ESSAY: Strategic Leadership and Innovation

Read Chapter 14 of our text.

Launch the week seven lesson in the lesson section of the classroom.

Read this article – Relationship between leadership styles and organizational innovation.

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Before beginning this week, please watch the attached Powerpoint presentation. There is sound attached to this presentation so when you open it, select slide show and allow it to advance automatically.


Emotional intelligence (EI) is a key element of effective strategic leadership. EI refers to an individual’s capacity for recognizing one’s emotions and those of others.

In previous weeks, we focused on “what leaders do and how they do it.” This week, we address “who leaders are.” That is, we focus on individual attributes instead of leader behavior. It is important to point out that these two issues are highly related because successful leaders possess valuable traits that enable them to engage effectively in activities to create value for their organization.

Although there have been countless studies of leader traits and skills (e.g., integrity, maturity, energy, intelligence), we address one that has really garnered a lot of attention in both the academic and business presses: Emotional Intelligence (EI). This concept has been popularized by Daniel Goleman who has published best-selling books.

Recent studies have found that effective leaders have a high level of EI and that EI is a better predictor of life and career success than IQ (intelligence quotient). The five components of EI are:

Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy, and, Social Skill

Globalization is another reason for the increasing importance of empathy (one of the five elements of EI) for business leaders. Cross-cultural dialogue can often result in miscues and misunderstandings. Empathy is a valuable antidote. Managers who have it are attuned to subtleties in body language. They can hear messages beneath the words being spoken. Further, they have a deep understanding of the existence and importance of cultural and ethnic differences.

For example, consider the case of an American consultant whose team has just presented a proposal to a Japanese client. When dealing with fellow Americans, the team was accustomed to being bombarded with questions after such a proposal. However, this time it was greeted with a long silence. Most of the members of the team interpreted the silence as disapproval and were ready to leave. However, the lead consultant gestured them to stop. Although he was not very familiar with Japanese culture, he was able to read the client’s face and posture and sensed not rejection but interest – even deep consideration. He was correct. When the client finally spoke, it was to award the consulting firm with the job.
Goleman, D. 1998. What makes a leader? Harvard Business Review, 76(6): 93-102.

There are some potential drawbacks of EI. Below are a few flipsides of the benefits of its essential components if taken in the wrong context.

1. Effective leaders have empathy for others (leaders may confuse empathy with sympathy and fail to make “hard decisions”)
2. Effective leaders are astute judges of people (leaders may rely too much on their judgment and dismiss others’ insights)
3. Effective leaders are passionate about what they do, and they show it (passion may prevent leaders from other possibilities and ignore realities that others see)
4. Effective leaders create personal connections with their people (if there are too many unannounced visits, it may lead to fear of micromanagement.)

Corporate entrepreneurship (CE) refers to building entrepreneurial businesses within existing corporations. It has two primary aims: the creation of new venture opportunities and strategic renewal. In this section, we address corporate growth and renewal via internal venture development.

All the factors that influence the strategy implementation process – corporate culture, leadership, features of organizational structure, and rewards and learning systems – will affect how corporations engage in internal corporate venturing.

In some large corporations, the spirit of entrepreneurship permeates every part of the organization. It is found in companies where the strategic leaders and the culture together generate a strong impetus to innovate, take risks, and seek out new venture opportunities.

Firms using a focused approach typically separate the corporate venturing activity from the other ongoing operations of the firm. That is, CE is usually the domain of autonomous work groups that pursue entrepreneurial aims independent of the rest of the firm.

Two forms – new venture groups (NVGs) and business incubators – are among the most common types of focused approaches.

Corporations often form new venture groups whose goal is to identify, evaluate, and cultivate venture opportunities. These groups typically function as semi-autonomous units with little formal structure. A NVG’s mandate often extends beyond innovation and experimentation to coordinating with other corporate divisions, identifying potential venture partners, gathering resources, and, in some case, actually launching the venture.

Business incubators are designed to “hatch” new businesses. They are a type of corporate new venture group with a more specialized purpose – to support and nurture fledgling entrepreneurial ventures until they can thrive on their own as standalone businesses.

A culture of entrepreneurship is one in which the search for venture opportunities permeates every part of the organization. Everyone is attuned to opportunities to leverage the assets and capabilities of the corporation to create new businesses.

After reading this week’s material answer ONE (1) of the following three questions in this forum:

1 – In your own words, define Emotional Intelligence (EI) and describe the key elements of EI and discuss how it differs from Intelligent Quotient (IQ). Why is EI so important to successful strategic leadership? Do you think that EI or IQ is more important for effective leadership and/or management? Give an example of a leader you have known with high EI and explain your selection.

2 – Discuss turnaround strategies and when an organization needs to develop one. Give an example of a company that has recently taken on a turnaround strategy. Did it work? Explain.

3 – What is transactional leadership compared to transformational leadership? Give an example of when each would be appropriately used.



Strategic Leadership and Innovation

Question 1: Emotional Intelligence Definition and its Key Elements

Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability of an individual to identify and respect the emotions of others and oneself. EI has five key elements namely; self-regulation, empathy, motivation, self-awareness, and social skills (Chen & Guo, 2018). Self-awareness is a concept where one understands his or her own emotions hence not letting them influence the decision making process. Self-regulation is the ability of an individual to control emotions. Motivation, on the other hand, is an element that illustrates how people with high EI focus on long-term success. Empathy is the ability of a leader to recognize and understand the needs and perspectives of followers. Lastly, social skills are …

Emotional Intelligence Vs Intelligent Quotient

Emotional intelligence and intelligent quotient (IQ) differs in that EI helps in ensuring that one understands his/her emotions together with the emotions of other people while IQ indicates the level…

Importance of EI in Strategic Leadership

EI is highly important in strategic leadership since it helps in identifying the reaction of people towards a given leadership style. Communication in leadership is paramount and EI provides an avenue where communication can be achieved through identifying people’s emotions to a given issue (Chen & Guo, 2018). Upon identifying the emotions, a leader can …

Importance of EI or IQ in Effective Leadership

EI is more important in effective leadership than IQ. EI helps in ensuring that emotions are not totally influential in making sensitive decisions. It guides leaders towards making decisions that are highly beneficial to an organization’s long-term success (Chen & Guo, 2018). On the other hand, having either high IQ or low IQ is not a guarantee towards… 

Example of Leader with High EI

Elon Musk is an example of a leader who has illustrated a high emotional intelligence level. Being the leader in Tesla, he has always offered decisions in recognition of people’s emotions. At one instance when Ford’s former CEO Allan Mulally commented that Tesla vehicles would not work, Musk understood the emotions that his employees would get from this comment and ended up praising the employees’ work and encouraged them to work together to improve their work. In this case, Elon Musk illustrated…


Chen, J., & Guo, W. (2018). Emotional intelligence can make a difference. Educational Management Administration & Leadership1(1), 1. doi: 10.1177/1741143218781066

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