that it affects some areas more than others.
One positive outcome of the popularizations of EI has been the enormous interest in research in the area. A growing body of literature examines the MSCEIT and its findings. These findings suggest that people high in EI form strong relations with others and have reliable support networks. Other people come to help these individuals in times of need. By contrast, people low in EI are socially perplexed, and are relatively more prone to drug and alcohol use, and to using aggressive and violent behaviour to solve problems. It is important to add that the vast majority of low EI scorers will not suffer from these more serious difficulties.
Empirical findings about leadership are only just being made public. Leaders who are high in EI may be better equipped to develop stronger teams, and to communicate more effectively with others. People high in EI will build real social fabric within an organization, and between an organization and those it serves, whereas those low in EI may tend to create problems for the organization through their individual behaviours. This story is still being written and we urge both researchers and practitioners to proceed knowing that new findings will continue to change and improve our understanding. The general data, however, suggest what EI can mean to individuals in organizations.
Developing emotionally intelligent leadership
The Four Branch model of EI, and the MSCEIT test based on it, provide us with a model of leadership and its development. The MSCEIT cuts right to the heart of a leader's underlying leadership skills, and the model offers a way to conceptualize and carry out strategic plans that incorporate emotions and emotional relationships in the workplace. For example, an overall plan might be to encourage existing customers to adopt a new product, with minimal defections to a competitor. This may demand a strategic plan that addresses both technical aspects - such as product quality, cost, and distribution - and emotional aspects, such as customer feelings toward the company. Carrying out the emotional aspects of such a plan can be organized according to the four-branch model of perceiving, using, understanding, and managing emotions. For example, perceiving emotions might involve surveying the feelings of customers. Using emotions might involve
making certain one is in the right frame of mind when tackling sensitive tasks. Understanding emotions may involve charting the emotional impact of various marketing plans on customers, while paying attention to an emotional bottom line, as well as to the financial one. Managing emotions may involve knowing how to lead so as to encourage desired emotional reactions associated with the plan. Some leaders are already excellent at such tasks. Others may seek and acquire training in the area, or rely upon the acumen of a trusted lieutenant.
The pivotal role of emotional intelligence
Do we believe that emotional intelligence is a core competency for management effectiveness? We believe it is one useful tool, but we also believe that there is more than one way to lead, and that certain situations call for EI more (or less) than others. An interim CEO who must enter a troubled organization and jettison major pieces of the company requires the cool- headedness of an aggressive surgeon. While there will be a lot of bad news, there may be little or no time to employ those skills, even if the CEO is high in EI. In many other cases, however, leaders lead not through rational, logical decision making alone, but by merging thinking with feelings. This is where EI skills may play a pivotal role.
Scientific research has uncovered a legitimate new human ability in emotional intelligence, and this has implications for the workforce. Jerry's situation, outlined earlier, is one example of how to use that skill. There are many other such stories we have studied (and participated in) as well. The stories are all different, but they all illustrate how technical and emotional factors work together in the workplace. They also illustrate how the manager who can think accurately and clearly about emotions, may often be in a better position to anticipate, cope with, and effectively manage change.
Ivey Business Journal November/December 2002