ECONOMY

Role of emotional intelligence rises in business

Daniel Goleman’s pioneering research in the field of emotional intelligence (EI) among 3,000 CEOs and managers has opened up new prospects in business, showing that the application of the concept can be of crucial importance to the climate, efficiency and success in a firm. «The term ’emotional intelligence’ is used to describe, on the one hand, the ability to recognize emotions in ourselves and others, and on the other, to handle emotions and reactions at any moment,» says Olga Epitropaki, assistant professor of organizational behavior and human resources at the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration (ALBA), on the occasion of an event in Thessaloniki on October 23, titled «Emotional Intelligence: The Road to Effective Leadership,» with Professor Richard Boyatzis as main speaker. «Managing emotions in a strongly competitive environment is evidently a parameter of crucial importance for managers’ advancement, especially in Greece, where people tend to behave impulsively,» Epitropaki says. «Perhaps the most important element is that managers themselves are increasingly coming to realize the value of emotions and their management, especially in America after September 11. Self-knowledge, empathy – which depends on self-knowledge – and clear communication abilities are the basic components of EI within the framework of an organization whose members are now expected to develop in order to meet the increasing requirements to provide high-quality services.» Some positions evidently have higher EI requirements than others. «Leaders nowadays spend most of their time in negotiating procedures, focusing their efforts on putting together alliances and, naturally, setting the tone for the climate throughout the organization. As a result, they are required to be emotionally intelligent in order to maintain the required balances.» There is also an increasing realization that a leader’s primary concern must be the creation of an «emotionally intelligent» organization for the maximization of its efficiency. «This organization is staffed by people who possess EI abilities, and has conditions of open communications allowing the expression of emotions in productive ways, creating the norms that encourage the channeling of emotions in a positive way inside the firm,» Epitropaki says. By contrast, in an emotionally «toxic» environment, emotions are not repressed and are expressed much more strongly in the wrong way and at the wrong time. Epitropaki notes that some people have a natural talent for managing emotions, but this does not mean that anyone keen to cultivate the ability cannot do it.