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Emotional and social intelligence of incident team commanders fighting wildfires

Posted date: November 20, 2018
Publication Year: 
2017
Authors: Boyatzis, Richard E.; Thiel, Kiko; Rochford, Kylie; Black, Anne E.
Publication Series: 
Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Source: The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. 53(4): 498-516.

Abstract

Incident Management Teams (IMTs) combat the toughest wildfires in the United States, contending with forces of nature as well as many stakeholders with different agendas. Prior literature on IMTs suggested roles and cognitive sense-making as key elements for success, but the possible importance of emotional and social intelligence competencies in leadership has not been empirically explored. Sixty critical incidents from interviews of 15 incident commanders were analyzed for emotional and social intelligence competencies in incident management leadership. Seven competencies were found to significantly differentiate outstanding leaders from average leaders. Emotional self-control, adaptability, empathy, coach/ mentor, and inspirational leadership significantly or near significantly differentiated the outstanding leaders. Five additional competencies appeared as threshold competencies: achievement orientation, organizational awareness, influence, conflict management, and teamwork. Implications for further research, training, and development are explored.

Citation

Boyatzis, Richard E.; Thiel, Kiko; Rochford, Kylie; Black, Anne. 2017. Emotional and social intelligence of incident team commanders fighting wildfires. The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science. 53(4): 498-516.