The Psychodynamic Approach


Emotional Intelligence




Psychodynamic Motivation vs. EI Inspiration

The Psychodynamic approach excels in understanding motives and how a follower became the way they are. This perspective towards followers allows for deeper connections and more effective relationships to be formed between a leader and a follower. If a leader understand how what a follower aspires to be, as well as how they arrived at their current self they as well as their own aspirations and path to the present, the leader will be able to put themselves in the shoes of their followers and act in a way that enhances relationships and organizational performance. The EI approach peddles a different approach to relationships, where inspiration and developing others is the main focus. Inspiration is a difficult, but effective process that the Psychodynamic approach somewhat avoids by taking a followers motives in mind and using what inspiration the follower already has and redirecting it towards the benefits of the team and organization.

Psychodynamic over Ei

While both approaches are effective in developing effective leadership, the Psychodynamic approach excels in the area of specifics that the Emotional Intelligence approach does not. For example, the Psychodynamic approach has many in depth definitions and examples of leader-follower relationships such as social defense mechanisms, mirroring, Folie á Deux, and identification with the aggressor. This focus allows for a leader to analyze their interactions with followers, and their follower’s behaviors in a way that allows them to understand the follower’s motivations, emotions, and personality. The emotional intelligence approach simply describes what to do such as: have empathy, organizational awareness, and a service orientation, these instructions can be useful as a starting point for understanding followers, but does not account for any roadblocks in the way or specific situations like the Psychodynamic approach. The Psychodynamic approach is a much more personal model than EI that stresses the significance of the emotions and behaviors between a leader and their followers.


The main concepts of the Psychodynamic approach to leadership and the EI approach, also known as the Emotional Intelligence approach to leadership intertwine and correlate in many ways. The psychodynamic approach focuses on the personality of the leader as well as the follower and uses a prescriptive leadership style that changes for the personality dynamic between the leader and follower. EI is very similar because it takes in the emotions of the leader and the emotions of the follower and gives advice on how to manage the relationship from that point. The self-awareness and social awareness of required for EI to succeed, is very similar into the self-awareness and social awareness needed for the psychodynamic approach to succeed because for one to be able to take their own personality as well as the personalities of their followers into account they must have those skills. Both approaches also champion the idea that a effective leader is necessary for the growth and success of an organization before other factors.

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