Mayer and Salovey (1997) developed a model for emotional intelligence that consists of four components: perceiving, use, understanding and managing of emotions. The perceiving of emotions refers to the ability to recognise emotions in others by assessment of their face, voice and nonverbal signs. The use of emotions refers to the use of emotions to help with decision-making. The third element is to understand emotions and this entails understanding the expansion and progression of emotional states in others as a key to being able to manage relationships. The management of emotions means the person should have a new approach to responding to others, based on the previous assessment of their emotions.
Earley (2015) suggests the following four components to ensure that leaders become effective, namely, embeddedness in a culture of honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and transparency. A lack of these ethical principles will mean that organisations or teams will not succeed or survive in the long run. These ethical principles should flow from top management down to all levels in the organisation. If the leader acts honestly and with integrity and is trustworthy the followers will see and take it as the acceptable behaviour. To be transparent means the leader should share the good as well as the bad things with the team members and this will include all those stakeholders that have an interest in the organisation.
Leader’s according to Earley (2015) should understand their own strengths and weaknesses and admit their shortcomings. This is an indication of a leader’s humility and humanises the leader. This also means that a leader should seek and welcome feedback and criticism. For leaders to be effective, they should trust that their followers will do their jobs and provide them with the resources to do so. This means that the leader should have empathy and a care for the followers. The third element of an effective leader is that the leader should be vision-driven (Earley, 2015). Leaders should see the broader picture and not only focus on specific tasks and initiatives. This requires an eye on the vision.
Other components of effective leaders are to know their potential customers, competitive weaknesses and the organisational value propositions (Earley, 2015). Leaders should have confidence in themselves and their ideas. This will allow them to convince their team members about their ideas. It is important that this confidence is not perceived by the team members as arrogant or intimidating. To be an effective communicator as leader means that the leader should be inspirational and convincing (Earley, 2015). It is important that communication should take place at the grassroots level to ensure that team members buy-in.
Effective communication goes hand in hand with being positive and optimistic, irrespective how bad the news or situation might be. Another characteristic of an effective leader, is that he/she should be a good team builder (Earley, 2015). This includes, most significantly, the skill to attract top skilled and talented team members for the organisation. An effective leader should ensure that the organisation attracts members with excellent skills and talents to the benefit of all stakeholders and the organisation at large. A leader that strives for effectiveness should act as facilitator to generate discussion and consensus. Effective leaders regularly and publicly acknowledge others for contributions made rather themselves. If praise is given when due, team members accept criticism better and can learn from it (Early, 2015). For example, a study conducted by Kirkpatrick and Locke (1991) suggested that effective leaders have a high need for success. This vision of success must be embedded in the vision for the organisation. Secondly, leaders have a need for authority and control so that they can influence and motivate others to achieve organisational goals. Thirdly, leaders should have integrity and observe sound ethical principles. Leaders must tell the truth and keep their word to build trust with their followers. This can only be achieved if the leaders act ethically under all circumstances. If this trust relationship amongst the leader and the team members is broken, it can have a detrimental effect on all the stakeholders of the organisation and the organisation as a whole.
Another trait of leaders is that they need to be sure of themselves or at least show that they are. This does not mean that leaders should be arrogant and give the impression that they know everything. Above-average intelligence is a pre- requisite to be an effective leader. Leaders do not have to be excessively intelligent. In addition leaders should have an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the organisation and in particular what the stakeholders expect from the organisation. Leaders should be continuously up to date about internal and external factors that can impact the organisation. This is important to capitalise on any opportunities or to mitigate any threats. Lastly, a leader should have high emotional intelligence, have great social skills and be able to manage their emotions well (Kirkpatrick & Locke, 1991).