Last week, in my blog post “Nature or nurture?,” I talked about the personality traits that are often predictive of an individual’s ability to become a transformational leader. Among my colleagues, this research is bothersome, and causes quite a bit of consternation, especially where their natural tendencies do not align perfectly with the “Big Five” personality traits. For those of you who experience the same angst about scoring high on extraversion, conscientiousness, agreeableness, openness, and low on neuroticism, there is good news. Nurture counts too!
Increasingly, there is research that supports the strong links of emotional intelligence to transformational leadership. As you may know, emotional intelligence can be developed over time, and nurtured if you will, unlike personality traits that are something you are born with and are usually stable over time. Emotional intelligence, as developed by Daniel Goleman, is measured by five different constructs:
- Self Awareness – the ability to know one’s emotions, strengths, weaknesses, drives, values and goals and recognize their impact on others
- Self Regulation – controlling or redirecting one’s disruptive emotions and impulses and adapting to changing circumstances
- Social Skill – managing relationships to move people in the desired direction
- Empathy – considering other people’s feelings especially when making decisions
- Motivation – being driven to achieve for the sake of achievement
There are quite a few emotional intelligence tests available online. For a free introduction to one, click here.
In his Industrial Psychology journal article, Sanjay Kumar makes a case for the strong linkages between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership. Dr. Kumar argues that emotional intelligence attributes of self-awareness, empathy, and motivation have a direct correlation to transformational leadership traits of individual influence, individualized consideration, and inspirational motivation. Simply translated, leaders who have worked to increase their emotional intelligence are more able to influence their followers, motivate them, and give individualized consideration to their followers.
Below is Kumar’s chart outlining the links between emotional intelligence and transformational leadership.
So to end our month of discourse on Transformational Leadership, nurture does count! As witnessed by the multiple posts Dee Anne, Todd, and I have written, there are many strategies to up your game as a transformational leader.