Effective leadership is one of the critical goals of any modern organization. It is not enough to have a person who guides others and gives orders. Leaders must motivate, show how to establish and achieve common goals, and realize when to delegate. In most cases, a perfect leader’s image is based on trust, experience, professionalism, support, and understanding, also known as emotional intelligence. However, leadership continuously develops, so shaping new approaches and implementing changes based on theories cannot be ignored. According to Issah (2018), the impact of emotional intelligence on leadership increases. In this paper, emotional intelligence, as one of the emerging trends in leadership, will be discussed through the prism of Salovey and Mayer’s theory and Goleman’s model.
Today, many people are interested in applying emotional intelligence in different spheres. According to Reshetnikov et al. (2020), this concept is an “indispensable condition” for leaders, regardless of their training and creative abilities. In the corporate world, it is presented as a cognitive ability to recognize and understand emotions for decision-making and problem solving (Maamari & Majdalani, 2016). When leaders apply emotional intelligence in a proper way, they demonstrate control over what they feel and know that their emotions may influence other people. When human feelings and emotions are in a mess at the workplace, it is hard to show high-level performance and achieve the desired outcomes. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to promote a positive work climate and take care of their employees’ well-being.
To better comprehend the implementation of emotional intelligence as an emerging trend in leadership, several theories were introduced at the beginning of the 1990s. The theory of Salovey and Mayer is based on the role of society and human emotions. There are four major abilities for leaders to achieve emotional intelligence: perceive and express persona and other people’s emotions, generate feelings into thoughts, understand emotional knowledge, and use (manage) emotions in actions and thinking (McClellan et al., 2017; Reshetnikov et al., 2020). If these steps are taken correctly, it will be easy to solve problems and make individual or group decisions.
After the first attempts of Salovey and Mayer to define emotional intelligence, another prominent theorist, Goleman, contributed to the development of this leadership trend. He agreed that this ability is critical for effective leaders as it helps handle emotions in different situations (Issah, 2018). However, his theory included five components, namely, self-awareness, self-regulation, self-motivation, empathy, and social skill (Cherniss & Roche, 2020; Issah, 2018; Maamari & Majdalani, 2016). Self-awareness of leaders is their ability to understand someone’s motives, strengths, and weaknesses (Reshetnikov et al., 2020). Motivation is necessary to induce the desire to work, while empathy cannot be neglected because leaders should understand others’ emotions. Self-control and social skills must be developed to manage personal feelings and relationships with a team.
In general, there are many ways of how to demonstrate efficient leadership and establish trustful relationships with employees. The current trend of emotional intelligence is frequently applied in many organizations by people who do not want to neglect their emotions and feelings, even at work. Following the two chosen theories offered by Salovey and Mayer and Goleman, the idea of emotional intelligence in leadership seems to be more than necessary in leadership. It is not only a good chance to cooperate and delegate but also to promote a positive climate and manage emotions.
Cherniss, C., & Roche, C. (2020). Leading with feeling: Nine strategies of emotionally intelligent leadership. Oxford University Press.
Issah, M. (2018). Change leadership: The role of emotional intelligence. SAGE Open, 1-6.
Maamari, B. E., & Majdalani, J. F. (2016). Emotional intelligence, leadership style and organizational climate. International Journal of Organizational Analysis, 25(2), 327-345.
McClellan, J., Levitt, K., & DiClementi, G. (2017). Emotional intelligence and positive organizational leadership: A conceptual model for positive emotional influence. Journal of Behavioral and Applied Management, 17(3), 197-212.
Reshetnikov, V. A., Tvorogova, N. D., Hersonskiy, I. I., Sokolov, N. A., Petrunin, A. D., & Drobyshev, D. A. (2020). Leadership and emotional intelligence: Current trends in public health professionals training. Frontiers in Public Health, 7.