8 Emotion and Work: an Innovative Relationship?
Abstract: The current chapter aims to uncover the crucial issues and trends regarding workers’ emotional intelligence at the workplace. The primary objective of this chapter is to review the studies that correlate emotional intelligence with occupational/job performance. The chapter aims to explore the emotional aspects of intelligence and its related outcomes on employees’ performance. Intelligence is considered as an important variable for analyzing workers’ capabilities and behaviors necessary to perform a particular task. It is briefly explained what emotional intelligence (EI) is, how it is measured and why it is important in organizations and, specifically, in occupational performance. The case of leadership is also specified.
The chapter reveals interesting findings about the nature of the relationship between individuals’ emotional intelligence and their respective performance in the workplace. It also opens the way to the development of innovative management practices. The chapter proposes that emotional intelligence can be used as an approach for attaining organizational results by promoting appropriate worker’s behaviors.
In today’s rapidly mutable world, employers recognize that people are the key to their success, and that these people require special qualities, primarily those that enable them to survive and sustain themselves in the organization.
The knowledge and skills acquired from past experiences may not be sufficient to come across the new challenges. Intelligent people are those who can retain their knowledge and skills obtained from past experience. That allows them to analyze new situations and develop new solutions. Individuals can solve technical problems far easier than social problems they face in their home, as well as in their professional lives.
Ana Lúcia Rodrigues: University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Department of Management, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, PORTUGAL
*Corresponding Author: Carolina Feliciana Machado: University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Department of Management, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, PORTUGAL, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ana Paula Ferreira: University of Minho, School of Economics and Management, Department of Management, Campus Gualtar, 4710-057 Braga, PORTUGAL
Nowadays, organizations have to focus on their employees’ emotional intelligence in order to be successful (; Zeidner, Matthews & Roberts, 2009 cited by ). That is the reason why the concept of emotional intelligence is explored in order to understand different emotions and capabilities people possess and ways to handle them in order to succeed.
Previously, it was believed that there is a positive relationship between people’s intelligence quotient (IQ) and their performance, so that intelligent people were perceived to be more successful as compared to less intelligent people. However, IQ ignores some areas like physical aptitude, expertise and other competencies that may result in significant achievements . Emotions should be used to provide a diverse strategy of inspiring and encouraging people. Emotional intelligence brings additional depth to the understanding of human intelligence.
The topic of emotional intelligence has been as controversial as some of the topics in organizational behavior and psychology. However, the expanded and significant role of emotional intelligence in job performance, leadership and other parts of organizational life has increased the validity of this concept . People who are emotionally intelligent are good at recognizing, processing and dealing with their emotions effectively and efficiently. As organizations are spaces where problems emerge and people have to work with each other, emotional information plays a vital role in individual lives (professional, personal and home).
The emotionally intelligent manager can drive under pressure, analyze problems, generate creative solutions, make effective decisions and manage a diverse workforce by helping staff to clarify issues and solve conflicts. The emotionally intelligent salesperson overcomes barriers to achieve goals and to redirect effort for positive results. The emotionally intelligent employee is a team player who feels good about going to work and takes pride in delivering maximum performance on the job.
In the past, emotion was seen as something that interfered with rational and logical thinking. It was immature and messy and to think clearly you needed to stamp out emotion. In the last years, emotion has began to be regarded as adaptive, helpful and functional. Emotions organize our thinking, allow us to know what to pay attention to and motivate our behavior .
8.2 Emotional Intelligence (EI)
The topic of emotional intelligence (EI) has garnered several definitions over the last decades. Different researchers have defined Emotional intelligence in different manners. There are many views and definitions of EI, given its scope and complexity.
8.2.1 History and Definition
The idea that emotions and reason are connected has its origins in the writings of Aristotle, who advocates that passions were the motivators of all human behaviors, including the approach and avoidance ones . Actually, it is assumed that EI derives from the concept of social intelligence which was first identified by Thorndike in 1920 [4–7]. According to Roberts and co-workers , Thorndike, in defining social intelligence, encompassed the idea of understand and managing the motivations and emotions of men and women, boys and girls, and to act cleverly in human relations. However, the difficulty of empirically distinguishing social intelligence from cognitive intelligence gave rise to the idea that there is no parallel socio-emotional capacity to other measures of intelligence, with two exceptions: the works of Guilford and Gardner.
First, Guilford (1967, cited by ) in his intellect model suggested a behavioral category of intelligence, which matches the idea of working with emotional information.
Second, Gardner  included intrapersonal intelligence and interpersonal intelligence in his theory of multiple intelligences, both of which are related to emotions. The intrapersonal intelligence refers to the ability to deal with oneself and represent separated arrays of feelings. According to the author, an important dimension of intrapersonal intelligence includes knowledge about the other intelligences. On the other hand, interpersonal intelligence is related to the ability to deal with others, understand them and to know what motivates them. Although social, intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence aren’t named as emotional intelligence, they belong to its realm .
Salovey and Mayer (1990, cited by ) first used the term ‘emotional intelligence’ to describe the “capacity to process emotional information accurately and efficiently, including that information relevant to the recognition, construction, and regulation of emotion in oneself and others” (p. 197).
Later, Mayer, Caruso and Salovey  proposed that emotional intelligence involves the ability to perceive accurately, appraise, and express emotion; the ability to generate feelings when they facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion and emotional knowledge; and the ability to regulate emotions to promote emotional and intellectual growth. Grounded on this meaning, they further suggested that emotional intelligence can be divided into four branches, which include: i) perceiving emotions, ii) using emotions to facilitate thought, iii) understanding emotions, and, iv) managing emotions [4, 11]. These levels indicate a growth of complexity of emotional skills: from the first level to the fourth level, from perception to management.
As Roberts and co-workers  stated, in 1997, Bar-On characterized EI as “an array of noncognitive (. . . ) capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures” (p. 823). According to Bar-On and co-workers  the conceptualization of EI proposed by Bar-On seems to be the most inclusive and comprehensive one. The authors  explained that EI includes intrapersonal capacity, interpersonal skills, adaptability, stress management strategies and motivational and general mood factors. In this sense, it embraces the capacity to know and understand one’s and others emotions and express feelings and ideas, the ability to solve problems that involve people and to deal with stress and strong emotions and the ability to be optimistic and feel and express positive emotions and feelings .
However, it was in the 1990s that the book “Emotional Intelligence” by Daniel Goleman (1995) enhanced the public interest in this subject . Daniel Goleman, the author of several books about EI (including “Working with Emotional Intelligence”, 1998), considered that emotional intelligence refers to the ability of knowing one’s emotions, managing emotions, motivating oneself, recognizing emotions in others and handling relationships . Goleman (1998, cited by ), in his book “Working with Emotional Intelligence” links EI to “competencies associated with self-awareness, self-monitoring, social awareness, and relationship management” (p. 823). Goleman  believes that the emotional abilities in relation to cognition abilities are more important in the personal, social and professional success of people. He also believed that emotional intelligences are independent competencies, because they provide unique contributions to job performance, and are necessary but not sufficient to have the capacity to exhibit competencies such as leadership or cooperation .
In the scientific literature, all the definitions have received criticisms. The distinction between EI and other constructs such as personality  is still not clear. As an example, the study of De Raad  that intended to explore to what extent emotional intelligence can be expressed in terms of a standard trait model found that there is a great overlap between the items of the self-reported inventories of EI and the Big Five framework. At the same time, Zeidner and co-workers  highlight the lack of agreement in the conceptualization of EI.
Nevertheless, with the dissemination of EI, multiple different research traditions and methods for studying EI emerged in parallel. Different models and measures of EI frequently emerge  as will be examined in the next topic.
8.2.2 Measuring Emotional Intelligence
As the theoretical conceptualizations of EI vary, so does the content of the instruments to measure it (Mayer, Salovey et al., 2000a and Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000b cited by ). As Zeidner and colleagues  suggested, we can also find little commonality between those instruments.
Among the plethora of models, there are two distinct traditions for measuring EI , : self-reported and performance-based measures.
The first tradition measures EI as ‘non-cognitive’ traits (e.g. assertiveness, optimism, reality testing, conflict resolution), as suggested by Bar-On, measurable by self-and other-ratings. The second tradition positions EI as a cognitive ability measurable by tasks involving cognitive processing of emotional information, and is commonly referred to as ‘ability EI’.
It is relevant to examine the seminal work by Bar-On to develop an experimental instrument to measure Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). According to Bar-On (2000, cited by ), EQ is a pool of emotional and social knowledge that influences our overall activity to cope effectively with environmental demands.
The EQ-i (Bar-On, 1997 cited by ; ) is a self-reported inventory with 133 items that consists of declarative statements phrased in the first-person singular. Respondents are asked to indicate the degree to which the statement describes themselves, on a five-point scale (“1=not true of me; 5=true of me” ([17, p. 798]).
It has five major domains – intrapersonal EI, interpersonal EI, adaptability, stress management and general mood  – and these domains are further operationalized into 15 factors . As an example, intrapersonal EI covers emotional self-awareness, assertiveness, self-regard, self-actualisation and independence. Cherniss and co-workers , meanwhile, described EQ-i as a “self-report measure with four subscales labeled interpersonal, interpersonal, adaptability, and stress management” (p. 240). Even in the description of the instruments, some inconsistencies are found. Randall  also referred to the limitations of the EQ-i, such the coincidence of the instrument with some personality measures and the reliability deficiencies.
In 1997, Cooper and Sawaf proposed another developmental model (limited in its application)  and recognized four foundations of EQ using a personal growth approach, which include “emotional literacy, emotional fitness, emotional depth and emotional alchemy” (p. 13).
Following Yunus and Hassan , it was Goleman who introduced the performance-based model of EQ. He perceives EQ as embracing a distinct set of abilities that incorporate affective and cognitive skills. The five dimensions of EQ earlier identified by Goleman were further broken down into 25 competencies. According to Goleman  they are: i) the self-awareness cluster that includes emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment and self-confidence; ii) the self-regulation cluster that includes self-control, trustworthiness, conscientiousness, adaptability and innovation; iii) the motivation cluster that includes achievement drive, commitment, initiative and optimism; iv) the empathy cluster that includes understanding others, developing others, service orientation, leveraging diversity and political awareness; and, v) the social skills cluster that includes influence, communication, conflict management, leadership, change catalyst, building bonds, collaboration and cooperation, and team capabilities.
The Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI) has its roots in the questionnaire developed by Boyatzis in 1991 and Goleman and Boyatzis, who rewrote items for the non-cognitive competencies . According to the authors  the instrument was a useful starting point.
On the other hand, Salovey, Mayer and Caruso (2002 cited by ) focused on the ability-based model. They proposed the Multi-factor Emotional Intelligence Scale  and its descendant the Mayer–Salovey–Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) . In this case, the respondent performs a total of eight tests, two for each of the four branches (the ability to perceive emotion; the ability to use emotion to facilitate thought; the ability to understand emotion; and the ability to manage emotion). Cherniss and colleagues  argue that MSCEIT didn’t correlate highly with personality or cognitive ability and, in that way, it might be considered that EI is a distinct construct.
Matthews and co-workers  suggested that “the ideal EI test should minimally satisfy each of the following four standard psychometric criteria” (p. 182): content validity, reliability, predictive validity and construct validity.
8.3 Job Performance
All organizations are concerned with sustainability and benefits and recognize that organizational benefits depend on individual performance. Therefore, job performance is a central topic for organizations and managers.
Employees performing better will definitely generate outcomes, which primarily include correspondence among employees, quality production and commitment at the workplace . In developed countries, the job description is used to define job responsibilities and performance standards. However, there is an increasing recognition that task performance can’t apprehend the full range of job performance .
Despite the great relevance of individual performance in organizations and the widespread use of job performance as an outcome measure in empirical research, the concept of job performance still needs to be explained. Nevertheless, during the last 10–15 years, an increasing effort on developing a definition of performance and specifying the performance concept has been made .
Not all behavior is subsumed under the performance concept, but only behavior that is relevant for the organizational objectives. Performance is considered as a significant measure, which is associated with the organizational results and success . Performance is related to the impact of an individual’s activities over a certain period of time.
Kiyani and colleagues ) presented the Campbell, McCloy, Oppler and Sager (1993, p. 40) definition of performance as “what the organization hires one to do and do well”. Performance is not described by the action itself but by evaluative procedures, so that only actions, that can be measured are considered to constitute performance (Meyer, Paunonen, Gellatly, Goffin & Jackson, 1989 cited by ). Interestingly, individual performance is mainly treated as a dependent variable which makes perfect sense from a practical point of view as individual performance is something organizations want to enhance and optimize .
Borman and Motowidlo  have indicated that job performance can be divided into task performance and contextual performance. Task performance means that incumbents make a contribution on the technical core of organization through direct productivity operation and material or service support. These activities are related to the specific duty that is required by the organization. Contextual performance isis voluntary behavior including helping others or following organizational rules. “Contextual performance is significant to the whole organization, because it supports the organizational, social, and psychological environment in which task performance occurs, promotes communication inside and outside the organization, and relieves tense emotional reaction” [6, p. 1156]. In organizations, people interact with each other and with external constituents (such as customers or suppliers). These interactions are of course characterized by an emotional component that maintains human behavior. Employees with high emotional intelligence are more harmonious and faster integrated into the organization, and achieve higher performance because they can clearly perceive the emotions of colleagues and managers and precisely understand the meaning of other behaviors .
As it is known, employees don’t only have to accomplish tasks designated by the formal contract between employee and organization, but they are also expected to finish informal tasks. These informal tasks are related to the extra-role behaviors beyond formal role requirements, and are called contextual performance . In order to reach the organizational goals, managing employees’ performance is very essential because employees performing better will generate outcomes.
Pulido-Martos and co-workers  and Yan-Hong and colleagues  stated that employees with high emotional intelligence can better understand the needs of customers and solve problems and conflicts. Compared to employees with low emotional intelligence, they are capable of controlling their own emotions and keeping a positive mood when facing criticism, challenges and stresses from customers.
8.4 Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance
Interest within emotional intelligence has grown dramatically within the past decade. Analysis shows that IQ alone only explains 4–10 percent of accomplishments at work (Sternberg, 1996 cited by ). On the other hand, Cherniss and co-workers  argue that individuals with high levels of emotional intelligence are more successful in top positions.
Goleman (1995 cited by ) postulate that emotional intelligence, which is equivalent, if not more significant than IQ, is a vital measure of success in person’s work and personal life.
Day and Carroll  found a positive relationship between the perception of emotions and the performance of cognitive decision-making tasks when using the Mayer, Salovey and Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT). Furthermore, there is some evidence from empirical research to support the idea that emotional intelligence isis positively related with task performance. Lam and Kirby  applied the Multifactor Emotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS) to test someone’s ability of dealing with emotions, and considered that perceiving emotions and regulating emotions contributed more to individual performance than general intelligence.
Sy, Tram and O’Hara  tried to examine the relationships among employee’s emotional intelligence, manager’s emotional intelligence, employee’s job satisfaction and performance. The study was conducted with 187 feed service employees from a restaurant franchise, in nine different locations. The hypothesis of the authors was that employee’s emotional intelligence was positively associated with job satisfaction and performance and it was corroborated. Thus, the authors concluded that employees with high EI seem to have higher job performance. Some explanations are given, for example employees are more aware of the effect of emotions in their work outcomes and regulate their emotions according to the requirements of the task. However, after controlling for personality factors, the authors didn’t meet the traditional standards of significance.
Ali, Garner and Magadley  developed a study where the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance was also explored. In this case, a sample of 310 police officers was taken. The hypotheses of the authors were that there is a positive correlation between EI and job performance and that EI is expected to add incremental validity for predicting job performance beyond cognitive ability and personality traits. It used a self-reported emotional intelligence test and job performance measure tests were implemented. According to the authors, the results show significant correlation between EI levels and police job performance. Justifications for this, given by authors, are that individuals with high levels of EI are more successful in creatively solving problems, completing cognitive tasks and interacting with others than those with lower EI levels. Additionally, it was suggested that after controlling for general mental abilities and personality traits, EI explains an additional incremental variance in predicting police job performance.
Pulido-Martos and colleagues  tried to perceive the possible connections between EI and effectiveness during the negotiation process in a sample of 123 workers from different organizations. Their purpose was to examine the incremental validity of perceived emotional intelligence dimensions on effectiveness during negotiation using self-reported measures and controlling for the effect of personality traits. The authors assumed that individuals that deeper understand emotional expressions will be better prepared for negotiation, so will perform better. The results show that emotional regulation accounts for negotiation effectiveness, independently of personality traits. It was suggested that negotiators with higher scores in the emotional regulation component would be more able to create an environment in which their interlocutors do not perceive a power disequilibrium.
In another study developed in a specific context, in this case nursing, Shanta and Connolly  consider EI as a crucial component in the nurse’s professional role. It is important in terms of the ability of nurses to provide holistic care for patients, peers and themselves. Adopting the four branches of abilities proposed for Mayer and colleagues (already explained in this chapter), Shanta and Connolly  concluded the necessity of nurses possessing abilities of EI for their professional practice.
Gondal and Husain  who planned a cross-sectional study with 300 employees from the telecom industry analyzed the individual IQ and EI in relation to performance. The results showed that IQ is insignificantly related to an employee’s performance and that EI is found to have a significant relationship with employee’s performance. Sun (2005, cited by ) also suggested that general intelligence and performance had no significant correlation, while emotional intelligence impacted on performance significantly. Not only does employees’ emotional intelligence have an effect on task performance, but there is a probable positive relationship between emotional intelligence and contextual performance. Yu and Yuan (2008, cited by ) proved that employees’ emotional intelligence is positively related with their contextual performance, and leader–member exchange can partially mediate the relationship between managers’ emotional intelligence and employees’ contextual performance.
Emotional intelligence enhances work performance by allowing people to raise positive relations, perform well in groups and build social assets. Counseling, reinforcement, ability and capability of other people often influence the employee’s performance (Seibert et al., 2001, cited by ).
EI assists employees in enhancing their performance by allowing them to understand and manage their emotions, cope up efficiently with stress, work well under pressure and prepare for organizational change.
An integrative review and a different perspective are presented by Abraham . Abraham  argues that certain emotional competencies (including self-control, resilience, social skills, conscientiousness, reliability, integrity and motivation) are the true predictors of performance and interact with organizational climate and job demands /autonomy to influence performance. The author suggested a model where the relationship between emotional competencies (rather than EI) and performance is intermediated with different organizational variables. Abraham  advocates that the replacement of emotional intelligence by emotional competencies as predictors of performance (in a context of positive organizational climate and reasonable job demands) may provide different explanations for the link between those concepts.
By testing five hypotheses, Abraham  concluded that “self-control and emotional resilience are considered to delay the onset of a decline in performance from excessive job demands. Social skills, conscientiousness, reliability, and integrity assist to promote trust, which in turn may build cohesiveness among the members of work groups. Motivation may fuel job involvement in environments that promise psychological safety and psychological meaningfulness. A combination of superior social skills and conscientiousness may enhance the self-sacrifice of benevolent employees to heightened levels of dependability and consideration. Finally, emotional honesty, self-confidence, and emotional resilience can promote superior performance, if positive feedback is delivered in an informative manner, and can mitigate the adverse effects of negative feedback” (p. 117).
As suggested, past studies have proven that there was a relationship between EI and work outcomes/behaviors .
Employees with higher levels of emotional intelligence are more able to perceive emotions of colleagues and managers and precisely understand the meaning of other behaviors and then carry out adaptive behaviors. As a consequence, they are more pleasant and achieve higher task and contextual performance .
Gondal and Husain  support the idea that higher EI is related to optimism, stable expressions, and is a facilitator in organizational goal achievement for individuals.
As a conclusion of this topic, we can assume that EI is fundamental to effective performance and provides a base to understand the role of emotions in improving the task and contextual performance. However, it was not always explained how EI was measured or even which definition of EI was taken in the studies presented. Even the way in which job performance was assessed was not clarified: Who evaluated the individual and with what kind of instrument? What kind of performance was evaluated?
Abraham  suggests that emotionally intelligent managers, supervisors and leaders easily deal with their emotions and are more attractive to their peers and associates because they perceive their superiors as emotionally calm colleagues. Kunnanatt  argues that the set of characteristics that we may find in emotionally intelligent people may be called EI personality.
Recent research clearly shows that without emotional intelligence a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but still will not become a ‘good leader’ – some research shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua none of leadership .
Today, managers face more challenges than ever and to work successfully with their employees, colleagues and other stakeholders, they need to have great interpersonal abilities . McGee (1996 cited by ) highlighted that the failure in leadership is, almost every time, due to poor interpersonal skills. Managers must be able to influence, persuade and negotiate, using great communication skills. To motivate and inspire, a leader needs to be able to reach the hearts and minds of workers and it involves a great understanding of what is important to people and how to involve them in the process .
Emotional competencies have become a popular topic among leadership researchers . Ashkanasy and Daus  support the notion that the more relational aspects there are in an activity, the more emotional intelligence will be required of the individual who will be put in charge. Thus, leaders who have the ability to perceive their emotions and understand impacts on their actions on those of others, should have a greater probability of providing effective leadership .
Rosete and Ciarrochi  sought to investigate the relationship between EI, cognitive intelligence and leadership effectiveness. The correlational and regression analyses showed that higher EI was related with higher leadership effectiveness. The authors demonstrated that managers that better comprehend their own feelings and that of their subordinates are more likely to achieve business outcomes, and that they are also considered as well-organized leaders by their employees and direct executives.
Azouzi and Jarboui  have published a paper on Corporate Governance Review that explains that the central cause of an organization’s problems is CEO emotional intelligence level. Dealing with the relationship between the emotional facet and decision-making processes (specifically, decision biases and effectiveness of the governance mechanisms), the authors concluded that the presence of a high emotional intelligence rate is not always positively correlated with the executive’s suggestibility with respect with behavioral biases. Azouzi and Jarboui  advanced that it might be important for the well being of individuals, organizations and society as whole, that leaders/CEOs acquire some training in EI.
Extein and co-workers  presented the study of Cavallo and Brienza (2004) with more than 300 managers at Johnson & Johnson in which the Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI) was used, a multirater assessment instrument that asks those who work with the individual to rate him/her on a variety of competencies related to EI. The results showed that superior performers scored higher in all four EI clusters (self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management) based on both superior and subordinate ratings.
Carmeli  found a relationship between EI and work attitudes, behaviors and outcomes among senior managers. The results showed that EI enhances positive work attitudes, altruistic behavior and work outcomes, and moderates the effect of work–family conflicts on career commitment but not the effect on job satisfaction.
Chen, Lam and Zhong  worked on understanding how the perception of supervisors by their subordinates contributes to high-quality leader–member exchange (that is built gradually, over time, through repeated reciprocal behaviors between the supervisor and the subordinate). Using a longitudinal study on a sample of 285 supervisor–subordinate dyads from a manufacturing firm in China, the authors found that supervisor-rated emotional intelligence of subordinates predicts the quality of leader–member exchange and that leader–member exchange positively predicts work performance. Chen and his colleagues  concluded also that leader–member exchange mediates the interactive effect of EI and trust in the supervisor on work performance.
The study of Yunus and Hassan  found significant relationships between EI and employee’s current job performance. Yunus and Hassan  contend that organizations should use an emotional intelligence test as a developmental instrument to identify and promote potential leaders. According to them, managers should be promoted when they have strong emotional intelligence competencies, in parallel with technical and educational skills. Those ingredients are quite important for their success.
Two other studies from Bar-On, Handley and Fund (2005, cited by ) looked at EI and performance in military environments. One of the studies was conducted in the US Air Force to see if EI assessment could help predict performance in military recruiters. The study measured EI using the EQ-i, and performance ratings were based on individual productivity. Another study looked at EI, as measured by the EQ-i, and performance, as measured by peer nomination, criterion group membership, and commander evaluations in the Israeli Defense Forces. Both studies found military recruiters and combat soldiers considered high performers had significantly higher scores on the EI measures than low performers.
A study of Cavazotte, Moreno and Hickmann ) investigated the effects of intelligence, personality traits and emotional intelligence on transformational leadership and the performance of leaders in the organizational context. Using 124 midlevel managers from a Brazilian company from the energy sector as a sample, data were collected by evaluating the personality, the emotional intelligence, the intelligence, the leadership traits of the managers and the transformational leadership (using the subordinates of the managers). The findings of the authors suggest that leadership effectiveness (measured as the achievement of the organizational results) is a direct function of the transformational behaviors of leaders and an indirect function of individual differences (such as intelligence) that work through transformational behaviors. When EI is isolated and related with transformational leadership, the effect became nonsignificant. So it is not possible, according to those findings, to assume a direct relationship between EI and leadership effectiveness.
Kiyani and his colleagues  stated that there is support for the idea that managers’ emotional intelligence positively accounts for differences in employee outcomes. Studies show that emotional intelligence is positively related to employee’s performance (Higgs, 2004 cited by ). Wong and Law (2002 cited by ) also found that the emotional intelligence of managers has a causal effect on the job performance and organizational citizenship behavior of their subordinates. The failure of leaders in the workplace is due to underdeveloped emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence will equip a leader with skill to manage people. Many business leaders agreed that success in the workplace is strongly influenced by personal qualities such as perseverance, self-control, and skill in getting along with others.
Bunker and Wakefield  claim that managers face more difficulty than ever inin working effectively with their employees, colleagues, and other stakeholders. Yunus and Hassan  support the idea that the failure of leaders in the workplace is due to underdeveloped soft skills and lack of emotional intelligence. Having emotional intelligence and soft skills will equip a leader with skills to manage people, specifically inter and intrapersonal relationships successfully. Therefore, effective leadership requires emotional skills so that those who aspire to become a leader are not likely toto succeed without highly developed skills in these areas.
As Bar-on concludes, “one’s ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures is a function of one’s emotional intelligence. One of the reasons people leave organizations is because of a poor relationship with their boss. EI requires that we learn to acknowledge and value feelings in ourselves and others – that appropriately respond to them, effectively applying the information and energy of emotions in our daily life and work” .
Following Waterhouse , there is much evidence of the link between EI and a variety of outcomes, particularly in the workplace. As suggested by Yunus and Hassan , emotional intelligence can impact everyone in the organization, raising the level of performance.
The breadth of connections that emotional intelligence develops with other organizational variables deserves to be considered by management. Some theorists claim that EI is an important predictor of all areas of workplace performance.
The orientation for results, the positive effects on the processes of decision making and positive attitudes towards work, the enhancement in performance and the capacity for being adaptable should be considered as important contributes for organizational success.
The study of Day and Carroll  tried to demonstrate the importance of EI in cognitive decision making, arguing that emotional perception predicted individual performance on the proposed task. The authors also suggested that individuals with high levels of EI are able to take advantage of their emotions by using them to facilitate reasoning, creative thinking and decision making.
Job satisfaction must also be considered. Sy and colleagues  suggest that employees with higher EI have higher job satisfaction, and suggested that those employees are more adept at identifying and regulating their emotions. The authors argue that employees with high levels of EI are more able to search for the causes of their stress, thereby enabling them to develop new coping strategies and ways of managing their emotional reactions to the stressors. Similar results were found for job performance.
Mostly intelligent people who have a bright academic record sometimes are not good in social interactions and interpersonal dealings. It does not indicate that IQ should be ignored yet it indicates that EI is a more important construct than IQ for enhancing organizational effectiveness. As it was suggested earlier in this chapter, the high performance of workers and the success of their learning seem to result from a synergic effect of emotional and rational capabilities.
At the same time, leaders tend to be more effective, in terms of pursuing objectives /results and satisfaction, as they have higher degrees of emotional intelligence. The findings of Rosete and Ciarrochi  cited early in this chapter, suggest that executives with higher levels of EI are more expected to achieve business outcomes and be considered effective. On performance management, the authors argue that, in order to deliver feedback to the employees, EI is useful for leaders in identifying who performs complex tasks well and who deals effectively with colleagues and staff.
Leaders with great emotional competencies promote a creative environment for workers, are more successful in conflict management and get more from their teams. Emotional intelligence may help the managers to develop employees in terms of positive and committed workforce by developing and enhancing their emotional capabilities. Emotional intelligence may indeed be a key determinant of employees’ effective performance at the workplace.
In increasingly complex environment contexts, organizations must be aware of leaders and employees that can withstand the economic fluctuations and even to take advantage of any opportunities arising from these research and development efforts, competitor advances and globalizations. This means that management have to constantly re-engineer a systematic employment process or an approach that can bring forth the desired organizational performance and the workforce that can deal with changes and not rally against them. The benefits of emotionally intelligent organizational members might influence positive outcomes with regard to organizational performance and effectiveness.
Any organizational actor calls for their emotional management throughout their professional work. As we tried to demonstrate, emotions are part of the organizational setting and emotional intelligence should be considered in modern times. At a time when organizations are striving for competitiveness and its maintenance in a ‘league of honor’, where competitive advantage is the key requirement, to ensure the quality of service requires a great effort by those dealing directly with clients and, on the other hand, requires leadership that goes far beyond the exercise of authority.
The latest researches in organizations have indicated new evaluation criteria of the human being, it does not matter just how smart the individuals are, intellectually speaking, nor the training or expertise, but mainly the way they deal with themselves and with others. They also indicate that human abilities are inherent to professional success, because of the excellence in work quality, particularly for leadership positions.
Human resources management have to constantly re-engineer a systematic employment process or an approach that can bring forth the desired workforce and leaders that can work with and take advantage of changes. In management and research framework, the groundbreaking nature of the relationship between EI and work should be emphasized. New employees with high emotional awareness and regulation should be hired and retained. As was exposed in this chapter, emotional intelligence may indeed be a key determinant of employees’ effective performance at the workplace. Emotional intelligence may help managers to develop employees in terms of a positive and committed workforce by upgrading and enhancing their emotional capabilities.
Assuming EI as a central concept in human resource management practices, it is important to understand that the organizational outcomes will be achieved through an emotionally intelligent and effective leadership and a workforce that displays appropriate behaviors, from the emotional and rational point of view. In a pioneering way, the relationship between two important organizational variables, performance and emotional intelligence, was explored. However, as a consequence of those findings, some new management practices should be studied and defined.
In order to reinforce and explain this innovative relationship between EI and work in the future it will be important to clarify and distinguish the conceptualization of emotional intelligence and the way it can be measured. Although the results of the studies presented reveal some consistent relations between EI and performance (task and contextual performance of employees or leaders), it is still not well established that when we are talking about EI, it is a different construct of personality. It means that, the overlap between EI and other constructs should be overcome.
It would also be important to develop some comparative studies, by comparing different cultures, and even different measures with the same people. To conclude, it would be crucial to know and understand how job performance or leadership is evaluated. Since performance evaluation is considered a controversial practice in organizations, it would be interesting in future studies to explicitly clarify how the assessment is conducted and how the notion of performance is conceptualized.
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