Will leaders with insufficient Emotional Intelligence be replaced by robots?
To better understand the symbiosis of Technology and Emotional Intelligence, Vilnius University Business Schools Researchers (Laužikas and Miliūtė, 2020), conducted a pilot literature review, oriented to the key characteristics of future leaders, along with necessary steps to prepare for challenges and opportunities, triggered by Emotional Intelligence Technology. Although Scientists’ attempts to better understand Emotional Intelligence could be traced back to Salovey and Mayer’s interpretation (1990), the topic maintained its relevance over the last decades, while nowadays’ interpretation of this term is still in line with the definition used 4 decades ago. For instance, Dale Cudmore (2020) still relates to Goleman’s (1995) definition of Emotional Intelligence as an ability to understand emotions and adapt interactions with others to achieve goals. John and Niyogi (2020) accentuate the importance to understand and express emotions, to listen and be empathetic, which links a job with an employee, in parallel with his/her feelings liaised with given tasks, given various situations and environments.
According to Killgore et al. (2017), researches on Emotional Intelligence as an individual’s capacity (to perceive, reflect, regulate emotions, and apply this complex ability in planning and execution) and the liaison between the modern technology and Emotional Intelligence have been gaining momentum over the past decades. Nonetheless, it is still difficult to find pertinent and practical research results that could help prepare for the era of intermediation between the technology and customers/ clients. Thus, it is interesting what role and emotional attributes scientists and engineers will finally accord to machines in symbiosis of Emotional Intelligence and Technology. As it was discussed by Picard (2004), the role of emotional content in machines is critical in order to be more empathetic and value-adding in terms of technological advancement (in recognizing human emotion, helping in reflection on emotions, managing emotions better, developing Emotional Intelligence-related skills) as well as using this knowledge and skills in decision-making and problem-solving processes.
In spite of its growing popularity across various sectors, some industries, such as healthcare or education, are particularly sensitive to the progress of Emotional Intelligence technology. The sub-industries that are directly related to health and wellbeing of citizens are particularly vulnerable to Emotional Intelligence skills at the workplace. For instance, Dimitrov and Vazova (2020) examined conflict management and empathic interaction among organizational members in Bulgaria’s long-term healthcare area, while testing the role of such skills at work. The methodologies for the development of these skills were tackled to measure the effects of Emotional Intelligence. Bonet et al. (2020) addressed the role of Emotional Intelligence therapy on suicide risk among adolescents (the sample of 65 participants), where suicide risk has significantly decreased and emotional clarity and competence improved thanks to Emotional Intelligence therapy.
Lisa Goren (2018), who is a healthcare executive coach and physician engagement consultant, recommends practical steps to enhance Emotional Intelligence in order to lead to the employees’ resiliency, lower numbers of burnout cases, and larger percentage of efficiently performing and motivated individuals. Among Goren’s suggestions, which are tightly related to management functions and business intelligence cycles, it is particularly important to: understand the context/ intention, continuous care of work-life balance and working conditions; understand, acknowledge and regulate emotions; prepare environment and action plans to apply Emotional Intelligence in concrete strategies; connect with other people along with self-monitoring and continuous enhancement tactics. In line with Goren’s insights, Saljoughi (2017) investigated the relationship between Emotional Intelligence and job burnout or happiness among high school principals in Zahedan City, where there was a significant negative relationship between the Emotional Intelligence and job burnout, and there was a significant positive relationship between Emotional Intelligence and happiness found.
Therefore, in order to mitigate the negative effects of burnout or adopt an effective prevention strategy to stress in job environments, Udod et al. (2020) investigate how Emotional Intelligence could help leaders empower work environments via interpersonal relationships and conditions for creativity. To continue, within her book ‘Emotional Intelligence in Schools’, Krefft (2020) presents a guideline on how to counsel students in the area of Emotional Intelligence, while paying special attention to handling anger, fear, grief, and guilt. Samul (2020) adds the link of spiritual intelligence with Emotional Intelligence in order to develop future leadership skills and attitudes (based on the research sample of 190 university students); thus, Spiritual Intelligence-related knowledge could be a value-adding topic within leadership education programs.
A similar research was conducted a few years later by Strong et al. (2020), while examining the Emotional Intelligence among primary school Physical Education teachers in the United Kingdom, where a set of key preconditions (such as setting key goals and interpersonal relationships or providing freedom to relatively more mature children), along with more detailed factors (such as the tone of voice, positioning of their hands or facial expressions) were critical for success of the analysed course. Mendez-Gimenez et al. (2020) support Strong’s insights by their investigation on the role of Emotional Intelligence on motivational and well-being factors in Physical Education in Spain: the high Emotional Intelligence respondents were more adaptive, self-determined, with greater psychosocial adjustment, subjective well-being, and intentions to be physically active. Ana Costa and Luísa Faria (2020) proves the effect of EI (ability and trait EI) on students’ GPA, which helps understand students’ motivational and emotional characteristics in the academic context.
Emotional Intelligence-based methodologies can help in particularly sensitive and delicate areas; for instance, Yarahmadi et al. (2015) proved that Emotional Intelligence training might alleviate the anxiety of hemodialysis patients (74 patients interrogated). While interrogating 278 autistic and 230 typically developing participants, Robinson et al. (2020) investigated the association of the five personality traits (openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism) and Emotional Intelligence with camouflaging behaviours (masking and compensating for autistic characteristics). Given camouflaging negatively related to extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness (it was positively related to neuroticism), Emotional Intelligence was negatively linked to camouflaging and autistic traits, revealing emotional difficulty among participants with autistic traits (Robinson et al. 2020). Driven by the focus on patients’ health, psychological or social issues, the healthcare experts’ Emotional Intelligence (empathy, compassion, and nonconfrontation) is necessary to provide a holistic and efficient help, while the modern technology could help build a necessary healing environment.
The application of Emotional Intelligence is critical across a vast spectrum of industries that are not directly related to care or education. For instance, Vibhor et al. (2020) examined the role of Emotional Entelligence on employees’ career success of commercial banks of India, such of UCO Bank, Indian Bank, United Bank, Federal Bank, Central bank, OBC, Dena bank and PNB (200 employees were interrogated). Vibhor et al. (2020) refer to Jain’s et al (2018) liaison between service quality & Emotional Intelligence, if Emotional Intelligence is based on self-management, self-awareness and social skills/networking. Vibjor et al. (2020) found a positive relation between career success and Emotional Intelligence, although a great number of factors should be further investigated, such as the liaison between Emotional Intelligence and employee performance, age and gender. For instance, this study shows that the female bank employees are more emotionally stable in banks; therefore, their Emotional Intelligence might lead to a bigger career success within this industry. Such results were not in line with the earlier study (2013) of Shehzad and Mahmood, who found out that both male and female university teachers are equal on Emotional Intelligence scores.
Apart from the abundance of researches on impacts of Emotional Intelligence, some authors, such as Cameron et al (2020), examined the reasons and main triggers that affect Emotional Intelligence levels (for instance the parenting style and corresponding responsiveness or support levels had the strongest positive relation to adult Emotional Intelligence). Killgore et al. (2017) emphasized the link of Emotional Intelligence with intrinsic neural network function (the sample of 54 healthy individuals), where the functional connectivity of intrinsic networks (which capture aspects, such as mentation, regulation, emotion processing, and reward) is strongly related to the Emotional Intelligence Ability (Killgore et al., 2017).
To continue, Emotional Intelligence is generating considerable interest in terms of leadership characteristics within HR or Management theories. Dale Cudmore (2020) characterised Emotional Intelligence as an important precondition to be a successful leader, which can be enhanced via innovative methodologies and technologies. A combination of traits, such as self-expression, self-perception, interpersonal skills, decision-making or stress management, is necessary to be a successful leader, driven by Emotional Intelligence in light of nowadays’ challenges.
While explaining the relation of Emotional Intelligence and leadership, Lubbadeh (2020) accentuates the importance of expected outputs and goals/ expectations of a leader who applies Emotional Intelligence competencies in his/her activities. The author clearly distinguishes the difference between maladaptive and self-centred effects and potential social-value added of Emotional Intelligence. Thus, GILE Experts believe that modern technology should be adequately programmed and customized in order to trigger more positive impacts of Emotional Intelligence among leaders, which might manifest in various favourable outcomes, such as actualization of employees’ emotions in efficient and motivated performance, along with harmonious environment and healthy work-life balance (Lubbadeh, 2020).
In order to reach all these positive outcomes, a more ingenious research on Emotional Intelligence enhancement technology and its impacts, should be conducted, starting from its technical parameters, R&D expenditure, psychological investigation, and innovative HR techniques. Similar concerns were raised by young innovators and researchers at Vilnius University Business School, where students of the course ‘Innovation and Knowledge Management’ (led by Professor M. Laužikas, 2020) acknowledged the possible social contributions of Emotional Intelligence Technology, if a set of criteria are respected, such as the power of digital platforms to collect and share resources (including knowledge and big data management), a strong symbiosis among various dimensions, such as technology, HR management, innovation, education and psychology, as well as flexible and effective strategies implementation, along with the performance monitoring and optimization models. According to Subramanian (2020), along with the AI innovation and robotics, a broader set of Emotional Intelligence will be integrated into modern technology solutions, which might change the competition rules in the market and might require adequate HR strategies and techniques.
Apart from possible opportunities in light of Emotional Intelligence Technology, some studies, such as the one of Evrything & Avery Dennison (2017), also underlines potential risks and challenges of Emotional Intelligence-driven technology, such as digital addictions. Moreover, digital emotions impact human emotional experiences and communication. Based on this survey, connectivity, digitalization and data bring new opportunities and challenges for innovation and value creation. Digital Emotional Intelligence can be defined as a framework for applying real-time data from digital devices and environments to build emotionally intelligent connections with stakeholders; where the fusion of psychology and technology leads to the ability to digitally sense emotional response and use this content while assisting various stakeholders in their decision-making and execution. Balakrishnan et al. (2019) add that the R&D focus of modern high-tech organizations is related to integration of Emotional Intelligence into artificial intelligence across real-life disciplines. Thus, embedded solutions with intelligent software decisions emerge as an untapped opportunity for various industries and include aspects, such as emotion detection, emotional agents, text emotion detection or modelling artificial and autonomous task agents.
Within the Deloitte study on high-tech trends (2020), researchers reveal rather similar trends: innovators add emotional quotient (EQ) to technology’s IQ (along with human-centered design techniques), while digital platforms are oriented to recognition of user’s emotional state and the context behind it, in order to respond to it accordingly. Various components, such as voice stress analysis and micro expression detection tools, might help improve working climate, performance and stakeholder satisfaction, while digital twins (advanced cognitive models along with embedded sensors and digital reality) help improve productivity and experience and/ or optimize processes via: simulation and modelling capabilities, power visualization, better interoperability and IoT sensors, more widely available platforms, and many other parameters.
John et Niyogi (2020) focused on the concept of Emotional Intelligence and knowledge management and its impacts on leadership and teamwork effectiveness in the context of conflict management. The authors came to the agreement that leadership comprises both intellectual and Emotional Intelligence facets which should be continuously enhanced and trained in light of volatile market conditions, management of change and conflicts.
While examining Nguyen (2019) thesis, submitted at Bournemouth University, GILE Experts agree that Emotional Intelligence (EI) should be interpreted in the context of an industry or a specific context of cultural and social norms (for instance, the case of the hospitality industry in Vietnam), as these dimensions are linked via education and training, leadership or management, and culture. Nguyen (2019) recommends Vietnamese hotels to centre emotional intelligence improvement programs on three pillars: training transfer, working environment, and management/ leadership quality. GILE Experts add that Emotional Intelligence should be interpreted in the context of a specific environment, because the inputs and outputs might differ from one industry to another, while Spiritual Intelligence and Technology should be taken into consideration in order to better understand the challenge of our future leaders.
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