Is there a link between emotional intelligence and creativity?
Emotional intelligence and creativity: Is there a link? A new study published in the journal Business Perspectives and Research looked at whether there is a link between employees’ creativity at work and their general level of emotional intelligence.
- The Study
- The 4 Dimensions of Emotional Intelligence
- Two Conditions
- The 6 Dimensions of a Proactive Personality
- Organisational Climate
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The study looked at 250 employees at all levels in two public service sector organisations. The researchers used a form of analysis called hierarchical regression analysis which looks at the relationships between a series factors with participants who are organised into different levels.
Finding a link between emotional intelligence and creativity: The researchers wanted to find out what the relationship is between emotional intelligence, as measured by a validated tool called the Wong Emotional Intelligence Scale (WEIS). This is a self-report emotional intelligence measure. WEIS is
The researchers wanted to find out what the relationship is between emotional intelligence, as measured by a validated tool called the Wong Emotional Intelligence Scale (WEIS) and creativity is. This is a self-report emotional intelligence measure. WEIS is scale based on the four ability dimensions described in the domain of emotional intelligence:
- Appraisal and expression of emotion in the self
- Appraisal and recognition of emotion in others
- Regulation of emotion in the self
- Use of emotion to facilitate performance
The study resulted in a number of findings:
Firstly, that there is a positive and significant relationship between emotional intelligence and creativity at work.
However, this is not a straight-forward relationship viz: emotional intelligence = creativity. The researchers found that emotional intelligence tends to lead to creativity if two conditions are present….
Firstly that the individual has a ‘proactive personality’. Most research and tools like the MBTI for example, are based on the ‘big 5 personality traits’. However, a ‘proactive personality’ is a bit of a hidden gem. It has been shown to correlate very closely with a series of factors like entrepreneurial success for example.
There are 6 dimensions to a proactive personality:
- Biased towards action
- They find and solve problems
- They take personal responsibility
- Perseverance and persistence
- Change and uncertainty tolerant
- Oriented towards personaldevelopment
A study published in the journal Human Relations in 2012 found that individuals with a proactive personality were significantly more likely to ‘craft’ their own job (increase the scope and role of their job, build better structural and social job resources and increase their job challenges) compared to people who had a more passive personality.
Secondly that the organisational climate is:
- That there is a good degree of job autonomy
- Involvement is encouraged, and
- There is a trusting environment
The study concludes that there is a link between creativity and emotional intelligence if:
- The individual has a proactive personality and
- The work environment supports it.
Both conditions need to be present. I go into a wide range of organisations where the management is exasperated that the staff are not more creative. Usually, they ask for workshops on creativity for their staff. Workshops are not going to help if the organisational climate doesn’t support people and it doesn’t encourage proactiveness, preferring instead to hire, retain and promote passive and compliant rule followers.
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