Free Emotional Intelligence And Decision Making Essay Sample

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Emotions, Intelligence, Emotional Intelligence, Decision, Leadership, Decision Making, Apple, Leader

Pages: 6

Words: 1650

Published: 2020/12/17


A lot of people have been talking about emotional intelligence and its significance in achieving personal success. As observed by Meek and Schumacher, intellectual intelligence (IQ) contributes only 20% to an individual’s success while emotional intelligence, luck and social class compensates for the rest. Other scholars suggests that emotional intelligence (EI) is twice more important than IQ in almost any job or activity. Decision making, on the other hand, is one of the major functions of leaders and policy makers. Even in an individual and personal level, people often find themselves in a situation where they would have to choose or make up their mind. When faced with numerous alternatives, choosing can become confusing especially when choices are quite similar with each other. At times when there are no clear choices, decision making is made through instinct and intuition; the objective of which is to “reach a specific goal, objective or outcome with the least amount of risk”. To make a decision, therefore, needs more than intelligence and studies suggests that there has to be a connection with sound decision making and emotional intelligence. But what is emotional intelligence and how does it help in making decisions?

What is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is a relatively new term but its concept may predate its etymology. According to observers, the concept of EI may have come along with the advancement of psychological studies wherein a deeper understanding of human emotions is required to understand human success or failure and perhaps to find the answers to life’s questions. As observed by these psychologists, “Those people who are self-aware and sensitive to others manage their affairs with wisdom and grace, even in adverse circumstances”. The term ‘emotional intelligence, though, did not emerge in literature until during the 1990s. And when it did, emotional intelligence gained media, academic and scientific attention that numerous studies were made to understand and apply its concept in real life scenarios. But then, defining emotional intelligence seems to be quite elusive and several definitions have been offered in order to capture its real meaning. Fernández-Berrocal and Extremera, cites three major theoretical frameworks of emotional intelligence. The first one is the EI ability-based model, which was developed by Mayer and Salovey in 1997; the second model is based on Bar-On’s emotional-social intelligence and lastly, the third one is based on Goleman’s model of EI, which focused on the performance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. The ability-based model by Mayer and Salovey defines emotional intelligence as a mental ability; a cognitive process that focuses on four abilities: the ability to perceive emotions on the self, others and the surroundings; the ability to utilize these emotions to communicate; the ability to understand emotional information; and the ability to regulate one’s emotion as well as those of others. On the other hand, Bar-On’s emotional-social intelligence deviates from the ability-based model by incorporating the non-cognitive process involved in emotional intelligence. For Bar-On, emotional intelligence is an “interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills and facilitators that determine how effectively we understand and express ourselves, understand others and relate with them, and cope with daily demand”. Goleman, on the other hand, simplified the theoretical concepts of emotional intelligence by suggesting five essential elements; these are: 1) knowing one’s emotions; 2) managing emotions; 3) motivating oneself; 4) recognizing emotions in others, and 5) handling relationships. Furthermore, Goleman applied these elements in an organizational setting and observed how emotional intelligence increased the individual’s performance and effectiveness in the work place.

Importance of Sound Decisions

Most often, people encounter situations wherein they need to make decisions. Managers, leaders and policy makers are among those who are compelled to decide. These decision makers do not only decide for themselves but their decision could impact several stakeholders at once. For the same reason, it is important that their decisions are backed by sound principles. Often times, decisions are judged by the outcome. No matter how much an individual claims that his decision is the right one, unless it is proven by results, the decision may not be considered as a sound one. In an organizational setting, the ability of a leader to make sound decisions can either make or break his leadership. One particular case of unsound decision making and its negative consequence to the organization and the decision maker can be observed in the case of Ron Johnson, JC Penny’s former CEO. Johnson was hired by JC Penny in 2011 hoping that he would turn around the company into something like Apple, Johnson’s former employer. While Johnson’s reputation with Apple was commendable, after becoming JC Penny’s CEO, he embarked on a series of changes that was unprecedented in the history of JC Penny. Among the major changes that Johnson did was taking out store discounts and promotions. After which, he also took away employee sales incentives and overhauled JC Penny’s workforce starting from the executive down to the lowly employees. While Johnson was trying to convert JC Penny in to something sleek just like Apple, his decisions were met with skepticism that eventually turned to frustrations. According to observers, JC Penny longtime customers and employees resented Johnson’s strategies. As things were changing real quickly, people expect Johnson to be tightly knit with his company. However, Johnson chooses to direct his management team from his house in California, far from JC Penny’s headquarters in Texas. According to Sawyer, not moving to JC Penny’s headquarters was Johnson’s biggest mistake. With all the changes and innovation that is going on, Johnson’s decision to direct his team through telecommunication was severely criticized. Sawyer believes that “telecommuting is really bad for innovation and cultural change” since people need to collaborate and interact on a daily basis. Ron Johnson also failed to recognize that most of his colleagues are already losing their faith in his management style as well as on the changes that he initiated. As observed by insiders, Johnson seem to be ‘distant and out of touch’ as he choose to address workers and executives via internal broadcasts .

Importance of EQ in Decision Making

The story of Ron Johnson and his brief stint in JC Penny is a vivid example of how people can make bad decisions as well as fail to recognize their errors if they also fail to incorporate emotional intelligence in their decision making process. Most often, people rush into decisions without contemplating the psychological and emotional impact of their decisions. And often times, people decide out of their egoistic principles and once their mind is set on a particular thin, they tend to ignore their surroundings. While this type of attitude may be considered as bold, it does not reflect the open-mindedness and flexibility of a good decision maker. The role of emotional intelligence in decision making is quite obvious. As observed by Poskey, “EQ can identify both the biases and clarity in one's thinking patterns that allow one to make good sound decisions”. Among the important function of emotional intelligence in decision making is that it gives the decision maker or the leader a wider perspective. Based on Goleman’s definition of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and social awareness are among the important competencies of successful leaders. Emotional intelligence is also important in developing the skills of a leader. In an organizational setting, personal development of a leader is very important especially when initiating organizational changes. According to Lazovic, a leader with emotional intelligence builds positive relationships and gains emotional commitment from employees, which is crucial in times when the organization undergoes improvements or changes. Looking back into Johnson’s example, it is quite evident that he failed as leader to gain the emotional commitment of his employees. Most likely, this is one of the reasons why Johnson’s leadership ultimately failed. Another desirable outcome for a leader that has emotional intelligence is the high level of communication and collaboration within the organization. As observed, “Empathic communication between CEOs and employees develops a culture of trust that increases synergy among team members”. Evidently, emotional intelligence does not only provide positive outcomes for the decision maker but also to his or her constituents. While emotional intelligence help a leader in coming up with a sound decision, it also assists in making the members accept and place their commitment on the leader’s decision. In any decision making, the commitment of the members to follow the decision is crucial. The story of Steve Jobs and how he transformed Apple in to one of the world’s most profitable company is also a good example of how emotional intelligence played an active role in leadership. It should be recalled that Jobs who founded Apple in 1976 was also fired in his own company in 1984 following the debut of Macintosh’s OS, LISA, when the project failed to sell as expected in the market. Prior to being fired, Jobs and his board could not get along with each other. Accordingly, Jobs was blinded by his enthusiasm and influence over Apple that he failed to admit the flaws of his new product. The Board also resented Jobs for being temperamental, which further deteriorated his relationship with the company’s board of directors. Several years after leaving his company, Jobs returned in 1997 as an interim CEO. This time, the more mature Jobs embarked on a series of changes and innovations into Apple’s product and strategies that eventually succeeded.


In decision making, intellectual intelligence may not be adequate to provide a holistic perspective. As evidenced by real-life organizational scenarios, leaders who are unquestionably brilliant in mental capacity eventually failed to deliver results in their strategies. For the same reason, modern leadership and scholars point out to emotional intelligence as a crucial factor in achieving success. In the context of making decisions, emotional intelligence provides a wider perspective for leaders, which makes them understand problems better; enabling them to respond appropriately. Emotional intelligence, as exercised by a leader, also encourages positive responses from stakeholders, making them more emotionally attached to the leader and to his cause. Emotional intelligence has desirable effect, not only for the leader’s ability to make decisions but also for the leader’s ability to impose his decisions among his members. Subsequently, emotionally intelligent decision makers are more mature and consistent with their dealings. In this regards, it can be deduced that emotional intelligence is important in the decision making process.


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