Despite the considerable research from psychology and neuroscience, leaders who are clearly deficient in emotional intelligence continue to be recruited, chosen and promoted in organizations.
In working as a consultant and executive coach to senior executives and boards, I am still amazed at how they continue to be attracted by the stereotypical charismatic, ego-driven leaders who see no value in developing self awareness, emotional self-management and building positive relationships.
The term emotional intelligence or EQ was popularized in the mid-1990's by Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Inteligence, which was based on the work of researchers John Mayer and Peter Salovey. In addition to creating initial legitimacy for EQ in comparison to general IQ, this work and the research that followed, opened the door to seeing emotions as a legitimate aspect of performance in the workplace. Up to that point, the discussion of emotions and feelings as a leadership competency had almost been taboo.
Howard Gardener and others subsequently identified multiple intellligences and unlike general IQ, which may be fixed for life, EQ was seen as something that could be developed. Subsequently, neuroscience identified aspects of our brains' workings that have signficant implications to how we lead and how employees behave and perform. David Rock very nicely described this in his books Your Brain At Work and Quiet Leadership.