To attain success in life, there are diverse factors that often come into play. In fact, no single good factor can be said to lead to success. For instance, desirable and otherwise noble factors such as skills, knowledge cannot solely lead to automatic success. In view of this, sustainable success in life is actually dependent upon ones emotional intelligence, whose main role focuses on the ease with which an individual connects with other people around him/her and the immediate world at large. Emotional intelligence is drawn from the intelligence possessed by an individual as well as ones emotional astute. Intelligence connotes the appropriate application of knowledge, while emotional astute focuses on appropriate application of emotions. Human resource development professionals need to gain an in-depth understanding of several factors in their attempt to apply instruments of emotional intelligence towards the advancement of organizational leadership (Warner, 2001). In deed, the appropriate consideration of salient factors related to the organization in general and employees, in particular, in the process of applying emotional intelligence yields highly effective results in organizational leadership.
Considering important elements of emotional intelligence
The application of emotional intelligence in diverse aspects of an organization by human resource development (HRD) professionals takes into account the diverse characteristics associated with the pursuit of organizational success. There are diverse competences that HRD professionals can develop through appropriate integration of professional competence and emotional intelligence capabilities on the organization’s human capital. For instance, HRD professionals can highly enhance interpersonal skills, conflict management, and establishment of strategic relationships, oral communication, stress tolerance, interpersonal sensitivity, engenders trust, self-development, and team building (Swanson & Holton, 2008). All these competences are extremely essential in all work environments and are particularly useful in creating a culture of organizational success and achievement oriented environment.
Emotional intelligence plays a very essential role in the lives all people not only in the workplace environments but also in contexts outside the work environment. Most importantly, emotional intelligence plays an important role in enhancing interactions between people of diverse characters and inclinations. Indeed, various attributes are associated with individual characteristics. There are certain traits that are often associated with emotional intelligence in the manner of interactions. Emotional intelligence encompasses a myriad of attributes and characteristics whose combined existence results in the ultimate show of successful interactions. For instance, emotional intelligence is characterized with intuition, integrity, communication, character, as well as relationship skills. Indeed, emotional intelligence has drawn from two major concepts namely appropriate application of knowledge and appropriate application of feelings (Warner, 2001). Most importantly, emotional intelligence plays an important role in creating intellectual and emotional astuteness in different interactions and situations as well as adjusting people’s behavior based on knowledge and perceptions. Therefore, emotional intelligence has profound impacts on professional and personal success.
The general application of emotional intelligence by individuals in diverse environments can yield successful results. It is believed that emotional intelligence is driven by motivation as well as individual’s relative flexibility and structure about their character. Consequently, the appropriate application of knowledge is based on intuition and analysis through experience and expression. Emotional intelligence is associated with numerous advantages in organizational contexts as Senge (1992) suggests. In his proposition, Senge (1992) attributes successful organizational change through integration of a learning framework. There is a need for organizations and employees to learn as well as continuously improve abilities and skills. Learning and continuous acquisition of knowledge and skills by organizations and employees has an effect of fostering fundamental learning disciplines in terms of personal mastery, systems thinking, mental models, establishment of shared organizational vision and team learning. In the recent times, research has tried to explore the existence of links between development in organizations and organizational learning (Kalliath, 2002). Similarly, Altman and Iles (1998) investigated the role played by mentoring in organizational learning. Behavior has been the main focus of study in the subject of emotional intelligence.
In particular, scholars have sought to establish the relationship between certain traits of personality with the organizational learning framework. Research has established certain associations between organizational learning and personality traits. For instance, Senge’s (1992) description of mastery a personal level is linked to control locus. Personal mastery is associated with responsibility over the actions of an individual. Thus, personal mastery can be attained by individuals, who demonstrate locus of control internally, as compared to those, who face an external one. Therefore, organizational behavior and emotional intelligence are aspects that need to be carefully developed by the various players, particularly the HRD professionals. Emotional intelligence is associated with one’s ability to monitor their emotions and those of others (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Emotional intelligence also involves the discrimination of positive and negative consequences of emotions as well as the use of information provided through emotions in adopting a certain form of thinking and decisions.
In an attempt to revise their initial framework, Mayer and Salovey (1997) highlighted the differentiation between emotional intelligence and other forms of intelligence. For instance, constructs of intrapersonal and interpersonal intelligence is said to deal with emotional management, thus, the description of the complex process linking cognition and emotion. The conceptualization of emotional intelligence by Salovey and Mayer mainly focuses on the abilities attributable to emotions. Additionally, other definitions take into account emotional and social competences as well as attitudes and traits. Emotional intelligence is also composed of emotional knowledge (Jordan, 2005). This relates to a person’s capability to comprehend emotional cycles as well as emotions regarded complex. Some examples of complex emotions are simultaneous feelings of betrayal and loyalty. Emotional knowledge is also important in recognizing likely transitions to undertake in emotions. Additionally, regulation of emotions is concerned with emotional management.
Application of emotional intelligence by HRD professionals
Application of instruments and tools of emotional intelligence by human resource development professionals requires the consideration of individual profiles. In particular, the individual profiles so considered focus on the underlying intelligence as well as emotion level, portrayed in different situations. HRD professionals should therefore understand an individual’s profile in order to carefully develop leadership tools, centered on emotional intelligence. HRD professionals also need to consider the implications of each leadership style applied and the impacts associated with them (Brown, 2005). Human resource development professionals should firstly emphasize on emotional intelligence to the organizational leaders. It should be the responsibility of human resource development professionals to educate the management of the emotional intelligence relevance, and actually consider ways, in which the organizational leaders can effectively apply it.
Additionally, human resource development professionals need to consider and reflect on the ways through which emotional intelligence competencies can be integrated into the other models of competency within the organization (Operant, 2005). In most cases, there are diverse core capabilities set aside by companies and all employees are required to portray and observe them at all times. Actually, the adherence to these models of competencies is emphasized irrespective of the nature of job performed by the employees. Most importantly, HRD professionals should ensure that the diverse competencies such as social, relational and emotional are integrated into the leadership instruments, developed and based on emotional intelligence (Bliss, 2000). It is imperative for human resource development professionals to consider the relationship between performances of employees considered to possess high potential with their emotional intelligence.
Similarly, it is important that human resource development professionals put into consideration ways through which language depicting emotional intelligence can be integrated into the management performance systems (Muyia, 2009). As such, there is need to consider emotional intelligence language which encompasses organizational savvy, self-awareness, partnering in an interdependent manner and how the language can be applied in the process of reviewing performance, planning for succession as well as other metrics of performance, applied in description and assessment of performance. It is actually imperative for human resource professionals to precisely understand the manner the behaviors expectation from each and every competency (Swanson & Holton, 2008). For instance, it may be necessary for human resource professionals to consider the level of familiarity with organizational informal networks.
In spite of the various positive application of emotional intelligence in human resource development, a number of opposing perspectives have been put across in an attempt to water down the relevance of emotional intelligence. Firstly, it opponents of the application of emotional intelligence by human resource development professionals have argued that the development and assessment of emotional intelligence among employees is highly dependent upon concise understanding of the rules of work (Venkatesh & Balaji, 2011). Secondly, emotional intelligence of an employee is useful in the process of understanding and perceiving rules on display within different areas of the organization. Thirdly, it is impossible for emotion work to be performed in the absence of proper processing on emotional intelligence foundation. Consequently, it is imperative for human resource development professionals to come up with measures and means through which employees can develop their cognitive abilities as well as enhancement of their knowledge of the rules, pertaining to contextual emotion. It is, therefore, evident that emotional intelligence is devoid of any major positive results in the absence of other disciplines (Nafukho, 2009). In fact, human resource development professionals should focus more on the disciplines that enhance emotional intelligence rather than stressing on it entirely. Thus, work performance is greatly enhanced through the development of contextual and cognitive abilities as well as the knowledge of emotional contexts.
Emotional intelligence in the workplace
The very first instant of appearance of the book, ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in the year 1995 made an almost unanimous acceptance by various business leaders on the importance of emotional intelligence in fostering individual success, based on the personal attributes associated with personal qualities, including self-control, perseverance, as well as skills to facilitate interaction with others. Emotional intelligence has actually been associated with diverse capabilities attributable to employees such as sales persons. Through proper application of emotional intelligence, sales persons are able to make sense of the most important products to customers, thus, eventually developing a strong relationship based on trust. Additionally, emotional intelligence is related to employees, who deal with customer service and it enables them to continuously excel in dealing with customers whenever annoyed by certain aspects of the organization. Indeed, such employees are often successful in changing the perspective of the angry customers and eventually calming their emotions into reasonable levels.
In the context of various capabilities by employees to handle certain aspects of the workplace, a question still lingers, concerning the employees, who may not portray certain traits as directly as the others do (Cherniss & Goleman, 1998). In this case, there is a question on whether it is possible for employees to become more emotionally and socially competent. In reality, uncertainty lingers among HRD professionals and business leaders in fostering such attributes to employees. Many scholars admit that emotional intelligence is often developed during the early years of a person’s life. On the contrary, many motivational speakers and HRD consultants claim that it is possible for the emotional intelligence of employees to be raised through seminars. Indeed, there are consultants, who are running very good programs on boasting employee’s emotional intelligence. Although some of the seminars and workshops have been very important towards increasing employee’s emotional intelligence, others have been associated with unrealistic claims. Based on the two extreme claims on emotional intelligence, there is a tendency to believe that they do not provide the right approach. Therefore, although it is not possibly practical to suddenly change the emotional intelligence of an employee, it is also untrue that nothing can be done to improve employees’ emotional intelligence. This fact is particularly important to HRD professionals as they strive to improve the level of organizational emotional intelligence.
There is an increasing level of scholarship on behavior change and emotional intelligence that reveals that employees’ emotional intelligence can be improved through diverse intervention programs (Jordan, 2005). The improvement of emotional intelligence has also been seen to be possible, regardless of the ages of the people to whom the program is targeted. HRD professionals need to consider two forms of learning as they undertake improvement of the emotional intelligence of the employees. They also need to undertake training and development in consideration of the two major forms of learning namely: cognitive and emotional learning. Cognitive and emotional are both very important for the successful practice of an employee’s professional practice. When employees obtain proper emotional enhancement, they can be able to make appropriate application of their cognitive knowledge. Thus, emotional competence enables employees to make decisions that go ahead into fostering their interactions with their colleagues in the work place.
It is important for HRD professionals to understand the consequences of emotional incompetence among employees in the organization (Warner, 2001). Emotional incompetence is often associated with habits, acquired in very early years of an individual’s life. Progressively, the acquired habits are eventually set as normal way of life for the individual. There is a distinction between emotional capabilities, such as flexibility and empathy, with cognitive capabilities, due to the biological differences that are often associated with each. Whereas cognitive abilities only rely on the neocortex, emotional abilities involve more brain areas, mainly the circuitry (Cherniss & Goleman, 1998). In order for HRD professionals to achieve high levels of emotional intelligence in the organization, it is important to undertake measures that enhance workers’ emotional and social learning. This is a process that involves various activities all initiated by the HRD professionals. Basically, four major phases are involved in emotional and social training namely: preparation for change, training, maintenance and transfer, and finally evaluation. Each of the phases is important to play in acquisition of emotional and social intelligence by the workers.
Preparation for change occurs before the training commences, and it determines the effectiveness of the training process. The phase prepares the workers for the subsequent training to be undertaken later. HRD professionals need to understand that this phase is particularly important, if success is to be attained in the training phase and that it takes place both at individual and organizational level (Cherniss & Goleman, 1998). The training phase is the actual change process. In this phase, HRD professionals need to integrate the process that ultimately assists the workers in their perception and view of the world. Additionally, the phase is important in helping the workers develop abilities to deal with the social and emotional demands of their environments. The third phase is important in entrenching the knowledge acquired by the workers. It enables them to practice the knowledge acquired and portray attributes of social and emotional intelligence. Thus, every activity that occurs subsequent to the training is meant to transfer and maintain social and emotional competences (Jordan, 2005). Evaluation is important as it enables the HRD professionals to understand the extent to which objectives have been achieved. It is particularly important in determining the effectiveness of the learning programs addressed to the workers. In particular, evaluation phase seeks to determine the complexity of training programs and their evenness in enhancing workers’ social and emotional capabilities.
The topic on emotional intelligence is fraught with intense debate in human resource development contexts in such a way that diverse views have been brought across. While many HRD professionals consider various aspects of emotional intelligence, vital in the development of leadership instruments, others completely disagree with the association of such aspects. The opponents find fault with emphasis on emotional intelligence in favor of ample knowledge and understanding of practical work contexts. Nevertheless, the topic is important as it creates a medium through which employees and the management can interact. Emotional intelligence and learning programs within an organization have a strong relationship. HRD professionals need to understand the immense benefits associated with formal learning programs in the enhancement of workers’ social and emotional intelligence. Moreover, HRD professionals need to have a clear understanding of the various phases in the workers’ social and emotional learning. HRD professionals need to address the employees’ strategies of coping in relation to various change scenarios in the workplace. It is also important for HRD to analyze the strategies adopted by employees in terms of emotional intelligence. Undertaking organizational employee learning on social and emotional intelligence leads to overall organizational improvement in leadership. Organizational learning is an effective intervention program for the enhancement and maintenance of employee leadership. HRD professionals can utilize organizational learning to foster good performance and improved social and professional relations in the workplace. Thus, social and emotional intelligence are aspects of employees that can be enhanced through leadership learning.
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