Emotional Correlates of Leadership: Examining How Emotional Intelligence Influences Leadership Styles
Zeljka Vidic, Western Michigan University, USA
Program ID: LEC-09D
Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm
A number of researchers (e.g., Goleman, 1998; Mandell & Pherwani, 2003) suggest that contemporary leadership demands require understanding emotions and the abilities associated with emotional intelligence. Such considerations have placed additional importance on developing leaders’ interpersonal skills, and concepts such as emotional intelligence (EQ) have gained popularity in the leadership literature due to their link to increased productivity (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002). However, the lack of robust empirical evidence documenting the role EQ plays in leadership effectiveness is equivocal to date (Antonakis, 2004). Thus, this study examined the relationship between emotional intelligence competencies (i.e., self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management) and a leadership style model that includes four different leadership styles (i.e., servant, transformational, transactional and passive/avoidant). According to this working leadership style model, these four leadership styles fall on a continuum based on how leaders interact with their followers and the nature of the situation, with two factors differentiating between leadership styles, including: (a) level of sophistication of knowledge, skills and/or experience required to implement the style in appropriate situations, and (b) the level of intrinsic motivation needed to develop critical leadership behaviors. Participants included 535 students (mean age=18.0 years) at a military institute where the self-governing ‘Corps of Cadets’ is designed as a ‘leadership laboratory’ where students develop leadership skills. The results of canonical correlation analysis revealed that individuals high in transformational and transactional leadership, and to a slightly lesser extent servant leadership, but low in passive/avoidant leadership, were associated with higher EQ scores on all four dimensions, suggesting EQ may be an antecedent of effective leadership. These findings provide additional empirical support for the nature of the relationship between leadership styles and EQ competencies that are consistent with theoretical predictions. Practical implications of these results focus on EQ’s role in leadership research and development.