The premise of emotional intelligence in leadership is that emotional intelligence should be the premise of leadership. Before tasks, followers, goals and styles can be defined or critiqued, the leader’s emotional intelligence must first be assessed (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002, pg 5). Emotional intelligence then becomes the predictor of how effectively the leader will be able to lead in any given situation, set of tasks or followers. In this paper, the author will compare this premise of emotional intelligence with the Leader-member exchange (LMX) theory and the situational approach to leadership (Northouse, 2010). Also, the author will evaluate, in terms of resonance and dissonance, how appropriately an emotional intelligence model would function in a higher education environment.
Emotional intelligence operates under four theoretical domains and their respective competencies that are essentially classified under two divisions: personal competence and social competence (Goleman, et al, 2002, pg. 39). These broader competencies do not describe leadership talents, but learned abilities that describe how effectively the leader manages intrapersonal and interpersonal relationships (Goleman, et al, 2002). The assumption is that if the leader is thoroughly competent in an intrapersonal sense---meaning, among other factors, he or she is appropriately self-aware, transparent and adaptable---the leader will have better interpersonal insight into his or her subordinates (Goleman, et al, 2002). This social competence delineates more specific qualities including a strong sense of empathy, service, influence, and collaboration (Goleman, et al, 2002). In terms of leadership effectiveness, these competencies are not only ideal,...
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...the author believes that the comparison of the Leader-member exchange, the situational approach to leadership, and the premise of emotional intelligence has uncovered important leadership truths that may not be mutually exclusive. Surely the enigma of leadership is that it contains many truths, with the only universal truth being that none are universal, but empirically sound to aid the leader in guiding followers and the institutions they comprise.
Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership, 4th Ed. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Goleman, D., Boyatzis, R., McKee, A. (2002). Primal leadership: Realizing the power of emotional intelligence. Boston: Harvard Business School Publishing.
Northouse, P.G. (2010). Leadership theory and practice. 5th Ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.
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