Effective management of organizations and human resources is facing enormous challenges. Organizations are downsizing, reengineering themselves to compete in the global market and facing an explosion of available information (Luthans, 1998). Max Messmer (1999), CEO of Robert Half, said in a recent survey of 150 executives from some of the nation’s largest companies, that leadership skills were identified as the most important assets of managers. James E. Perrella (1999), Chairman, President and CEO, Ingersoll-Rand Company, stated
America is moving from a manufacturing economy to a value-added, service-oriented economy. And at the heart of service is relationships: interpersonal relationships; intergroup relationships; and interdepartmental relationships. The ascendance of work teams in large organizations puts a new premium on relationship team skills. Among others, this set of skills includes the following competencies: 1. communicating or listening openly and sending convincing messages, 2. managing conflict, which entails negotiating and resolving disagreements, 3. inspiring and guiding individuals and groups as a leader, 4. initiating and managing change, and 5. collaborating and cooperating with others toward shared goals (Perrella, 1999, p 437).
These two examples indicate the growing importance of finding, hiring, training, and retaining leaders with high emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is defined as a person’s self-awareness, self-confidence, self-control, commitment and integrity, and a person’s ability to communicate, influence, initiate change and accept change (Goleman, 1998). Studies have shown that emotional intelligence impacts a leader’s ability to be effective (Goleman, 1998). Three of the most important aspects of emotional intelligence for a leader’s ability to make effective decisions are self-awareness, communication and influence, and commitment and integrity. Managers who do not develop their emotional intelligence have difficulty in building good relationships with peers, subordinates, superiors and clients (Goleman, 1998).
The following paper is an examination of how emotional intelligence affects a leader’s ability to make effective decisions. The first part of the essay defines the parameters of emotional intelligence, leadership and effective decision-making. This is followed by a discussion of how the aspects of emotional intelligence affect a leader’s ability to make good decisions and how emotional intelligence is integral to Stephen Covey’s seven habits of highly successful people and Warren Bennis’ beliefs on what leadership is. The last section of the paper concludes with the leadership responsibilities that are implemented through the use of emotional intelligence.