Does the level of emotional intelligence of the manager or the subordinate make any difference to the outcome of performance reviews?
Previous studies have found that higher levels of emotional intelligence correlate closely with higher levels of job satisfaction and a general sense of control over one’s life.
Further, it has been found that emergent leaders or the people small groups of people tend to turn to choose to be their leaders or managers, tend to have higher levels of emotional intelligence compared to those not chosen.
Many previous studies, however, have used self-report methods to ascertain the level of an individual’s emotional intelligence. The problem with such studies is such methods suffer from social desirability bias. Because many people believe it is better to have a higher level of emotional intelligence (EI) they tend to answer questionnaires and other self-reporting methodologies in a way that enhances the likelihood they will gain ‘better’ scores.
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This study new however used blind 360-degree feedback (where the subject doesn’t choose those that will provide the feedback) to corroborate the EI scales used.
The researchers also recorded the managers’ and subordinates’ emotional facial expressions during the performance reviews. Further a group of managers and subordinates conducted a review whilst connected to an electroencephalography (EEG) machine to record the responses in the brain.
The study found that:
- The higher the level of emotional intelligence of both parties during a review meeting, the more successful and positive the review tends to be deemed to be.
- Higher levels of employee emotional intelligence tend to be connected to higher levels of job satisfaction and better job performance.
- Managers with higher levels of EI are predictive of higher levels of employee job satisfaction, including where the employee has lower levels of EI.
- Employees with lower levels of EI benefit from managers with higher levels of EI, in that the managers tend to help the employees manage and regulate their own emotions.
- People (both managers and employees) with higher levels of emotional intelligence tend to be more emotionally expressive in positive situations and less emotionally expressive in negative emotional situations. The opposite was true of individuals with lower levels of EI who tend to be less expressive in positive situations and more emotionally expressive in negative emotional situations.
- The exhibition of positive emotions by managers is strongly linked to increased motivation, performance, cooperation and creativity.
- Positive emotional expression has a strong positive effect on social interactions in organisations generally.
- Positive emotional expression builds trust and helps motivation.
- Regulating or controlling negative emotions is also a necessary skill in organisational contexts, however the expression of negative emotions, like anger, can act as a motivator and catalyst for action.
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