Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership: Essential Tools to Prevent Corruption in Organizations

Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership: Essential Tools to Prevent Corruption in Organizations

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-8536-1.ch013
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Emotional intelligence (EI) turns out to be one of the most indispensable elements of leadership and of those managerial positions since it refers to the way in which we perceive our own and other people's emotions within different environments. There are different theories that have contributed to the development of this concept, however, Daniel Goleman, named EI's father, focused on these investigations as an essential part of leadership. Nowadays, it is considered important to know the leadership styles to prevent corruption, since each person who performs the functions of a leader adopts a different style depending on the needs of the company or the behavior of its followers; transformational leadership (TL) is one that motivates its followers to have a broader vision by creating an environment favorable to organizational change with an innovative attitude, in addition, these leaders inspire to create a better future. The purpose of this research is to discover how EI influences the profile of a manager with the characteristics, thus avoiding corruption in organizations.
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Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions, as well as the emotions of others (Goleman & Gladwell, 2021). On the other hand, corruption is defined as the abuse of public power for personal gain (Ashforth & Anand, 2003). At first glance, there may seem to be no relationship between EI and corruption, but there is a significant connection between them.

First, corruption can be seen as a symptom of a lack of EI. Corrupt individuals are often impulsive, selfish, and lack empathy towards others (Gorsira, Steg, Denkers & Huisman, 2018). These are characteristics that directly relate to a lack of EI. If individuals in positions of power had a higher level of EI, they would be less prone to corruption since they would be more aware of the consequences of their actions and have a more remarkable ability to control their impulses.

Second, EI is also essential to prevent corruption in the workplace. Leaders with emotional skills can create a fairer, more transparent work environment (Judge & Robbins, 2017). These leaders can listen and understand their subordinates, fostering trust and loyalty. Additionally, an emotionally intelligent leader can effectively recognize and manage conflict, reducing the chances of corruption spreading within the organization.

Finally, EI can also be used to combat corruption. Individuals working in the anti-corruption field often face high-pressure and emotionally stressful situations. Researchers with emotional skills can better handle these situations by staying calm and making informed decisions. In addition, emotionally intelligent leaders can detect subtle changes in the behavior of suspected individuals, which can be critical in uncovering and preventing corruption.

Emotions play a vital role in organizational behavior, as it turns out to be one of the factors that influence the relationships of business leaders since these allow them to develop positive skills and abilities in the direction of goals and objectives, both organization as well as personal aspects (Masaldzhiyska, 2019), encouraging social relationships within the company to be carried out harmoniously and to be effectively oriented towards communication and within teamwork. It is undeniable that emotions are one of the alert systems of human nature; they also turn out to be complex for the mind since it implies physiological and psychological changes (Gardner, 2014) that are reflected in the form of interpersonal interaction, linked, in a direction, to decision making, creation of leaders and their acceptance.

For their part, Bradberry and Greaves (2018) consider EI as “the ability to recognize and understand one's own emotions and those of others, as well as the ability to use the information to manage behavior and relationships” (p.30). With these two points of view, it can be mentioned that Goleman (1998), the godfather of EI, expresses the importance of non-technical skills at work, relating EI qualities directly to leadership, arguing that success does not precisely depend on intellectual and traditional crafts. He also disagrees that these are irrelevant, they are essential, and he calls them threshold capabilities; that is, they are the key to being able to be in an executive position.

Now, what Goleman (1998) has shown throughout the studies is precisely to note that EI is the sine qua non of leadership (p. 82). This is a consequence of the fact that intellectual capacity offers excellent training, an analytical and incisive mind, and numerous intelligent ideas; however, even with all this, it does not understand the characteristics of a great leader (Goleman and Gladwell 2021), so the relationship between EI and leadership is undeniable. The capacity for analysis and mental development is not enough. Still, it is necessary to relate it to emotions and their management to guide impulses and actions toward a common good.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Personality: Distinctive characteristics of an individual that influence how they think, feel, and behave.

Prevention: Measures and actions to prevent unwanted situations and problems. Prevention can be applied in different areas, such as health, security, and the environment.

Corruption: Abuse of power for improper personal, financial, or political gain. It involves the unlawful use of power and authority by individuals or institutions to gain an improper advantage, such as bribery, extortion, influence peddling, or nepotism.

Organizational Tools: Resources in organizations to facilitate the management and administration of their daily activities. These tools can be technological, such as project management software, customer tracking systems, and online collaboration platforms.

Emotional Intelligence: A person's ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as to recognize, understand, and respond appropriately to the emotions of others.

Organizations: Social entities with a standard structure and purpose. These can be companies, government institutions, non-governmental organizations, civil associations, and unions.

Transformational Leadership: Leadership approach in which leaders inspire and motivate their followers to achieve a higher level of performance and personal development.

Emotional Competencies: Skills and knowledge necessary to identify, understand, and manage one's own emotions and those of others. These skills are essential for EI and the ability to establish effective and healthy interpersonal relationships.

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