emotional intelligence.”

History of Emotional Intelligence

When psychologists began to write and think about intelligence, they focused on cognitive aspects, such as memory and problem-solving. However, there were researchers who recognized early on that the non-cognitive aspects were also important. For instance, David Wechsler defined intelligence as "the aggregate or global capacity of the individual to act purposefully, to think rationally, and to deal effectively with his environment". As early as 1940 he referred to "non-intellective" as well as "intellective" elements, by which he meant affective, personal, and social factors. Furthermore, as early as 1943 Wechsler was proposing that the non-intellective abilities are essential for predicting one‟s ability to succeed in life. He wrote:

The main question is whether non-intellective, that is affective and cognitive abilities, are admissible as factors of general intelligence. The contention has been that such factors are not only admissible but necessary. I have tried to show that in addition to intellective there are also definite non-intellective factors that determine intelligent behaviour. If the foregoing observations are correct, it follows that we cannot expect to measure total intelligence until our tests also include some measures of the non-intellective factors [Wechsler, 1943)

Wechsler was not the only researcher who saw non-cognitive aspects of intelligence to be important for adaptation and success. Robert Thorndike, to take another example, was writing about "social intelligence" in the late thirties. Unfortunately, the work of these early pioneers was largely forgotten or overlooked until 1983 when Howard Gardner began to write about "multiple intelligence." Gardner proposed that "intrapersonal" and "interpersonal" intelligences are as important as the type of intelligence typically measured by IQ and related tests.

Now let us switch our historical lens to I/O psychology. In the 1940s, under the direction of Hemphill, the Ohio State Leadership Studies suggested that "consideration" is an important aspect of effective leadership. More specifically, this research suggested that leaders who are able to establish "mutual trust, respect, and a certain warmth and rapport" with members of their group will be more effective. At about the same time, the Office of Strategic Services developed a process of assessment based on the earlier work of Murray that included the evaluation of non-cognitive, as well as cognitive, abilities. This process evolved into the "assessment center," which was first used in the private sector at AT&T in 1956. Many of the dimensions measured in assessment centers then and now involve social and emotional competencies such as communication, sensitivity, initiative, and interpersonal skills.

Emotional Intelligence in Organization

Based on Goleman's work, intelligence in business settings typically manifests itself through four intertwined characteristics:

Ø  A strong sense of self-empowerment and self-regulation, which together helps employees to make decisions right on the spot if that should be necessary
Ø  A positive outlook, promoting constructive responses to the challenges of work
Ø  An awareness of your own and other people's feelings, creating empathy and facilitating better conversations with customers
Ø  A mastery of fear and anxiety and the ability to tap into selfless motives, which make it possible for employees to express feelings of empathy and caring

To no small degree, these can be intrinsic features of a human being's personality. Even so, companies – particularly those with far-flung networks of thousands or even tens of thousands of employees – can take practical steps to encourage and enhance them.

Companies can begin by hiring emotionally intelligent frontline employees in the first place: a business starts with an obvious advantage if it can attract people born or brought up with the right emotional instincts for frontline employment. Many companies can ride on the coattails of others with first-rate customer-facing skills, since the latter have already identified the most suitable type of employee for the work. More than half of the branch managers hired by Bank of America in 2004, for instance, came from retailers (such as Best Buy, The Gap, and Safeway) outside of financial services. According to the bank, "They get the retail mind-set and we get them to understand banking. They like being up on their feet and don't want to sit behind a desk."

Emotional Intelligence: Indian Perspective:

The importance of both emotion and intelligence in making decisions and achieving success in life was well-accepted in ancient India. A concept of “Sthitha-prajna” (emotional stability), similar to the concept of emotional intelligence, can be traced in the second chapter of „Srimad Bhagavad-Gita'. Bhagavad Gita is a specific conversation between Lord Krishna and Arjuna (third Pandava prince) in a specific situation of Kurukshetra battlefield.
Pandavas were fighting against the Kauravas, the cousin brothers to restore their kingdom from Kauravas in Kurukshetra. Before the battle started, Arjuna, with deep sorrow and pity, found his close relatives, friends and respected 'gurus' in enemy's side. To win the battle he was supposed to kill those beloved ones. He got confused about his rightful duty. Due to this hriday-durbalata (heart-non-strength), he refused to join the battle. In this context, Lord Krishna who played the role as the driver of Arjuna's chariot, enlightened him about the eternal truth of life.

According to Lord Krishna, as mentioned in Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna suffered from indecisiveness resulting from confusion and a false sense of insecurity. Lord Krishna advised Arjuna to become 'Sthitha-prajna' (the steady minded person). He also told that an individual achieved his/her goal only when the mind became steady, poised and balanced. Evidently, the concept of “Sthitha-prajna” (the steady-minded person) talked about a unique interdependence between emotion and intelligence for effective decision-making which was most essential in excelling in every sphere of life. Gita, as a whole, advises all to balance between intelligence and emotion.

Similar views on the role of emotional intelligence as a learning process for achieving a balanced personality in different stages of life on an inter-generational basis has been depicted in the Vedas. In particular, Dr. Radhakrishnan, in his book, „The Hindu View of Life‟ (1927) opined that the attitude of the Vedas is one of trust tempered by criticism. „Trust, because, whatever the older generation hold, may be true, and criticism because, however, plausible the testimonies of the old views may be, it cannot deny the present of its right to enquire and sift the evidence‟. This view aptly points out the need for emotional intelligence in everyday life to become more emotionally balanced and functional individuals in society.

"Emotional intelligence is an aggregate of individuals‟ cognition of own and others' emotions, feeling, interpretation and action as per environmental demand to manipulate the consequence which in turn result in superior performance and better human relationship‟ (Bhattacharya, 2003). Emotional intelligence is a measure of the degree to which a person makes use of his/her reasoning in the process of emotional responses (both positive and negative) in a given situation. So having high emotional intelligence doesn't mean that the person never panics or loses his/her temper. It does mean that he / she brings own feelings under control and channels them into productive behaviors. The ability to bring out-of-control emotions back into line results in what earlier generations called emotional maturity.

Goleman’s Model of Emotional Intelligence

Daniel Goleman and the Hay Group have identified a set of competencies that differentiate individuals with Emotional Intelligence. The competencies fall into four clusters:

Ø  Self-Awareness: Capacity for understanding one's emotions, one's strengths, and one's weaknesses.
Ø  Self-Management: Capacity for effectively managing one's motives and regulating one's behavior.
Ø  Social Awareness: Capacity for understanding what others are saying and feeling and why they feel and act as they do.
Ø  Relationship Management: Capacity for acting in such a way that one is able to get desired results from others and reach personal goals.

The most popular and accepted mixed model of emotional intelligence is the one proposed by Goleman (1995). He viewed emotional intelligence as a total of personal and social competences. Personal competence determines how we manage ourselves, whereas social competence determines how we handle our interpersonal relationships.

Personal competence

It comprises of three dimensions of emotional intelligence, such as, self-awareness, self-regulation and motivation. Self-awareness is the ability of an individual to observe him/herself and to recognize 'a feeling as it happens' (Goleman, 1995). The hallmarks of this ability are self-confidence, self- assessment and openness to positive criticism. Self-regulation is the ability to control emotions and to redirect those emotions that can have negative impact. Trustworthiness, integrity, tolerance of ambiguity and attitude to accept change are some characteristics of this ability. Motivation is the ability to channelize emotion to achieve a goal through self-control and by moderating impulses as per the requirement of the situation. The people who have this ability are optimistic and committed towards organizational as well as individual goals.

Social competence

It comprises of two dimensions namely, empathy and social skills. Empathy is the ability to feel and get concerned for others, take their perspective and to treat people according to their emotional reactions. People with this ability are experts in generating and motivating others. Social skills are the ability to build rapport and to manage relationships with people. People having this skill are very effective in persuasiveness and team management. „Social skill‟ is the culmination of all other components of emotional intelligence assuming that people can effectively manage social and work relationships only when they can understand and control their own emotion and can emphasize with the feelings of others.

The Assessment of Emotional Intelligence and Competence

Assuming that emotional intelligence is important, the question of assessment and measurement becomes particularly pressing. What does the research suggest about the measurement of emotional intelligence and competence? In a paper published in 1998, Davies, Stankov, & Roberts concluded that there was nothing empirically new in the idea of emotional intelligence. This conclusion was based solely on a review of existing measures purporting to measure emotional intelligence at the point in time when they wrote that paper. However, most of those measures were new, and there was not yet much known about their psychometric properties. Research now is emerging that suggests emotional intelligence, and particularly the new measures that have been developed to assess it, is in fact a distinct entity. However, there still is not much research on the predictive validity of such measures, and this is a serious lack. Let me briefly summarize what we really know about the most popular ones.

The oldest instrument is Bar-On‟s EQ-I, which has been around for over a decade. This self-report instrument originally evolved not out of an occupational context but rather a clinical one. It was designed to assess those personal qualities that enabled some people to possess better "emotional well-being" than others. The EQ-I has been used to assess thousands of individuals, and we know quite a bit about its reliability and its convergent and discriminant validity. Less is known about its predictive validity in work situations. However, in one study the EQ-I was predictive of success for U.S. Air Force recruiters.

A second instrument is the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale. The MEIS is a test of ability rather than a self-report measure. The test-taker performs a series of tasks that are designed to assess the person‟s ability to perceive, identify, understand, and work with emotion. There is some evidence of construct validity, convergent validity, and discriminant validity, but none for predictive validity.

A third instrument is the Emotional Competence Inventory. The ECI is a 360 degree instrument. People who know the individual rate him or her on 20 competencies that Goleman‟s research suggests are linked to emotional intelligence. Although the ECI is in its early stages of development, about 40 percent of the items come from an older instrument, the Self-Assessment Questionnaire, that was developed by Boyatzis. These earlier items had been "validated against performance in hundreds of competency studies of managers, executives, and leaders in North America," Italy, and Brazil. However, there currently is no research supporting the predictive validity of the ECI.

Another measure that has been promoted commercially is the EQ Map. Although there is some evidence for convergent and divergent validity, the data have been reported in a rather ambiguous fashion.

One other measure deserves mention, even though it is less well-known than the others. Schutte, Malouff, Hall, Haggerty, Cooper, Golden, & Dornheim have developed a 33-item self-report measure based on Salovey and Mayer‟s (1990) early work. There is evidence for convergent and divergent validity. Emotional intelligence scores on this measure were positively associated with first-year college grades and supervisor ratings of student counselors working at various mental health agencies. Also, scores were higher for therapists than for therapy clients or prisoners.

Finally, it might be helpful to keep in mind that emotional intelligence comprises a large set of abilities that have been studied by psychologists for many years. Thus, another way to measure emotional intelligence or competence is through tests of specific abilities. Some of these tests seem rather strong. To name just one example, there is Seligman‟s SASQ, which was designed to measure learned optimism and which has been impressive in its ability to identify high performing students, salespeople, and athletes, to name just a few (Schulman, 1995).

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