A relatively new field in psychology, emotional intelligence (EI) first emerged in the early 1990’s (Fukuda, et al., 2011). EI is generally put into four categories which are self-evaluation, evaluation of others emotions, regulation of emotion and use of emotion. Different levels of emotional intelligence may affect leadership, high achievement and family life among people of different genders, ages and cultural backgrounds (Margavio, Margavio, Hignite, & Moses). The society will greatly benefit from research advancements in the field of EI because EI plays a major role in the financial and personal success of high achievers and leaders.
Gender and cultural background have proven to be effective measures of EI and require further research. There is a need to establish an effective measurement of EI with applicability across cultures and other demographic groups because this will help us better understand the relationship between EI and different demographics.
Benefits of Emotional Intelligence Training
EI training of employees by businesses would lead to happier, more productive, and more efficient workers. Today work ethic, perseverance and single-mindedness are seen as key elements of success in life and business but EI is rarely included in the list of characteristics essential to success. Research shows that EI boosts chances of success and its absence may hinder future prospects.
High achievers often show resistance to EI. Sean McCann gives the example of Kevin, who is in late 30s and have been successful in everything from athletics and academia to business. But interviews show Kevin resists emotional awareness of self and others because he perceives emotional weaknesses as a personal failure (McCann, April 2009).
Many high performers believe emotional factors should not shape decision-making as well as their professional lives and adopt hostile and single-minded behavior. This behavior may yield short-term successes but ultimately leads to isolation from peers and negatively affects one’s long term prospects. Kevin, McCann responded well to EI counseling and became more self-confident and happier.
EI also helps predict transformational leadership (Lopez-Zafra, Garcia-Ratamero, & Martos, 2012). Transformational leadership improves subordinates’ morale through use of different motivational techniques. Transformation leadership requires understand others’ emotions and being able to effectively respond to them.
Higher EI also decreases the amount of work-family interference (Cheung & So-kum Tang, 2012). Workers who cannot express their emotions at work tend to release negative emotions at home and it often leads to emotional dissonance. EI training will help workers effectively deal with emotions at workplace and reduce work-family interference. Studies show EI can be cultivated from a young age in school children (Mavroveli & Sanchez-Ruiz, 2011) as well as in middle of life (McCann, April 2009).
Cheung, F. Y., & So-kum Tang, C. (2012). The Effect of Emotional Dissonance and Emotional Intelligence on Work–Family Interference. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science, 44 (1), pp. 50-58.
Fukuda, E., Saklofske, D., Tamaoka, K., Fung, T., Miyaoka, Y., & Kiyama, S. (2011). Factor Structure of Japanese Versions of Two Emotional Intelligence Scales. International Journal of Testing.
Lopez-Zafra, E., Garcia-Ratamero, R., & Martos, M. (2012). The relationship between transformational leadership and emotional intelligence from a gendered approach. The Psychological Record, pp. 97-114.
Margavio, T., Margavio, G., Hignite, M., & Moses, D. (n.d.). An Analysis of Chinese Business Students’ Performance on a Test of Emotional Intelligence. College Student Journal.
Mavroveli, S., & Sanchez-Ruiz, M. (2011). Trait emotional intelligence influences on academic achievement and school behaviour. British Journal of Educational Psychology, pp. 112-134.
McCann, S. (April 2009). Performance Psychology in Action: Casebook for Working With Athletes, Performing Artists, Business Leaders, and Professionals in High-Risk Occupations. American Psychological Association.