Emotional intelligence in management
January 29, 2010—
Recent LAU graduates attended a presentation on emotional intelligence geared to help them lead successful careers, at the Beirut campus on January 22.
The lecture, which was organized by the Alumni Relations Office, was presented by Dr. Michel Chalhoub, associate professor at LAU’s School of Business, who introduced listeners to the concept of emotional intelligence before explaining how to apply it in the workplace.
“When you reach a certain level in senior management, there is a great deal of delegation,” Chalhoub said. “So you need to learn to work with other people.”
Emotional intelligence seminars became popular during the mid-1990s to help people in the workplace interact with colleagues and clients. They train individuals to manage their emotions when dealing with a situation by learning to understand that situation from the other person’s perspective.
“Emotional intelligence is not about acting emotionally,” Chalhoub explained. “Rather, it’s about perceiving, understanding and managing emotions to support sound, rational decisions.”
Chalhoub noted that the CEOs of some large corporations such as McDonalds and Walmart have been perceived by their colleagues and subordinates to be very open and perceptive toward emotional intelligence. Others, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the CEOs of Microsoft and Apple, have been perceived to have a very low willingness to apply the concept and were known to walk out on meetings when they felt tension — yet they have been very successful.
The point led to a debate among alumni over the need for business leaders, managers, and those working in technology-related fields, to use emotional intelligence.
“This is the same exact debate that is going on outside,” Chalhoub said, explaining that there is no consensus over the role of emotional intelligence in the workplace.
Chalhoub ended the lecture by reminding audience members that emotional intelligence alone does not guarantee success. According to him, successful business plans require passion, ethics and logic.
“If you don’t have that passion, you’re not going to succeed,” he said.