Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Emotional Intelligence in Business and Academia

Several years ago, researchers in emotional intelligence studied how successful emotionally mature business executives are. “Emotionally mature” includes such characteristics as self awareness and empathy. Their findings:

We found that of all the elements affecting bottom-line performance, the importance of the leader’s mood and its attendant behaviors are most surprising. That powerful pair set off a chain reaction: The leader’s mood and behaviors drive the moods and behaviors of everyone else. A cranky and ruthless boss creates a toxic organization filled with negative underachievers who ignore opportunities; an inspirational, inclusive leader spawns acolytes for whom any challenge is surmountable. The final link in the chain is performance: profit or loss.

From this body of research, we discovered that emotional intelligence is carried through an organization like electricity through wires. To be more specific, the leader’s mood is quite literally contagious, spreading quickly and inexorably throughout the business.

Common sense tell us that these findings apply to the academic world as well. Emotionally intelligent professors create a climate in which learning and creativity flourish. Emotionally intelligent administrators create a climate in which the best qualities of academia flourish.


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