Phenomenon of the Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Subject: Management Theories
Pages: 12
Words: 3706
Reading time:
13 min
Study level: PhD


By using Sperry Rail Service organization, the researcher will conduct a survey and an in-depth interview template allowing him to collect the data needed to start analyzing the thoughts and feelings that different managers have as regards Emotional Intelligence. The researcher also plans to survey and interview 28 women and 32 men.

Sperry is in need of management finesses that will attract as well as retain talent in all aspects and functional areas. Currently, the management staff is utilizing fear management style that has been established over time and resulted in a destructive dynamic within the organization (Becker, 2003). The researcher envisions that with in-depth analysis, he can review and understand the management’s deficiencies as related to Emotional Intelligence (EI) correlating to general management and leadership styles. EI is crucial for an individual to become successful in modern day organizations (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

In general, a person who displays emotional intelligence at the work place would exhibit the ability to recognize different emotions, use them to assist the thought process, become aware of these emotions and control them in the process (Becker, 2003).

Emotional Intelligence is vital for the success of an individual in any organization and can be learned at any age in addition to majority of organizations providing emotional intelligence training for their workers (Law, Wong & Song, 2004). According to Daniel Goleman, a well-recognized author in regards to Emotional Intelligence (1995), he defines emotional intelligence as the ability to recognize one’s own feelings and those of others, motivate ourselves and managing emotions well in ourselves and in our personal relationships (Jordan & Troth, 2004). An individual who is higher in the organizational hierarchy for instance managers and executives require greater emotional intelligence as compared to those in the lower levels of organizational hierarchy for instance the employees and subordinates (Law, et al., 2004).

This research project will enable the organization to place the leadership team on a training curriculum in an effort to enhance their competence as leaders and in the process increase Sperry’s ability to attract and retain top talent in the industry.

Literature Review

Emotional Intelligence (EI) as defined by John D. Mayer and Peter Salovey, well-known researchers of emotional intelligence, is the ability to monitor an individual’s own as well as other’s feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and use this information to guide one’s actions and thinking (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). In addition it is also defined as an individual’s self-awareness, self-control, commitment and integrity, self-confidence and one’s ability to communicate, accept change, ability to influence and initiate change (Becker, 2003). Emotional Intelligence is categorized into four main factors namely using emotions to facilitate emotion, perceiving emotion, understanding emotion and managing emotion (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

The first area of emotional intelligence has to do with the non-verbal reception as well as expression of emotion such as fear, happiness and anger. Once an individual has been able to accurately perceive emotion in facial expression or voice of others, the process of emotion entering into and guiding the cognitive system takes place, promoting thinking (Law, et al., 2004). Emotions have been observed to convey information whereby each emotion expresses its own pattern of possible messages as well as actions related to those messages.

Once an individual is able to identify such messages together with potential actions, the ability to reason with and about the emotional messages and actions is of importance (Becker, 2003). In the end, an individual needs to understand the fact that emotions communicate information and therefore are in a position to be managed.

Recent studies have revealed that Emotional Intelligence (EI) has a great impact on a leader’s ability to be effective within an organization. In order for a leader to be able to make effective decisions, three of the most important aspects of EI that include commitment and integrity, communication and influence and self-awareness are required (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Those managers who do not develop their EI have difficulty in establishing good relations with subordinates, clients, superiors and peers. Emotional Intelligence is considered a combination of competencies in that these skills contribute to an individual’s ability to manage as well as monitor his/her own emotions, influence opinions and correctly gauge the emotional state of others (Jordan & Troth, 2004).

Emotional intelligence is a model of five dimensions having its own set of behavioral attributes, namely self-management, self-awareness, social skills, motivation and empathy (Becker, 2003).


This is also referred to as self-regulation and is the ability to keep disruptive emotions as well as impulses in check, take responsibility of one’s performance, handle change, be comfortable with novel ideas and approaches and maintain standards of honesty and integrity (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Current management of Sperry will be required to understand how they are perceived within the organization and how self-regulation through emotional intelligence creates an environment of honesty and integrity (Law, et al., 2004).


In any organization, managers and executives will be too quick in being irritated with other individuals if they do not have self-awareness. Self-awareness can be defined as that ability to recognize a feeling as it happens, to have self-confidence and accurately perform self-assessments (Becker, 2003). This is considered the keystone of Emotional Intelligence that enables one to guide his/her own life as well as behavior.

Individuals within an organization who have high level of self-awareness tend to be honest with themselves as well as with other individuals (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Such managers and leaders avoid the extremes where they appear to be unrealistically hopeful and over critical with their employees.

Social Skills

These are fundamental to Emotional Intelligence and include the ability to induce desirable responses in others by using effective diplomacy to influence, inspire and guide groups and individuals, work with others toward a common objective, create group synergy in pursuing collective objectives (Jordan & Troth, 2004). It also has the ability to nurture instrumental relationships, that is, create bonds between individuals and listen openly as well as send convincing messages.

Majority of individuals use their friendliness in getting others to do what they want. Leaders who have developed social skills are in a better position to build a rapport easily by focusing on a common ground with everyone and establishing a broad circle of acquaintances (Becker, 2003).


Motivation can be defined as the emotional tendency that guides or facilitates the attainment of set objectives (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). In an organization such as Sperry, it consists of achievement drive where individuals strive to meet or improve a standard of excellence, optimism where people persist in pursuing objectives despite numerous challenges faced in the process (Jordan & Troth, 2004). It also includes initiative where individuals are ready to act on opportunities that present themselves and commitment, that is, alignment of goals with the organization or group. Self-motivation gauges the extent to which a person is able to motivate himself or herself in order to produce work or needs external motivation for them to perform (Becker, 2003).

It has been observed that motivation usually extends to the deep inner desire of a person to achieve beyond their and everyone else’s expectations, thus making them restless until they explore new horizons to finding better ways of performing their tasks (Law, et al., 2004). Those individuals who tend to be highly motivated continuously raise their performance expectations not only for themselves but also for their organization and teams in which they are. Motivated people are committed to seeing the organization succeed in its objectives and goals (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).


This is the understanding of others by being aware of their needs, feelings, concerns and perspectives in addition to sensing the developmental needs of others (Jordan & Troth, 2004). Managers as well as workers need empathy to be able to interact well with their clients, each other, suppliers and the public. This is a useful attribute for managers and executives of Sperry to possess as they need it when offering criticism to an individual who predictably will become defensive, when dealing with conflicts between workers and when relaying bad news for instance getting laid off to employees (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). They also need it when assigning jobs to individuals who most likely will not prefer doing it.

A person who displays empathy combines employee’s feelings and other factors in decision-making. Empathy is important to leadership in modern day business world because it increasingly uses teams leading to achievement of organizational goals, creates a growing need to retain talent and enables leaders to have a deeper understanding of other’s cultural differences (Jordan & Troth, 2004).

Responsibilities of Leaders as concerns Emotional Intelligence within an Organization

The effect of managers and executives developing self-awareness, self-management and motivation increases self-confidence in that they come to know and understand themselves in a deeper more meaningful way (Becker, 2003). According to Covey (1989), as the development of these three habits continue, an individual’s sense of control, inner directedness, integrity and identity increases with time (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

Such individuals develop an increase in caring about what others think of their relationship to them and what they think of them in general. The other two habits, which are empathy and social skills enables an individuals heal and reconstruct important relationships (Law, et al., 2004). A leader in any organization is required to have emotional intelligence to align personal and subordinate objectives in order to accomplish organizational goals.

There are four main responsibilities a leader must implement at all levels within an organization and include transfer of ownership for work to the people who do the work (Jordan & Troth, 2004). A leader should also be in a position to create an environment where the transfer of ownership can occur, where each individuals wants to be responsible for their own performance. This involves establishing a clear picture of what the organization believes great performance is all about, for it and each individual (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).

It also entails focusing people on the few great performance factors, developing in each individual the desire to be responsible for their own performance, aligning organization systems and frameworks in order to relay clear messages as to what is required for a great performance (Becker, 2003). In addition, engagement of each person’s heart, hands and mind in the business of the organization as well as energizing them around the business focus is necessary for the accomplishment of organizational goals. A leader should also be able to create conditions within the organization that challenge every individual to continue learning (Law, et al., 2004).

Benefits of Emotional Intelligence to an Organization

Development of Emotional Intelligence means management acknowledging the fact that emotions are present in the work place and consciously doing something intelligent with them. By empowering individuals through assisting them develop Emotional Intelligence skills, they are better able to become internally self-managed in addition to being able to make their greatest contribution within the organization (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). On the other hand, an organization performs best when its workers work in that zone of peak performance (Jordan & Troth, 2004).

There are a number of benefits associated with Emotional Intelligence within an organization as it affects the organization’s leadership styles, measurement of performance and how it is obtained as well as the overall dynamic of the organization (Becker, 2003). With the current economic down-turn majority of organizations including Sperry Rail Service are looking for ways to increase morale and establish relationships with their employees. As wage increment is scarce, leaders and managers are becoming more and more adventuresome and open to trying new techniques (Law, et al., 2004).

By enhancing their Emotional Intelligence, team leaders and managers become more capable of being able to maintain a positive attitude in addition to eliminating obstacles to team success (Jordan & Troth, 2004). Improvement of their individual internal motivation and persistence motivates their team/employees to sustained levels of high performance and achievement, leading to retention and development of critical talented staff (Becker, 2003).

Enhancing managers’ and leaders’ Emotional Intelligence skills allows them to become better leaders who demonstrate their passion, grow as well as retain talented leaders and lead with courage (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). It also enables them to regulate their emotions and motivate themselves in a more effective manner. Majority of employees prefer managers and leaders who tend to have their best interest at heart and are in a better position to relate with them (Becker, 2003).

Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence takes an in-depth look at the brain’s fight or flight response when exposed to a perceived stressor (Jordan & Troth, 2004). Stress management classes that are incorporated within an organization have been observed to be of great benefit to employees in that they are able to control stress and develop characteristics that are associated with a healthy Emotional Intelligence quotient (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). When a worker’s ability to deal with stress is improved by raising the Emotional Intelligence quotient, an organization profits from this together with the employee.

Research Questions

The following questions will be examined in the course of conducting the survey:

  • Are females more Emotional Intelligence prone?
  • Does level within the organization correlate to a higher EI? Meaning lower level people do not have Emotional Intelligence aptitude, is this due to formal education?
  • Is age a factor? Meaning do higher-level people that are young have a stronger Emotional Intelligence?
  • Does Emotional Intelligence correlate to the social network of a person?

Research Methodology


The method that the researcher will apply is to survey the population and then conclude and analyze the data collected. Once completed, the researcher will proceed in conducting in-depth interviews to ensure accurate and correct interpretation of the data.

Participants/Target Population

The target population will include respondents from Sperry’s management group whereby the researcher will create a survey and an in-depth interview template allowing him to collect information needed to begin analysis of the thoughts and feelings different managers have as regards Emotional Intelligence. The researcher also plans to survey and interview 28 women and 32 men working within the organization.


The researcher will use surveys and in-depth interviews as research materials that will enable him to gather the necessary data quickly and in a controlled manner. Surveys will be created using a number of questions gathered from previous Emotional Intelligence studies.

On the other hand, interview templates will be created in the same manner and will enable the researcher to query the current understanding of management’s grasp on Emotional Intelligence. The data will be gathered from the sources’ input and into a central repository, therefore capturing the exact and accurate answers in similar format to ensure continuity.

Research Design and Procedures

Survey design will be founded on the goal to consolidate the common thoughts and practices that Sperry’s management has concerning Emotional Intelligence. Survey procedures will include a live group meeting with participants to explain the reason for conducting the research survey and discussion relating to the nature of the questions on the survey.

The researcher will inform the participants that the information gathered during the survey will remain confidential and anonymous in order to gain their trust in giving accurate and honest answers. Delivery will be based online through Monkey-survey. In-depth interviews will be conducted face-to-face with the same population once the surveys are tabulated and further understanding is necessary.

Data Scoring

This will be rated according to the scoring mechanism of never, sometimes, mostly and all the time.


All data will be converted to the above four categories and a pareto chart will be completed in order to understand the weighted average within gender, age, functional department and level within the organization.


The results of the research survey will be discussed based on the outcome to each question. As the researcher finds correlation to answers, he will look for trends within the different groups that are between gender, age and management level within the organization.

Data Analysis

In an effort to investigate whether or not females are more Emotional Intelligence prone, the following data was collected during the research survey.

Table 1: Are Females more Emotional Intelligence Prone?.

Emotional Intelligence Male Female All the Time Mostly Never Sometimes
Self- awareness X X X
Social Skills X X
Self-Management X X X
Motivation X X X
Empathy X X

From the above table, those who agree to the fact that women are more Emotional Intelligence prone are marked with a tick (√) while those who disagree are marked with a cross (X). It was observed that both women and men tend to have a common gender specific profile of strong and weak points (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). It was also observed that on average, while women were more aware of their emotions, more adept interpersonally and had the tendency to show more empathy, men exhibited capabilities of being in a position to handle stress better, more self-confident and optimistic as well as adapt more easily to sudden situations (Becker, 2003).

In addition, while a majority tended to agree with the fact that females are more Emotionally Intelligence prone due to their nature, others suggested that this only happened at particular times under certain situations.

The researcher proceeded to investigate whether or not the level within the organization correlates to a higher EI. He also investigated whether formal education contributed to lower level people not having Emotional Intelligence aptitude. The results are indicated below.

Table 2: Does level within the organization correlate to a higher EI? Meaning lower level people do not have Emotional Intelligence aptitude, is this due to formal education?

Emotional Intelligence High Level (Managers) Low Level (Subordinates)
Self- awareness 30 14
Social Skills 9 25
Self-Management 5 4
Motivation 11 12
Empathy 5 5

Does the Level within an Organization Correlated to a Higher EI

The table and figure above indicate that those individuals at the higher level are more likely to have an increased perception of their Emotional Intelligence capabilities as compared to those of the lower level. As for the belief that lower level people do not possess Emotional Intelligence aptitude which can be as a result of no formal education, this is not true as there are those who are within the low level but have been observed to have an inflated view of their EI (Salovey & Mayer, 1990). Emotional Intelligence is something that is learned with time and therefore whether or not an individual has had formal education is not an issue.

In an effort to investigate whether or not age was a contributing factor as regards Emotional Intelligence within Sperry organization, the researcher collected the data which is indicated below.

Table 3: Is Age a Factor? Meaning do higher-level people that are young have stronger Emotional Intelligence?

Age Self-Awareness Self-Management Empathy Motivation
21 – 30 years 21 8 6 15
31 – 40 years 15 10 8 21
41 – 50 years 10 21 15 10
51 – 60 years 8 15 21 8
Above 60 years 6 6 10 6

Is Age a Factor?

From the table and figure above, it can be observed majority of younger individuals have high Emotional Intelligence while majority of older individuals have lower Emotional Intelligence. There are younger individuals with a highly developed self-awareness as compared to their older counterparts who have not yet developed these abilities. In addition, majority of older individuals, both male and female tend to show more empathy as they are charged with the responsibility of understanding and solving community problems, being a positive example for others in the process (Becker, 2003).

However, there are still those younger people with higher empathy levels and this can be contributed to the fact that they have learned how to empathize while carrying out their tasks within and without the organization. Therefore, age is not necessarily a key factor in regards to development of stronger Emotional Intelligence (Law, et al., 2004).

The researcher proceeded to investigate whether or not EI correlates to the social network of a person and the data is shown as below.

Table 4: Does Emotional Intelligence correlate to the Social Network of an Individual?

Age Men Women All the Time Mostly Sometimes Never
21 – 30 Years 14 21 X X
31 – 40 Years 21 15 X X X
41 – 50 Years 10 14 X
Above 50 Years 14 10 X X

From the table above, those who agree to the fact that emotional intelligence does correlate to the Social Network of an individual are marked with a tick (√) while those who disagree are marked with a cross (X).

It can be observed that those individuals with higher emotional intelligence tend to have better social networks as compared to those with lower emotional intelligence. In addition, more women than men with higher level of Emotional Intelligence have better social networks as compared to their male counterparts. Younger females than males are also observed to develop better social skills and networks due to their Emotional Intelligence, thus the reason as to why majority of younger individuals within the organizations are better able to relate with their clients (Salovey & Mayer, 1990).


As aforementioned in the research study, Emotional Intelligence incorporates one’s ability to discriminate emotions, mood management or have control over emotions, balance honest expressions in regards to these emotions and pay attention to various emotions displayed by individuals within an organization. For Sperry Rail Service to better enhance its performance through implementation of Emotional Intelligence, it needs to train its staff and management on acquisition of EI to achieve its set objectives.


Becker, T. (2003). Is Emotional Intelligence a Viable Concept? Academy of Management Review, 28. Pp.192 – 195.

Jordan, P. J. & Troth, A. C. (2004). Managing Emotions during Team Problem-solving: Emotional Intelligence and Conflict Resolution. Human Performance, 17(2). Pp. 195- 218.

Law, K. S. Wong, C. & Song, L. J. (2004). The Construct and Criterion Validity of Emotional Intelligence and its Potential Utility for Management Studies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 89. Pp. 483 – 496.

Salovey, P., & Mayer, J. (1990). Emotional intelligence. Imagination, Cognition, and Personality, 9(3), 185-211.