Emotional Intelligence Development: Leveraging Individual Characteristics

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Emotional intelligence, Training, Leadership development

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the separate and combined effects of three individual characteristics on training gains achieved in a leadership development program designed to enhance participants' emotional intelligence (EI). The overall purpose was to test heretofore untested propositions advanced by various theorists concerning the impact of openness to experience (OE), self‐efficacy (SE), and receptivity to feedback (RF) on training outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach – This empirical study utilized a sample of 135 fully‐employed business students in a treatment/control group research design.

Findings – The findings suggest that leadership development professionals will likely derive differential EI training gains depending upon participants' status across several variables. Receptivity to feedback was directly associated with EI training gains while the SE‐RF and SE‐OE interactions were predictors of EI training gains.

Practical implications – The results hold implications for organizations that seek to enhance the EI of leaders both effectively and efficiently. The application of these findings to a range of leadership development practices and to training efforts that focus on other competencies are discussed.

Research implications – The paper connects EI to one of the major challenges facing leaders and leadership development professionals in the future: managing change and offers recommendations regarding research on other factors that are likely to optimize results achieved through efforts to develop the EI of leaders.

Originality/value – This is the first study to investigate the impact of these three individual characteristics on training gains achieved. The paper's findings suggest that some individuals are better candidates for EI training and presents a method to identify them.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Journal of Management Development, v. 28, issue 2, p.150-174