Behavior Change / Human Transformation

According to Intentional Change Theory, behaviour change does not occur in a linear fashion, but through five key “discoveries”:

  1. The ideal self
  2. The real self
  3. The learning agenda
  4. Experimenting and practicing new behaviours
  5. Resonant relationships and social identity groups

Boyatzis, R. E., Smith, M. L., Van Oosten, E. B. (2019). Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth Boston, MA: Harvard Business Review Press.

Boyatzis & Akrivou identified that intentional change is supported by creating a sense of the ideal self  — a primary source of positive affect and a path to allow individuals to identify why they want to adapt, evolve, or maintain a desired state. Three components comprise the ideal self: an image of a desired future and hope (with self-efficacy and optimism), and a comprehensive sense of one’s core identity.

R. Boyatzis, K. Akrivou, “The Ideal Self as the Driver of Intentional Change,” Journal of Management Development 25, no.7 (2006): 624-642.

Matthias Gruber, of University of California at Davis led research which concluded that curiosity may put the brain in a state that allows it to learn and retain any kind of information, like a vortex that sucks in what you are motivated to learn, and also everything around it. His colleague Dr. Charan Ranganath added that curiosity recruits the reward system, and interactions between the reward system and the hippocampus seem to put the brain in a state in which you are more likely to learn and retain information, even if that information is not of particular interest or importance. Gruber et al., 2014

M.J. Gruber, B.D. Gelman, C. Ranganath States of curiosity modulate hippocampus-dependent learning via the dopaminergic circuit

Neuron, 84 (2) (2014), pp. 486-496, 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.08.060

Team Effectiveness

Stubbs (2005) studied 422 people in 81 teams in a military organization. The results, using structural equation modeling, show that team leader emotional intelligence is significantly related to the presence of emotionally competent team norms in the teams they lead, and that emotionally competent team norms are related to team performance. Team leader emotional intelligence was also found to have a direct effect on team performance.

Wolff, Druskat, Koman, and Messer (2006) conducted a study of 109 teams in 6 companies (4 Fortune 500). The purpose of the study was to examine social capital as a mediating variable between Team Emotional Intelligence and performance as predicted by the theory. The Team Emotional Intelligence norms studied predicted social capital as indicated by safety, efficacy, and building relations. Social capital then predicted performance. The model explained 25% of the variance in performance and was a good fit to the data.

Fahr, Seo and Tesluk (2012) explored the role of ability-based emotional intelligence and team effectiveness. “A sample of 212 professionals from various organizations and industries indicated support for the salutary effect of EI, above and beyond the influence of personality, cognitive ability, emotional labor job demands, job complexity, and demographic control variables.”

Farh, C. I. C. C., Seo, M.-G., & Tesluk, P. E. (2012). Emotional intelligence, teamwork effectiveness, and job performance: The moderating role of job context. Journal of Applied Psychology, 97(4), 890–900.

Emotional Intelligence & Performance

Gooty et al (2014) analysed daily diary data collected from a law enforcement setting to test the interactive effect of emotions and emotional intelligence on coping. They found that those with ability-based emotional intelligence applied “emotion-focused coping” to deal with the immediate aftermath of an emotion. The authors note that emotion-focused coping uses the least amount of cognitive resources, and facilitates performance by helping individuals to meet their task demands. The title of their study was, suitably, The Wisdom of Letting Go and Performance.

Gooty, J., Gavin, M. B., Ashkanasy, N. M., & Thomas, J. S. (2014). The wisdom of letting go and performance: The moderating role of emotional intelligence and discrete emotions. Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 87(2), 392-413. doi:

Researchers explored the relationship between emotional intelligence and job performance in a sample of 310 police officers. The results show significant correlations between EI levels and police job performance. After controlling for general mental abilities and personality traits, EI has been found to explain additional incremental variance in predicting police job performance. Applied implications of the findings for police organizations are discussed.

Al Ali, O.E., Garner, I. & Magadley, W. An Exploration of the Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Job Performance in Police Organizations. J Police Crim Psych 27, 1–8 (2012).  

Coetzee & Harry conducted a cross-sectional survey with a sample of 409 early career black call center agents (Mean age = 32) employed in three of the largest outsourced financial call centers in Africa. Their findings:  Emotional intelligence positively predicts career adaptability, and that managing one’s own emotions enhances career concern and overall adaptability. Further, they found that emotional functioning supports the display of career adaptability capacities.

Coetzee, M., & Harry, N. (2013). Emotional intelligence as a predictor of employees’ career adaptability. Journal of Vocational Behavior Sep, No Pagination Specified.