Emotional Intelligence & Leadership

Schools Measure Emotional Intelligence

Question: Tom felt anxious, and became a bit stressed when he thought about all the work he needed to do. When his supervisor brought him an additional project, he felt ________________ .

  1. overwhelmed
  2. depressed
  3. ashamed
  4. self-conscious
  5. thrilled to be presented with a new challenge

 How you answer this question is a reflection of your emotional intelligence.  (Hint – Tom is not thrilled.)

Therterre have been several news stories recently that indicate the educational institutions which educate America’s business leaders are finally recognizing the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership.

 The Yale School of Management (SOM) is studying the role of emotional intelligence in predicting leadership ability.  SOM tested  its current incoming class for emotional intelligence and will use the results to determine whether traits like empathy and the ability to read people are predictive of future success.

 Furthermore, all full-time MBA students at SOM will be given the opportunity to take the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT)  in SOM’s first-year leadership program. Students can analyze their emotional intelligence scores to learn about how to better exert personal influence and maintain self-control as a leader.

Emotional intelligence is thought to help leaders and managers understand how others around them are feeling and to alter their management style to better achieve goals. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to read people, understand and manage emotions, communicate effectively, and adapt quickly to other cultures.

The 141-question MSCEIT test, measures the four branches of emotional intelligence:

  • Identifying Emotions – the ability to recognize how you and those around you are feeling.
  • Facilitating Thought– the ability to generate an emotion, and then reason with this emotion.
  • Understanding Emotions – the ability to understand complex emotions and how emotions transition from one stage to another.
  • Managing Emotions – the ability to manage emotions in yourself and in others.

One question, for example, is to ask a test-taker to rate the emotion expressed  in a photograph of a face

In addition to the SOM,  Notre Dame and Dartmouth also are administering emotional intelligence tests to future business leaders attending those schools.

The  MCEIT was developed by Yale’s president-elect, Peter Salovey, and David R. Caruso, a management psychologist and special assistant to the dean of Yale College, and John D. Mayer, a psychology professor at the University of New Hampshire.

Lack of E.I.

One trait common among managers who abuse and bully their staff appears to be a lack of empathy, which is a facet of emotional intelligence.

In fact, some researchers blamed the recent Wall Street collapse partly on a small number of business leaders who had many or all of the traits of  a psychopath and who acted without regard to the well-being of their employees, customers and the American public.

There is overwhelming evidence that employers who hire or tolerate abusive managment invite expensive litigation, needless and costly turnover, lost work time and poor morale, higher health costs, etc.

 

Corporate Psychopaths on Wall Street

Note: The theory that a significant percent of abusive managers are actual psychopaths is not new.  Robert D. Hare, Ph.D., and Paul Babiak, Ph.D., published the book, Snakes in Suits: When Psychopaths Go to Work  in 2006. Jon Ronson, author of the 2011 book, The Psychopath Test,  interviewed former American chief executive officer “Chainsaw” Al Dunlap,  who was notorious  for closing factories and laying off workers  in the 1990s. Ronson concluded Dunlap possessed many but not all of the traits of a psychopath. For example, Dunlap had no record of juvenile delinquency and was in a long standing marriage. PGB

 Precipitated Financial Collapse?

A former British academic has advanced a theory that “corporate psychopaths” at the helm of financial institutions in the United States are largely to blame for the global financial crisis.

“They are happy to walk away from the economic disaster that they have managed to bring about, with huge payoffs and with new roles advising governments how to prevent such economic disasters. Many of these people display several of the characteristics of psychopaths, and some of them are undoubtedly true psychopaths,” writes Clive R. Boddy, in a recent book published by Macmillan, Corporate Psychopaths: Organizational Destroyers.

He says psychopaths are the one percent of “people who, perhaps due to physical factors to do with abnormal brain connectivity and chemistry” lack a “conscience, have few emotions and display an inability to have any feelings, sympathy or empathy for other people.”  These people, Boddy adds, are “extraordinarily cold, much more calculating and ruthless towards others than most people are and therefore a menace to the companies they work for and to society.”

Psychopaths make it to the top of successful corporations, Boddy says, because they take advantage of the “relative chaotic nature of the modern corporation,” including “rapid change, constant renewal” and high turnover of “key personnel.”  They exhibit a combination of “charm” and “charisma,” which makes “their behaviour invisible” and “makes them appear normal and even to be ideal leaders.”

Boddy argues in a recent issue of the Journal of Business Ethics that psychopaths working in senior positions in corporations and in financial corporations had a major part in causing the global financial crisis.

He says corporate psychopaths  “largely caused the crisis” because their “single-minded pursuit of their own self-enrichment and self- aggrandizement to the exclusion of all other considerations has led to an abandonment of the old-fashioned concept of noblesse oblige, equality, fairness, or of any real notion of corporate social responsibility.”

Boddy told Bloomberg View columnist William D. Cohan that senior managers should be screened to insure they are not psychopaths and actually care about others.

In his book, Boddy says that psychopaths destroy the morale and emotional well-being of fellow workers  “by humiliating them, lying about them, abusing them, using organisational rules to control them, not giving them adequate training, blaming them for mistakes made by the psychopath, bullying them and coercing them into unwanted sexual activities … .”

Boddy is a former professor of marketing at the Nottingham Business School at Nottingham Trent University in the United Kingdom and a former co-founder/director of a pan-regional, Asia-Pacific marketing research company that was sold to a marketing conglomerate in 2002 for a reported $80 million.