The attributes of a successful leader are a subject of many academic studies. As a rule, much attention is paid to technical competence, ability to motivate other people, determination, logical reasoning, and other qualities. Yet, currently, researchers also focus on the role of emotional intelligence. This paper is aimed at discussing the relevance of this concept to leadership. More importantly, it is necessary to discuss the use of various assessment tools that are supposed to evaluate emotional intelligence of a person. Overall, this component is critical for the performance of leaders; furthermore, one should clearly determine what kind of tests can be used to evaluate this trait of an individual. These are the main questions that should be discussed more closely.
The concept of emotional intelligence and its evolution
It should be noted that there are several definitions of emotional intelligence. For instance, this concept can be defined a set of behavioral characteristics that an individual continuously displays (Kahtani, 2013, p. 3). In this case, much attention should be paid to such qualities as empathy, self-awareness, stress management, and many other qualities that are important for successful interpersonal interactions (Kahtani, 2013, p. 3).
The necessity to measure these qualities is of great concern to people who study emotional intelligence (Stein & Mann, 2010). In turn, this concept can also be interpreted as a component of intelligence. To some degree, this interpretation is based on the premise that conventional focus on cognitive abilities of a person does not fully reflect the complexity of intelligence (Singh, 2009, p. 109). In this case, scholars regard emotional intelligence as the ability of a person to recognize and respond to various emotional stimuli that can originate from immediate environment (Singh, 2009, p. 109).
This distinction is important for choosing a particular assessment tool. For instance, if a person regards emotional intelligence a set of behavioral characteristics, he/she can use the Emotional Quotient Inventory. This measurement tool can throw light on such attributes as adaptability, stress tolerance, flexibility, impulse control, and other behavioral traits. These qualities are important for leaders who need to cope with various challenges on a daily basis. Additionally, one can apply the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, if it is necessary to measure the ability of a person to recognize and understand the emotions of other people.
Overall, HR professionals and business administration should pay more attention to behavioral components of emotional intelligence because they are critical for the ability of a manager to face various difficulties such as conflicts, stress, and the necessity to motivate other people. This is one of the details that should be considered. Business administrators should learn more about the theoretical assumptions that underlie a specific measurement tool (Scott & Reynolds, 2010). In this way, they can avoid a great number of pitfalls associated with the use of measurement tools.
The importance of the emotional intelligence as a component of leadership
Scholars often discuss the role that emotional intelligence plays in the performance of a leader. There are debates about the importance of cognitive abilities and emotional intelligence. First of all, by studying various examples of effective leaders, researchers have discovered that the performance of leaders can be enhanced by the skills which are viewed as essential components of emotional intelligence (Stough, Saklofske, & Panker, 2009, p. 177).
In particular, one should pay close attention to such areas as self-control, ability to solve conflicts, adaptability, empathy, and so forth (Iuscu, Neagu, & Neagu, 2012, p. 216). This is one of the reasons why they were able to gain the trust and support of their followers. Therefore, one can argue that emotional intelligence is a critical element of leadership. Admittedly, one cannot overlook the role of cognitive abilities of a person because a leader has to analyze information, solve complex technical problems, and determine the strategies of potential competitors (Locke, 1999, p. 46). Thus, it is necessary to focus on memory, attention, or quantitative reasoning.
Moreover, cognitive abilities can help leaders gain the trust of employees (Locke, 1999, p. 46). Nevertheless, researchers concur that the inventory of a leader includes various components, and many of them are closely related to emotional intelligence (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Therefore, one cannot say that a specific area is more important than others. These are some of the main points that can be made.
The evaluation of different assessment tools
Emotional Quotient Inventory
It is possible to discuss three assessment tools that can be used to measure the emotional intelligence of a person. For example, one can apply the Emotional Quotient Inventory. Overall, this assessment tool is based on the premise that emotional intelligence is a set of competencies, abilities, and dispositions that a person displays when he/she has to perceive, understand, and manage emotions (Parker, Keefer, & Wood, 2011, p. 763).
Overall, this test can be regarded as a self-report which can throw light on various social and emotional competencies of a respondent (Conte, 2005). This assessment tool can be used by organizations that want to gain better insights into the behavior of a person in the workplace. Additionally, this tool can be applied in educational settings. The results of this assessment can help a student decide what academic or professional area better fits his/her values, attitudes, and character traits. One should keep in mind that this test is designed for people who are aged above 16. These are some of the aspects that be singled out.
It should be noted that the reliability of this tool ranges from 0.61 to 0.85 (Conte, 2005, p. 434). Therefore, this assessment tool can generate consistent results (Conte, 2005). Furthemore, various studies have confirmed the validity of this assessment tool. Its average validity coefficient equals 0.45. In other words, it can accurately describe the perceptions of a person. Moreover, this assessment instrument can show how an individual respond to various stressors such as conflicts.
One should keep in mind that this test is a self-report; this means that that a respondent expresses one’s subjective opinion about interpersonal relations as well as emotions. This test should be administered during 30 minutes. An organization will need to pay approximately $ 125 in order to administer this test. This test has several important advantages. In particular, it can help a person understand his/her strengths and weaknesses, especially those ones which are related to stress management, empathy, or adaptability. This information can help a person identify those areas which need improvement (Conte, 2005).
In this way, an individual can become a better leader. This method can be useful when an organization launches a leadership training program. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that respondents can give the answers that other people expect from them (Grubb & McDaniel, 2007, p. 43). In other words, the answers given by these people may not accurately reflect their real attitudes. This is why business administrators should not use this test when they need to hire new applicants. This is one of the main limitations that can be identified.
Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test
The Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test or MSCEIT is another measurement tool that can be applied. The goal of this assessment tool is to evaluate the ability of a person to recognize and understand the emotions of other people. This test is based on the premise that emotional intelligence is one of cognitive abilities. It is designed for people who are aged above 17. This instrument can be used in educational and medical settings, since in this way, one can identify problems in the development of a person. Furthermore, this tool is sometimes adopted by HR managers.
It should be noted that the reliability of MSCEIT is 0.93 (Williams, 2007, p. 37). It means that this assessment tool can generate rather consistent results. In turn, researchers note that this measurement tool has a high validity (Williams, 2007, p. 37). So, by using it, HR managers can determine whether a person is able to interpret the behavior of other people. These are some of the main aspects that can be distinguished.
The administration of this test has several peculiarities. In particular, the respondents are supposed to complete several tasks related to such aspects as interpretation of facial expressions or non-verbal behavior. Moreover, a person should demonstrate that he/she can find a proper response to the emotions displayed by other people. An organization will have to pay approximately $ 50 in order to administer this test. This detail should be taken into account by business administrators.
This test can be used for determining whether a person is skilled in recognizing, understanding, or managing emotions. This is one of its major strengths. Admittedly, the tasks included in this test do not fully reflect various situations in which a leader should demonstrate emotional intelligence. Nevertheless, MSCEIT is particularly useful in those cases when employers try to assess the interpersonal skills of a candidate.
Thus, this method can be applied while recruiting and hiring personnel. However, this tool has a significant limitation. In particular, it cannot throw light on every aspect of emotional intelligence. By relying only on this test, HR managers can overlook such elements of emotional intelligence as flexibility, self-awareness, or impulse control. Therefore, this method cannot be used by a leader who wants to understand one’s strengths or weaknesses. This is one of the details that should be taken into account.
Hay/McBer Emotional Competence Inventory
Finally, one may consider the use of the Hay/McBer Emotional Competence Inventory (ECI). This evaluation tool relies on the premise that emotional intelligence consists of several clusters such as self-management, social awareness, social skills, and self-awareness. It can be used for the needs of people, aged above 17. This test is mostly applied in organizational setting, and it can be of great benefit to business administrators and HR managers. The average reliability of this tool is.78. Additionally, the results of this test reflect various attributes of a person such as ability to manage stress, adaptability, and ability to motivate other people. Thus, this measurement tool has good construct validity.
Moreover, much attention should be paid to the way in which this test is administered. It is based on the so-called 360-degree assessment (Hay Group, 2005, p. 2). Thus, one should focus on the opinions of people who closely interact with a person on a regular basis. For example, one can speak about colleagues, business partners, or subordinates. Very often, this approach increases the objectivity of assessment (Hay Group, 2005). These are the main peculiarities of this method.
The cost of administering this test can vary significantly. An organization may have to pay more than $ 5000 in order to implement this procedure properly. The exact amount of money will depend on the number of people who may be interviewed during the assessment. Therefore, it may be rather difficult for managers to implement this test if they want to assess emotional intelligence of many employees. The problem is that some organizations may not afford these costs.
The main advantage of this method is that it throws light on the opinions of many people who may evaluate the emotional intelligence of a particular person more objectively. It should be mentioned that in many cases, people are unwilling to accept their weaknesses or mistakes. In turn, the use of ECI can minimize the risk of this problem. Nevertheless, there are some important disadvantages that should not be overlooked. For instance, in many cases, colleagues or subordinates can be prejudiced against a certain organizational leader. So, their responses may not always throw light on his/her behavior.
Yet, this tool can be applied when it is necessary to assess the behavior of a person who may occupy an important position in the company. In this way, one can better determine whether a person merits a position of leadership. Nevertheless, this test cannot be applied if business administrators should examine the behavior of many people. The main problem is that the use of this test can be both costly and time-consuming. This is one of the pitfalls that HR managers should be aware of.
On the whole, this discussion indicates that emotional intelligence plays an important part in the leadership studies. This component is critical for the interactions of a leader with his/her followers or colleagues. In turn, the use of assessment tools is particularly important for business administrators and HR managers. Each of the assessment tools that have been selected can be applied in organizational setting.
While selecting a particular method, one should consider such criteria as the costs of implementation, duration of the assessment, and accuracy of a specific evaluation method. The use of the methods can help HR professionals identify people who best fit the positions of leadership. Additionally, they can enable a person to identify those areas that need improvement. These are the main benefits of applying these assessment tools.
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