EQ Competence: Fostering a Talent Advantage that Drives Organizational Performance
Many HR professionals have heard the term Emotional Intelligence before but what is it, really? How can it be used to drive organizational performance? We know it’s related to someone’s behavior and how they interact with others but can fostering this competency in your workforce, especially your senior leadership, accelerate the success of the organization?
Understanding emotional intelligence and how this competency can be leveraged to develop talent is important in today’s competitive business environment.
During this course, we’ll take a close look at what Emotional Intelligence is and is NOT. You’ll gain a high-level understanding of the research and be armed with the knowledge to cut through the hype and clarify myths versus fact. Most importantly, learn what to consider when incorporating the emotional intelligence competency into your talent acquisition and talent development strategies.
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Module: EI Competence
One of the most well established leadership theories is the “Full Range Leadership Theory” which is by Bass and Avolio. This theory is better known for its concepts of “Transformational Leadership” and “Transactional Leadership”. So it is of interest to explore what Emotional Intelligence’s role might be here. Transformational Leaders tend to be perceived as charismatic, confident and inspirational. Transformational Leaders additionally attend to the needs and concerns of their followers, and they get their followers to think more creatively, take risks and share ideas.
Transactional Leadership, on the other hand, consists of 3 leadership factors:
Number 1, Contingent Reward, where the leader sets out clear goals and expectations and then rewards followers efforts accordingly,
Number 2, Management-by-Exception or active, where the leader actively monitors followers for mistakes and proactively redirects or corrects if needed, and
Number 3, Management-by-Exception or passive also known as the “cattle prod” approach, where the leader waits for mistakes to occur and then steps in to take corrective action. There are many published studies demonstrating that leaders who are classified as Transformational Leaders versus Transactional tend to have higher ratings of leadership performance, leader effectiveness, followers’ satisfaction and followers’ motivation.
A meta-analytic study published by Harms and Crede’ in 2010 summarized the results of 62 independent research studies to examine the relationship of Emotional Intelligence and Transformational versus Transactional Leadership. In the study they examined measures of Transformational Leadership and Transactional Leadership. Self-report outcome ratings were across the board found to be moderately related to Emotional Intelligence overall. However, it can be argued that while self-report ratings are easy to collect in these studies, the leader’s perceptions of his or her performance may be skewed, so it is the observer ratings that should be our focus because they are less prone to self-bias of one’s own leadership effectiveness. Hence, we will focus on observer ratings in the study.
Harms and Crede found that overall Emotional Intelligence was weakly but significantly correlated to overall Transformational Leadership ratings as well as the three factors of Transactional Leadership.
So overall, the EI is moderately correlated to transformational leadership similar to the correlation between the Big Five personality factors and Transformational Leadership as reported in the meta-analysis performed by Bono and Judge in their 2004 article. I’ll talk more about the Big Five personality factors in another lesson.
Well, what does all this mean? It means the claims about how EI is more critical than other variables for leadership effectiveness maybe overstated. Clearly EI is related to leadership effectiveness and it does add some value, but it should be considered as one of several tools that you, as HR professionals, would use in the development of leaders.
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Dr. Craig Haas is a Management Consultant and Executive Coach at Advantage Performance Group with over 15 years of experience in helping companies select high quality talent and develop leaders.
His specialty is talent assessment for enterprise wide talent acquisition and leadership development initiatives. Craig is also a talented training facilitator. He also serves as an...