Emotional Intelligence: Assessing Its Importance in Safety Leadership
- Richard Olawoyin (Oakland University)
- Document ID
- American Society of Safety Engineers
- Professional Safety
- Publication Date
- August 2018
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 41 - 47
- 2018. American Society of Safety Professionals
- 0 in the last 30 days
- 62 since 2007
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- Traditionally, encouraging positive safety behavior has been carried out through extrinsic factors such as training, engineering and compliance measures, and rewards-based or disciplinary systems.
- Many studies show that developing employees’ social and emotional intelligence skills may produce better results with greater longevity.
- This article explores the links between emotional intelligence and professional safety behaviors.
- It also presents examples of extant studies that support a positive correlation due to higher levels of moral maturity, improved regulation of emotions and behaviors, and greater cognitive reasoning abilities.
Workplace safety is an essential part of business operations and the success for any professional work culture rests on a combination of factors such as management support, quality safety and health processes and procedures, effective safety training and employee buy-in. Safety leadership is important for achieving organizational safety goals, where leaders exert influence on employees through positive interactions. Transactional and transformational leadership are two unique leadership styles that have been broadly studied and reported (Gardner & Stough, 2002). Transactional leadership emphasizes work standards using reward or discipline-based systems to influence performance, while transformational leadership provides inspiration, stimulation, motivation and individualized consideration for each employee (Bass & Avolio, 1994). The influence from transformational leadership is more effective and yields better employee performance and satisfaction (Hater & Bass, 1988). This influence becomes even more effective when properly used with other applicable strategies such as emotional intelligence (EI) at every level of an organization.
EI is defined as the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional meanings, and to regulate emotions reflectively to promote both better emotion and thought (Mayer & Salovey, 1997). In simpler terms, it is our ability to recognize and understand not only our own emotions and reactions but also that of others. EI is vital for perceptive thinking, intuitive emotion response and managing stressful situations. It is an influential tool for team leadership, which helps with thorough situational awareness of how one’s words and actions can affect others. It is a gateway to a balanced life and is essential to every aspect of life including work environments. EI is widely considered an important variable in training, leadership development and team building by organizations (Joseph, Jin, Newman, et al., 2015). Employees with the ability to effectively manage their emotions and use emotional information have been found to perform better than those who lack such ability (Parke, Seo & Sherf, 2015). According to EI, success is strongly influenced by personal qualities such as perseverance, self-control and skill in getting along with others.
|File Size||333 KB||Number of Pages||7|