Emotional intelligence in organizations

By on February 29, 2012

When it comes to evaluating leadership traits among employees in an organization, the factors that are mostly considered include determination, vision, ability to inspire, intelligence and confidence. But in current turbulent business environments, such an evaluation may not lead to the selection of best leaders. Frequently changing external environments, cut-throat competition in the marketplaces, organizational politics, internal conflicts, and peer pressure are some reasons behind increasing employees’ stress. Latest researches have emphasized rising stress levels as one of the vital causes for high employee’ turnover rates. As such, the leaders with high IQ (Intelligence Quotient) but low EQ (Emotional Intelligence) may find it difficult to cope up with such situations.

Daniel Goleman first introduced the concept of “Emotional Intelligence” to masses in the year 1995. Though the term ‘emotional intelligence’ has been defined differently by experts, an easy and comprehensive definition is provided by Wharam. He says it is, “The potential to be aware of and use one’s own emotions in communication with oneself and others and to manage and motivate oneself and others through understanding emotions.” Emotional intelligence is many times referred to as ‘non-intellective abilities’ also. Today, the environments are changing frequently and the employees are highly aware of opportunities and rights. As such if they are to be motivated to follow the change, technical knowledge of the leader is not sufficient. Lasting change occurs only when the core values and beliefs of employees are influenced. Here comes the role of emotional intelligence.

Emotionally intelligent leaders maintain good personal relations with the people they are leading. This gives them an idea of what these people think on different matters and thus it becomes easy to motivate them to follow the change. Such leaders create an amicable work environment and thus employees enjoy the work. The stress levels are low as emotionally intelligent leaders carefully handle the emotions of their team. Referring to the power of emotional intelligence, Brazzel has said that emotional intelligence may lead to thinking in extraordinary ways.

Goleman in this reference says that effective leaders are distinguished by a high degree of emotional intelligence. He has said that of all the skills needed to succeed in business and life; over 60% of skills are emotional. Experts like Weschler and Cherniss have also supported the assessment of non-intellective abilities in addition to the intellective skills to judge general intelligence of an individual. In recent years emotional intelligence is emphasized as one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures. Emotional intelligence is said to play a significant role in shaping up the thought process and decisions of an individual. Thus, there is a need to consider emotional intelligence as an essential leadership trait in all kinds of organizations.


  • Wharam, J. (2008). Emotional Intelligence: Journey to the Centre of Yourself. O Books.
  • Jones, B.B. & Brazzel, M. (2006). The NTL Handbook of Organization Development and Change: Principles, Practices, and Perspectives. Pfeiffer.