Women in Leadership Roles (2012): Image source: BusinessInsider.com
According to Northouse (2012), emotional intelligence is one way to assess the influence of traits on leadership. Emotional intelligence involves the interplay between our thinking and emotions; specifically, the ability for one to perceive and use emotions to express, facilitate thinking, understand, and reason (Northouse, 2012, p.27). There has been much debate about emotional intelligence and its significance on leadership. Northouse (2012) points out several researchers such as, Mayer, Salovey, and Caruso (2000) , who see a weak link between emotional intelligence and leadership. An article, The future of work, Times Magazine (2009) breathed new life into this debate. As one of the “10 ways your job will change”, Shipman and Kay (2009) write explicitly about why women will rule business in the future and how emotional intelligence plays a role.
Catalyst, a workplace research group found Fortune 500 companies with the most women in senior management, had a higher return on equities- by more than a third (Shipley & Kay, 2012). This provides pretty convincing evidence that women are making a change in the future of business, and for the better. When exploring why this is so, what makes women leaders so special? Shipley and Kay (2009) found one of those factors to be emotional intelligence. CMI (Chartered Management Institute, UK) predicts women will be moving rapidly up the chain of command with their emotional intelligence skills in high demand (Shipley & Kay).
What does this all mean? For one, that emotional intelligence is an important tool that can be used to assess how traits are influencing leadership. This has been shown in many studies unexpectedly, such as Catalyst’s study mentioned earlier. Catalyst set out to look at the positive correlation between company success and women employees, however unintentionally linking the traits women have to their success in the corporate world.The idea that women tend to be more nurturing, and too in touch with their feelings, in other words more emotionally intelligent than men, have now become a powerful tool in the corporate world, specifically, in leadership. Emotional intelligence is making a splash in the future of leadership and we have women to thank for it.
Written by: Mai Dolinh
Kay, Claire Shipman and Katty. “The Future of Work.” Time. Time Inc., 14 May 2009. Web. 06 Sept. 2014. retrieved from http://content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.