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Leadership Resource Group

Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

About Us
Emotional Intelligence
Leadership Qualities
Managing Change
Situational Leadership Theory
Servant Leadership Theory




Emotional intelligence is a relatively new concept that is being used in contemporary workplace research. In organisations today, emotional intelligence plays a major role in effectiveness of management. The way people behave can give a clear distinction on their personality and therefore, that’s why emotional intelligence is a key element management must incorporate.


This report will illustrate the up and coming importance of emotional intelligence and how effective it is for leaders to comprehend, whilst providing examples for support.


Considering the importance of emotional intelligence this report will cover applied behavioural models and concepts that are linked to leadership, whilst demonstrating the effect it can have for management.




Before the 1990’s, emotional intelligence (EI) had been overlooked as a part of human nature (Caruso et. al, 2002). Instead management’s role or position was generally measured on intelligence quotient (IQ). EI is also known in the form of emotional quotient (EQ). EI can be defined as “the ability to perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions so as to assist thought, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge and to reflectively regulate emotions so as to promote emotional and intellectual growth” (Ashkanasy N, and Dasborough, 2003).


Emotional intelligence can be measured through five different dimensions. These dimensions are:


Self-awareness: People who are self-aware have the ability to recognise and understand their moods, needs and emotions. These people are able to anticipate their actions to the extent that they will not be able to affect others (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003).


Self-regulation: The ability for a person being able to control their emotions and redirect them elsewhere (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003). If for example management had problems with a employee, instead of yelling they have the ability to remain calm and maybe discuss the situation with someone else.


Self-motivation: This is about being able to direct emotions to personal goals and delaying gratification (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003). People with a level of motivation tend to be goal orientated and want to achieve the best they can.


Empathy: The ability to “understand, and be sensitive to, the feelings, thoughts and situations of others” (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003, pg126). The explanation of empathy basically means being sensitive to others emotions.


Social skill: One of the hardest dimensions to master is social skills. This is the process to be able to manage other people’s emotions. The process requires social skills and to be able to guide other peoples behaviours. There are many elements to social skills, such as being able to build networks, find others interests and building a rapport with people (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003).


Scholars are tending to look at these dimensions in a hierarchy form of a model, with self-awareness at the lowest level and social skill to be the highest level of EQ (McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003).


EQ vs. IQ


Emotional intelligence, which is discussed earlier is the exact same as emotional quotient. Intelligence quotient (IQ) on the other hand is “a number denoting a persons intelligence by dividing his mental age by his age in years” (Haywood, A. & Sparks J.  1982, pg613). In the professional and technical line of business IQ is generally treated as being a top priority. IQ that is known to be largely genetic, generally does not change a lot from childhood (Maetrix Improving Business Performance, 2004). Since most people are calculated to end up in the top 10% of the intelligence quotient (110 – 120), then IQ itself does not really give people a competitive advantage in the business world (Cynthia L, Kemper, 1999).

If EI is incorporated it can enhance a person quality to carry out tasks to much higher levels. EI can be learned at any age in life (Lauren Thomsen-Moore, 2004). Learning to master EI is not in fact an easy or a quick procedure though. Growing competency in EI takes a lot of perseverance, commitment, self-evaluation and of course behavioral practice (Cynthia L, Kemper, 1999). It must be noted that EI does not increase with age as many may expect, some learn from life experiences as others learn visually (Maetrix Improving Business Performance, 2004). Having a high IQ and a high EQ, then management is more prone to being better leaders (Daniel Coleman, 1995).



In organisations today management need to demonstrate effective leadership skills in order to get their objectives completed or to get ahead in the business world. Leadership can be defined in many ways, depending upon the type of analysis that the viewpoint is taken from. For example; the different ways in which leadership can be analysed is by personality, physical traits, behaviour and the relationship between the leader and followers. More generally leadership is said to mean “the process of influencing an organised group towards accomplishing its goals” (Huges R, et al, 2002, pg7).


Although there are many ways in determining a leaders behaviour, a very popular choice is the leadership grid. The leadership grid provides a means of evaluating leadership styles (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R, 2003). The horizontal axis on the grid represent the concern for production (job and task aspects of leadership behaviour) and the vertical axis represents the concern for people (human aspects of leadership behaviour), (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003). The leadership grid is also designed to train managers on certain leadership styles the corporation’s wishes to incorporate. Figure 1 gives a detailed description of the leadership grid and can be viewed below in ‘illustrated models’.


(1,9) = Country club management: Attention is more focused on people for satisfying relationships, which leads to a comfortable, friendly organisational atmosphere and good work tempo (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003).


(5,5) = Middle of the road management: Moderate workplace performance is possible through the balance of work output with marinating a morale level with people that is satisfactory (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003).


(1,1) = Improvised management: Minimum effort is required to get productions levels up and also little effort in dealing with people (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003).


(9,1) = Authority - compliance management: Efficiency in operations that production levels are high and there is minimal human interactions that occur (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003).


(9,9) = Team management: The most respected method, work accomplishment is committed from people, high concern for people and for production (Davidson, P. & Griffin, R. 2003).


Most companies using this approach tend to find that quadrant 9,9 is the best approach of leadership style.


To be able to produce the effective leader there are seven competencies that a leader must perform in to be at peak performance. These seven aspects of leader are:


-          Drive: inner motivation to pursuer goals.

-          Leadership motivation: leaders need for socialised power to accomplish team or organisational goals.

-          Integrity: leader’s truthfulness and tendency to translate words into deeds.

-          Self-confidence: leader’s beliefs in their own leadership skills and their ability to achieve objectives.

-          Intelligence: leaders above average cognitive ability to process enormous amounts of information.

-          Knowledge of the business: leaders understanding of the companies environment to make intuitive decisions.

-          Emotional intelligence: leaders ability to monitor their own and others emotions.

(Source: McShane, S. & Travaglione, T. 2003, pg468)




Today’s business world companies are looking for more and more in a leader. An organisation needs a leader that is able to stand arrest and represents the company to portray a good image. The old days leaders where chosen generally based on their intellegience. IQ is a minor part in choosing the appropriate person to lead a team or a company.


The things that make a great leader are those who inspire and mobilise the people that surround them. They take an interest and are aware of other peoples views, are good listeners and communicators, and also are successful in getting results, not only for themselves, but for the company and people around them (McLelland R, 2003). The most important aspect of a great leader is having the ability to recognise their own emotions and reactions and how these behaviours have an effect on others that surround them (Macaleer W, and Shannon J, 2002). There is a simple formula that best describes a great leader, and that is:


IQ            +            MS                +               EQ              = Management Performance

Intellectual            Management                  Emotional

Intelligence           Skills                              Intelligence

Quotient                                                       Quotient

(Source: McLelland R, 2003)


The relationship between leadership and EI is that when proper EI is demonstrated by the leader it will increase business performance. EI and leadership in relation to business shows that good leadership values and practices will lead to a higher level of employee performance. This inturn will provide positive workplace environment which therefore will lead to a higher level of customer results (McLelland R, 2003).




Emotional intelligence and leadership has a major affect in the effectiveness of current leaders today; it also distinguishes good leaders from great leaders. The issues, theories and information discussed show you that in the business world organisations are starting to pay a lot of attention to a leader’s emotional behaviour. The report contains good examples to stable the report.

Illustrated Models

Figure 1: Leadership Grid