Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

Emotional Intelligence – Summary

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February 10, 2013 ASMT W4b (R) ASMT W4b (R) Why Emotional Intelligence Is Not Essential for Leadership C6 p. 171 Mitch McCrimmon, the author of “Why Emotional Intelligence Is Not Essential for Leadership”, presents an argument contrary to that of Daniel Goleman’s claim that leaders must be emotionally intelligent to be effective. He even ventures as far as calling Goleman’s theory harmful. “The bottom line is that emotional intelligence is more important for management than leadership” (Rowe, 2013, p. 172). McCrimmon begins his argument referencing great leaders like Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandi, and Nelson Mandela.

Each of these men has influenced others with their passion to eradicate unfairness. They convinced those who can make decisions to favor their ideas. “They aimed their cry at their respective governments and the population at large . . . but none of them managed the people responsible for making the policy changes that they were promoting” (Rowe, 2013, p. 172). They were bottom-up leaders. McCrimmon makes this point in order to simplify and redefine leadership to “the successful promotion of new directions” (Rowe, 2013, p. 172).

This simplified definition of leadership allows for the promotion of better ideas in an environment where the leadership role shifts from person to person as ideas are developed. As justification for his new definition, McCrimmon claims that the traditional concept of leadership is founded within the confines of the managerial framework, not in those who lead outside of managerial roles. Returning to the topic of the article, the author contends that “emotional intelligence is critical for management, though not so for leadership” (Rowe, 2013, p. 174).

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From the beginning, emotional intelligence should have been associated with management, but “a scapegoat was needed to blame for the failure of Western businesses to cope with Japanese competition, and management was fingered for this role” (Rowe, 2013, p. 174). With management now the “bad guy”, emotional intelligence became associated with the “good guy” – leadership. Emotional intelligence has its place among management and only a situational role in leadership. It is important for executives and managers because they have many responsibilities involving the welfare of others.

Managers need high emotional intelligence to succeed. However, creative and innovative non-managers, those wanting to challenge the status quo, do not need emotional intelligence in order to convince others of their ideas and be effective leaders. “The power to lead is increasingly knowledge based and is less about personality and character. Conversely, emotional intelligence is essential for all managerial roles” (Rowe, 2013, p. 175). McCrimmon concludes his argument with call for organizations to cultivate bottom-up leadership, especially organizations dependent on constant innovation. If potential leaders are told to keep quiet until they become emotionally intelligent, they may well say good-bye before they gain the necessary maturity” (Rowe, 2013, p. 175). He implores those in management positions to relinquish their monopolies on leadership in order to grow and encourage bottom-up leadership. Empower others to be leaders. References Rowe, G. , & Guerrero, L. (2013). Cases in leadership. (3rd ed. ). Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publishing.

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