Introducing Trait EI

Introducing Trait EI

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 29
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8327-3.ch001
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Abstract

The purpose of this introductory chapter is to introduce the Trait Emotional Intelligence (trait EI) construct selected as the foundation of this book, to examine the role that trait EI has in leadership and education, and to provide a history of the trait EI construct. In addition, this chapter discusses the principal arguments in the scholarly literature that reinforce the importance of the trait EI construct by examining the reliability and validity of trait EI, discussing the benefits of trait EI, and presenting the paradigms of those scholars who believe that that individuals can enhance their current trait EI skills and techniques through training. Finally, this chapter will also discuss the principal contentions in the scholarly literature that oppose the trait EI construct by examining the unreliability and invalidity of trait EI, discussing the disadvantages of trait EI, and presenting arguments that individuals cannot enhance their current trait EI skills and techniques through training.
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Introduction

Be the change you wish to see in the world. -Mahatma Gandhi

A battle for dominance rages within each human being, and it takes place between the head and the heart. When the head is in control, we are able to stay calm, cool, and collected, but when the heart is in control, we become impulsive, erratic, and irrational, oftentimes leading to instant regret. Therefore, each of us has a duty to create peace between these two warring factions so that we are able to become more effective leaders (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002) and educators (Mortiboys, 2012; Powell & Kusuma-Powell, 2010). By now, you may wonder, how can we create peace between the head and the heart? The answer is by using the construct known as emotional intelligence, the main topic of this book. For emotional intelligence enables each of us to understand our own and others’ emotions, understand the emotional context of the situation, and modify our behavior accordingly (Petrides, 2009a), which enables each of us to let both our head and our heart wear the crown.

Why do our emotions have such power over us that we must temper them with rationality? A very good question indeed, and the answer comes in several parts, firstly, because our minds give emotionally charged events preferential treatment, and therefore, we are likely to remember them, and act in an impulsive manner in emotionally charged situations (Powell & Kusuma-Powell, 2010). Secondly, because “emotions are an essential part of human life; they influence how we think, adapt, learn, behave, and how humans communicate with others” (Khulood & Raed, 2007, p. 695). Tertiary, due to the inherent social nature of the human species (Aristotle & Jowett, 1943; Neuberg & Cottrell, 2008), we have the propensity to use our emotions to connect with others in order to fulfill the yearning desire within us all to create and sustain lasting relationships (Baumeister & Leary, 1995). Fourthly, in order to preserve these relationships, we must be able to turn a highly perceptive eye inward, and understand our own emotions and actions, while simultaneously gathering data regarding the emotions and actions of others (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002), consequently satisfying both our desire for relationships and our emotional well-being as a whole (Goleman, 2005).

As a result, the purpose of this introductory chapter is to disseminate the trait EI construct that provides the foundation for this entire text, and to give a glimpse into the rich background, history, and even opposition, that surround trait EI. For these reasons, this introductory chapter, with support from the scholarly literature, will meet the following objectives:

  • Introduce the trait EI construct created by Dr. K. V. Petrides, which forms the foundation for this text.

  • Differentiate between the factions of ability EI and trait EI.

  • Discuss the role of trait EI in leadership and education.

  • Elucidate the rich history of the trait EI construct, so that one can acquire relevant background knowledge regarding the construct as a whole.

  • Present arguments supporting the trait EI construct via a discussion of the reliability and validity of the construct, and the benefits of trait EI.

  • Examine arguments that an individual can increase their trait EI skills and techniques through training, and the arguments of those who oppose this suggestion.

  • Portray arguments refuting the trait EI construct via a discussion of the unreliability and invalidity of the construct, and the disadvantages of trait EI.

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