Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Skills

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 25
Words: 6915
Reading time:
26 min
Study level: PhD


Effective leadership requires people to have the capacity to manage their emotions well. For this purpose, integration of the perspectives of emotional intelligence in leadership becomes crucial (Gardner & Stough, 2009, p.69). Many scholars contend that leaders need to possess qualities such as the ability to listen effectively to others, the ability and willingness to speak in an honest and kind manner, be approachable, and have the capacity to make decisions that are well informed (Kehler, 2011, Para. 5). In the proposed research, it is anticipated that all these traits are engulfed within the spheres of emotional intelligence. For the purposes of discussions of the research proposal, emotional intelligence refers to the capacity to proactively understand and or manage not only an individual’s emotions but also the emotions of other people interacting with an individual (Sosick & Megerian, 2008, p.369). Fundamentally, the concept of EI is approached as constituting the five crucial building blocks. The first block is self-awareness. Being self-ware implies that a leader has the capacity to eloquently understand his or her feelings. He or she knows how such feelings can possibly impact the people he or she leads. This revelation infers that the leader in question clearly understands his or her strengths coupled with weakness that may influence his or her productivity. The second block is self-regulation. This entails remaining in control of every situation a leader faces. In other words, leaders who are able to self-regulate themselves possess minimal probabilities to attack various members of work teams, make rushed emotionally instigated decisions, and or comprise the values of the work team members. The other three blocks are motivation, social skills, and empathy. Empathy entails putting one into the situation of another person. In the context of leadership, the situation is that of the subordinates. In relation to social skills, effective leaders who possess high levels of emotional intelligence have magnificent communicating skills. Since the purpose of this paper is to propose a research on the efficacy of emotional intelligence in the realization of an effective force of leadership in the non-profit sector, the EI building blocks in the literature review are given more weight. In this end, a major effort is also put to establish the link between leadership and emotional intelligence from the exiting body of knowledge. The rest of the paper is arranged in the following order: research questions, statement of the hypotheses, problem statement, and purpose of study. These sections are followed by discussion of research variables and then the reliability and validity of the research. Finally, methodology is considered followed by the potential limitations and delimitations of the study.

Purpose of the Study

The noble purpose of the proposed research is to analyze the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and leadership practices of male and female leaders in non-profit organizations throughout the Midwestern nations. While conducting a G Power 3 analysis based on a quantitative multiple linear regressions in the preliminary evaluations of the significance of the research, the researcher was able to determine the required sample size as 138 using alpha of 0.05. The power for the research is 0.95. Non-profit leaders throughout the Midwest will be requested to participate in the research. The use of email distribution lists and LinkedIn groups will provide a clear definitive group of leaders from whom to poll.

Statement of the Problem

The work of David Goleman established that emotional intelligence is possible to measure and hence study (1995, p.97). There is an evident close association of emotional intelligence with effective leadership in profit-oriented organizations by many scholars. Therefore, it becomes crucial to investigate whether non-profit organizations can equally benefit from the same. Non-profit organizations consistently face the challenges of depleted funding and resources, which require them to employ successful and dynamic leaders. These leaders are forced to find creative solutions to budget restraints and resource cuts on a daily basis. A major problem that comes up in this endeavor is that few leaders display or have the ability and tenacity to maintain a thriving non-profit organization regardless of the economic environment. Consequently, a research associated with emotional intelligence and leadership skills of nonprofit leaders in the Midwest will help to guide nonprofit executives better in making the correct hiring of decisions that will allow their organizations to survive and even thrive in a primarily grant dependent environment. Through studying and identifying the leadership skills that are required for non-profit successful organizations and or how emotional intelligence affects them, appropriate leaders possessing high magnitudes of EI can be hired in the first time. This effort will have the impact of making organizations well prepared for the unpredictable environment of the non-profit arena.

Statement of the hypothesis

There are two null hypotheses and two potential alternative hypotheses that will be deployed in the proposed research. The first null and alternative hypotheses focus primarily on the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership practices. On the other hand, the second hypotheses (null and alternative) address the issue of a potential differences in scores based on gender of non-profit leaders. These sets of hypotheses are discussed below.

  • Alternate Hypothesis: Non-profit leaders who score higher on emotional intelligence inventory testing display better leadership practices than those who score lower on the same emotional intelligence inventory testing.
  • Null Hypothesis: There is no relationship between scores on the emotional intelligence inventory survey and quality leadership practices.
  • Alternate Hypothesis: Female non-profit leaders generally score higher on emotional intelligence inventory tests than their male counterparts thus concluding that female non-profit leaders display better leadership practices.
  • Null Hypothesis: There is no relationship between emotional intelligence inventory test scores of female non-profit leaders versus those of their male counterparts as it relates to quality leadership practices.

Research Questions

Several questions stem from the analysis of the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership practices of male and female non-profit leaders in the Midwest. This study will address two main questions.

  1. What is the relationship between the leadership practices of Midwestern non-profit leaders and their emotional intelligence levels? Do Midwestern non-profit leaders with high emotional intelligence scores also score high on the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)?
  2. Is there a statistically significant relationship between LPI scores, Emotional Competency Inventory scores (ECI), and the gender of Midwestern non-profit leaders? Does one particular gender score higher than the other does on any particular portion of either assessment?

Research variables

Several variables are going to be deployed in the research. Emotional Intelligence (EI), as indicated by the Emotional Competency Inventory 2.0 (ECI), is the first variable of the research. It stands out as an ordinal variable whose scoring is based on a 1-6 range of behavioral anchors. Leadership practice as it appears in the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) is yet another variable. It is an interval variable. The scoring is based on a 1-10 rate of leadership behaviors from self-reports and those of observers. An average is then calculated for a total. A third variable is gender: male non-profit leaders versus female non-profit leaders. This one acts as a nominal variable. Unfortunately, solid measurable ratio variables do not apply in the proposed research since the research topic pertains to behavioral elements and not numerical elements with a clear zero value. The definition of these variables, as applied in this research proposal is provided in the following section.

Ordinal variable

Ordinal scales used in the research “allow things to be arranged in order based on the concept they possess” (Zikmund et al., 2010, p. 298). Emotional Intelligence, as indicated by the Emotional Competency Inventory 2.0 (ECI), comprises scores based on a 1-6 range of behavioral anchors. The term rank order is often used to describe an ordinal scale or variable. For example, the 6 ranges of behavioral anchors that will be used in the ECI will provide a rank of how each behavior is scored based on specific emotional intelligence factors.

Interval variable

According to Zikmund et al., “interval scales have both nominal and ordinal properties though they also capture information about differences in quantities of a concept” (2010, p. 299). Leadership practices used in this research, as indicated by the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI), determine scoring based on a 1-10 rate of leadership behaviors from self-reports and those of observers. Something like the LPI would not only determine where leadership behaviors rank on the 1-10 scale. Besides, it would determine the amount that one leadership behavior may have out-ranked another, which is indicative of interval variables.

Nominal variable

In the research, “nominal scales represent the most elementary level of measurement and the value assigned to an object for identification or classification purposes only” (Zikmund et al., 2010, p. 297). The use of gender as a variable in the measurement of emotional intelligence and leadership skills in non-profit leaders is a nominal variable. Since the research will study the identification categories of male versus female non-profit leaders, a nominal status is deemed adequate.


This research relies on primary sources to generate the requisite data whose analysis will help to reveal the existing relationship and correlation between emotional intelligence and leadership in the nonprofit making organizations with principle focus being on the impacts of EI on leaders based on gender differences. In a primary research, data is generated either quantitatively or qualitatively (Murname & Willett, 2011, p.215). Contrary to qualitative research, quantitative research generates numerical data that can be converted into numbers for statistical analysis and review. More often, quantitative research entails garnering data by distribution of questionnaires, conducting surveys, and interviews (Uprichard, 2004, p.408). Questions appearing in the surveys and the questionnaires are designed such that the anticipated responses can be scaled. Precisely, this research deploys surveys and questionnaires as the main mechanisms of generating data. Therefore, the approach used in this research is “looking at amounts or quantities of one or more variables of interest” (Leedy & Ormond, 2010, p. 94). The choice of this methodology is influenced by the idea that Quantitative research has much strength. The two most important strengths are the fact that the research results are usually independent of the researcher and that the research provides quick and precise numerical data (Creswell, 2009, p.112: Murname & Willett, 2011, p.217). This outcome is essential since the challenges associated with qualitative methods such as influence of the biasness of the researcher on data skewing are eliminated.

Another important issue that is given consideration in the selection of the method to be used in data collection is the time limits for research. The available time to conduct the research is limited to five months. Questionnaires and surveys are justified methods for data collection due to the fact that, by collecting data primarily via questionnaires and surveys, the process of collecting such data is often far less time-consuming than doing it during qualitative studies (Gray & Guppy, 2007, p.83). Therefore, combining both the better definitive and less time characteristics associated with the two methods make the approach of using questionnaires and surveys garner data more credibly. However, this does not imply that the research is immune to the weaknesses that are posed by the use of questionnaires and surveys as the main methods of collection of data for the current research.

When conducting quantitative research, a researcher may miss certain phenomena because the focus rests predominantly on hypothesis testing as opposed to theory generation (Zikmund et al., 2010, p.299). For instance, a researcher studying leadership abilities of non-profit leaders may miss how leadership behaviors are affected by the specific type of non-profit work environment if she or he focuses only on leadership abilities. Additionally, the knowledge produced by quantitative studies may be too general to apply to specific situations (Zikmund, et al., 2010, p.309).

Amid the weaknesses cited above, researching emotional intelligence and its relationship to leadership practices in male versus female non-profit leaders is conducive to correlation research methods. By capturing the scores of leaders’ emotional intelligence, as well as their leadership practices, the research would not require manipulation of any variables involved. Instead, observations of the scores and analysis of any correlation between the variables are made. This makes it possible to eliminate experimental research. The benefit of using correlation research methods is that the impact of the scores is natural and undisturbed (Creswell, 2012, p.59). The current research will in no way interfere with the daily activities of participating non-profit leaders. Therefore, there will be fewer disruptions in comparison with experimental approach. This further aids in maintaining ethical standards in the field. The cost of using correlation research methods as opposed to experimental is that the causality may be unclear. However, this may not be a definitive course. It may not affect the variables tested.

Limitations and delimitations

Reliability and Validity

Reliability and validity are essential to this research. They must be taken into consideration together at equal face values. The ECI testing inventory is valid to the extent that variables test what they are claiming to arrive at the desired construct (extent to which the test corresponds to theory) and predictive validity (correlation between performance on the test and real-world performance). In fact, the ECI testing inventory has been shown to be reliable since it yields dependably consistent scores (Cherniss, 2001, p.49).

The LPI testing inventory has also been found by scholars as valid. For instance, according to Kouzes, the LPI indicates excellent predictive validity in studies of the relationship between the LPI scores of individuals and variables such as work-group performance, team cohesiveness, and member commitment, among others (2001, p.29). In addition, internal reliability testing has already been done on LPI. The scales were generally above.80 indicating that this is not only a valid measuring tool but also a reliable one (Kouzes, 2001, p.36).

Threats to Validity and reliability

Validity and reliability of the results of a study are influenced by differences in the characteristics of the study groups and the population for which the results will be generalized to reflect (Powell, 2004, p.115). Interaction of selection and treatment occurs when the groups of participants involved in a study are so unique that the results of the study will not generalize beyond that particular group. In order to generalize the results of this research accurately and validly to a larger group, the population will need to have exactly the same characteristics as the study group. This encompasses one of the major threats to reliability and validity in the current research. Since the study will focus on a selected group of non-profit leaders (mostly those in the Midwestern U.S.), the capacity to expand deductions to apply in other areas that are not taken into perspective by the research is limited. Additionally, most of connections are those working in the women’s and anti-violence movements, which make the population deployed in the research unique. Therefore, perhaps the results might not even be applicable to those working in non-profit organizations operating outside the two specific areas. This limitation is mitigated by ensuring that references are made specifically in the context of the study when relaying the results.

Ethical Issues

The methods used in the study attract the need for consideration of ethical impacts of data collection means. On the other hand, the disbursement of the survey questions and their subsequent return will be voluntary. Hence, since the content is not of confidential or personal nature, there are no significant ethical concerns. Despite the fact that the emotional intelligence survey will be assessing the participants’ ability to process information from an emotional intelligence perspective, I plan to inform all participants that the results will remain anonymous. I do not intend to associate names or other identifying information with the survey results. The same applies to the leadership practices survey. Additionally, I will not be revealing or readdressing any trauma or personal information that must be adhered to and treated during the course of my research. The voluntary and primarily indirect nature of my research (most communication will be done via email and telephone) ensures that there are fewer ethical concerns. However, in case ethical question are encountered during the process, consultations will be made with the dissertation committee and the IRB.

Potential Errors

In case Type I error is made on the testing of the hypotheses, an inference is made that there is a genuine relationship between the emotional intelligence scores of female non-profit leaders and their leadership practices as well as a relationship between the emotional intelligence scores of male non-profit leaders and their leadership practices. This may occur when there was no significant statistical data to support the claim. The likelihood of this error occurring is 5%. It could drastically decrease the validity of any results anticipated.

Conversely, if Type II error is made during hypotheses testing, an inference is made that no relationship exists between the emotional intelligence scores of female non-profit leaders and their leadership practices and that there is no relationship between the emotional intelligence testing scores for male non-profit leaders and their leadership practices. In both cases, the significance of the statistical data would reflect otherwise. There would in fact be a relationship. The likelihood of this error occurring is 20%. It could also drastically decrease the validity of the anticipated results.

Literature review

The utmost goal of advocating for EI in leaders of nonprofit organizations is to enhance their effectiveness so that they can achieve a lot with minimal efforts. For this purpose, it becomes important to lay some fundamental background on what constitutes effective leadership in any organization.

Effective leadership

In an organization, leaders are the vision carriers (Kehler, 2011, Para. 2). Effective leadership is about possession of the ability to influence other people into ones way of thinking. This concern is implied by Polychroniou (2009) when he informs, “leadership is influencing people to get things done to standards and qualities above their norm in a willing way” (p.343). Therefore, effective leadership entails complex processes often characterized by influence processes, interaction of various actors (followers and leaders), and a range of myriads of possible anticipated outcomes (Samad, 2009, p.164). In an organization, leaders play variety of roles including serving as sources of inspirations, inducing organization changes through corporate leadership, and serving as the main sources of organizations’ power and visions (Samad, 2009, p.165). It is crucial to note, “People change when they are emotionally engaged and committed” (Kehler, 2011, Para. 4). Since one of the noble responsibilities of leaders within an organization is to bring about change, it infers that effective leaders also need to be emotionally intelligent. This way, a leader must develop the capacity to “articulate shared visions in a way that inspires other people to act according to the desired organizational vision” (Schachter, 2009, p.49). This argument points at deducing that effective leadership is ideally result-oriented. In the effort to ensure that leaders achieve their duties, it is essential that they appreciate that their precise achievement of job requirements is dependent on their capacity to learn from their followers the things they do not know and which may influence the success of the organizations that they lead. This can only happen if the leaders in question are able to understand the people’s concerns through opening up new ideas, revelations, and insights (Samad, 2009, p.167). Butler and Chinowsky (2006) supports this argument by asserting, “continuous learning process can be exercised, in particular, through engaging in a constant dialogue with peers, advisers, consultants, team members, suppliers, customers, and competitors” (p.121). In this process, it is relevant that leaders articulate the emotional affiliations of people in the daily tasks of leadership. Indeed, research evidences that, for effective leadership, emotional competencies are required (Polychroniou, 2009, p.353).

Effective leadership thrives in an environment of comprise. In this end Mitrabinda, Hii, and Goo (2012) argue, “effective leadership is different…It has to do with values internalized and the willingness to sacrifice for others” (p.126). This means that developing the ability to care for the people that one leads precedes effective leadership. Additionally, it is impossible to lead with a complete sense of commitment. Unfortunately, it is also impossible to lead without commitment (Mitrabinda, Hii & Goo 2102, p.127). Thus, effective leadership does not micromanage. It provides clear and concise guidance. Besides, it allows people to do their jobs effectively through making compromises. Crucial to note also is that effective leadership develops in an environment of mutual trust and respect.

Effective leadership entails the ability of a leader to ensure that all volatile situations within an organization are managed well in the attempt to “achieve good outcomes to meet the target of the activities and objectives set by organizations” (Ruderman et al., 2006, p.39). Successful leaders are able to motivate and inspire other people. They are also able to foster development of a positive work environment. They should understand and perceive other people’s emotions. All this is critical in ensuring that challenging opportunities that may exist within an organization are turned around to constitute the strengths of an organization. Put differently, “leaders’ skills are capable of motivating and encouraging subordinates to contribute towards the effectiveness and success of the organization as a whole” (Anand & Udaya, 2010, p.65). Without effective leadership, an organization would suffer from blurred visions, which often than not lack clear focus on the desired direction of an organization in the future.

The distinction between leadership and management is one of the scholarly areas that have attracted an intense attention. Early researches in this area presumed that leadership was synonymous to management. However, with consideration of the roles and the scope of the two areas, it is now evident that leaders are different from managers. Managers are more interested in the mechanisms that ensure that organizations succeed in the context of anticipated future uncertainties by enhancing their profitability (Corbell, 2012, Para.7). A manager’s noble role is to orient all organizational factors of production strategically to achieve this aim. In this extent, people are perceived as capital assets possessed by an organization, which, while well utilized coupled with other capital asset such as land, becomes possible to achieve organizational success (Watkins, 2012, p.12). On the other hand, a leader does not presume that people are ordinary assets that are available at the disposal of an organization. Rather, a leader considers them as special capital assets since they have emotions and different behaviors, which would suffer incredibly if not conditioned and aligned in a manner that would ensure that the emotional and behavioral differences are not unified in the anticipated success of the organization in question (Bass & Avolio, 2007, p.193). Additionally, while a manager may be looking for mechanisms of enhancing compliance, a leader looks for the challenges in people depending on the way they perceive various recurrent challenges within an organization as contributing to their ineffectiveness. Therefore, a leader would enhance the success of the organization that he or she leads by looking for mechanisms for correcting the challenges so that the entire organization workforce is maintained on track (Watkins, 2012, p.13).

Driven by the concerns of making distinctions between the roles of managers and leaders in an organization, Kouzes and Posner (2009) came up with the theory of leadership development composed of five dimensions termed as practices of leadership (p.2). Precisely, the theory argues out, “Successful leadership models the way people inspire, share visions, challenge the process, enable others to act, and encourage others (Kouzes & Posner, 2009, p.3). Rastogi and Dave (2010) advocate Kouzes and Posner’s model of leadership claiming that leaders who are effective in their work deploy these practices to ensure that organizations precisely accomplish their visions (p.79). This model is significant in approaches of project management. The main roles of project manager entangle coordination, facilitation, and motivations (Lewis, 2006, p.31). These three aspects comprise the three pillar of effective leadership. Therefore, it is crucial to posit that it is necessary in the discipline of project management for managers to “balance their decisions to meet the needs of all parties involved to bring together different groups of individuals to create a team environment” (Palmer et al., 2001, p.5). This argument implies that it is plausible within the managerial environment for leadership qualities to be incorporated in the derivation of roles and obligation of managers if project outcomes are to be realized with great precisions. Such qualities encompass the capacity to appreciate, perceive, and respond to people’s emotional intelligences. Fortunately, as it will be seen later, studies on effective leadership and emotional intelligence confirm that they are directly related to each other.

Link between leadership and Emotional intelligence (EI)

In the world that has been transformed through globalization, organizations encounter hefty challenges emanating from increased competitions and technological changes. Consequently, organizations are constantly forced to seek emotional intelligence’s contribution in making leaders develop the ability to lead diverse work team to the realization of spelt out organizational vision (Paninchukunnath, 2008, p.68). This entangles embracement of new dimensions of the roles of EI in leadership. Traditionally, EI has been long associated with scholars in academics. Hence, approach for measuring EI had been predominantly based on the intelligence quotients (Hess & Bacigalupo, 2010, p.223). Arguably, approaching EI this way is very narrow. One cannot give a comprehensive understanding of how EI can contribute to the development of an effective leadership arm in any organization (Clarke, 2006, p.19). For this reason, researchers now contend that there are alternative components that can be deployed to measure EI apart from IQ scores. This assertion is supported by Samad’s (2009) works, which argue, “leaders need to have more than just the required skills and IQ but also the right personalities and emotions to face challenges” (p.159). In the attempt to develop cognitions of emotional of people to deal with them in the work places in the most pragmatic way, it is critical that leaders consider perspectives of self-regulation and self-awareness in leadership tactics.

Leaders possess visions of organizations (Kehler, 2011, Para. 2). The definition given and the strategies deployed to orient the entire organization’s human resource to the organizational vision are largely dependent on the emotional attributes of the leaders. In this context, it is crucial to define EI as “the capacity to reason about emotions and of emotions to enhance thinking” (Mayer, Salovey & Caruso, 2004, p.201). Leadership is different from management. However, an enormous scholarly research is available detailing the impacts that emotional intelligence has on managers. For instance, Bostjancic (2010) argues that EI among managers is crucial since it influences behaviors and satisfaction among the employees (p.205). This implies that managers who are endowed with high attributes of EI are better suited in providing support to the employees since they are able to take responsibility of their feelings coupled with how other people feel. Apart from consideration of the roles that EI may have on employees, it is also confirmed by a number of studies that EI is an essential component of good leadership. For instance, a study by Schachter (2009) reveals that a leader’s level of EI is “a good sign of how he or she will perform in the working atmospheres” (p.47). It is argued by Paninchukunnath (2008) that EI can help in an optimistic way in determining the extent of a leader to succeed in his or her duties (p.68). In this context, EI is critical in leadership since it enables leaders to develop the capacity to control and monitor the performance of the subordinates without infliction of fear and prejudice to them. This input is essential in aiding to shape the employees’ perceptions in their work and reflections of their needs. EI is also significant in the integration of leadership and management approaches while handling organizational affairs.

With regard to Goleman (1998), effective leaders have a common attribute in that they possess a substantive degree of emotional intelligence (p.98). This means that such leaders are able to evaluate conditions in which their decisions are required to enhance the success of organizations, which they lead. This outcome is achieved through making distinctions of emotions of others and those of leaders themselves. This forms the basis for making the decision on the most preferred action that will not attract conflicts of interest among all organizational stakeholders (Hess & Bacigalupo, 2010, p.228). Emotional intelligence has a big relationship with the leaders’ capacity to effectively manage emotions. In this line of argument, Lowe and Kroeck (2006) assert, “transformational leadership appears to be dependent upon the evocation, framing, and mobilization of emotions whereas transactional leadership appears to be more dependent upon subordinates’ cognitions…it tends to follow a rational model of motivation” (p.386). Opposed to the assertion that EI can help to induce transformational leadership, Khalili (2012) argues that transformational leadership is a function of “higher levels of subordinate effort, performance, and higher ratings of effectiveness from supervisors” (p.357). This argument has prompted the emergence of additional paradigms of studying the role of EI in leadership.

Rather than considering the roles of EI in leadership in general, new focus has been on examination of the significance of EI in styles of leadership. In this extent, EI is considered an incredible tool for perceiving various situations accurately, emotional expressions, appraising, accessing, and generating various emotions especially when emotions are the determinants of thoughts and decision-making processes adopted by individuals (Hawkins & Dulewicz, 2009, p.61). EI is also essential in enhancing the capacity of leaders to understand a myriad of workplace emotions (Khalili, 2012, p.359: Kooker, Shoultz & Codier, 2007, p. 32). In this extent, EI is essential in leadership in aiding to help leaders to develop emotional knowledge coupled with the capacity to regulate emotions in a bid to help them to manage and promote emotional intellectual growth. The works of Schachter (2009) suggests that individuals have differences articulated to the “ability to appraise their own emotions and those of others” (p.59). These findings suggest that people who have high EI levels have better abilities to open up to organizational internal and external experiences that may impede success. These findings are significant and crucial in the context of organizational leadership. In fact, the success of a leader in executing his or her mandates is dependent on the ability of such a leader to handle various emotional stimuli that emerge in the day-to-day operations of an organization in an effective manner so that they do not influence the productivity of the workers in an organization. It is important then for a leader to be capable of communicating effectively on circumstances that may impede the success of an organization (Kunnanatt, 2008, p.615). Luckily, leaders with high degrees of EI are great communicators.

Theoretical paradigms of the roles of EI in enhancing leadership are the empirical studies that assess the exiting relationship between effective leadership and emotional intelligence. For instance, Alston (2009) suggested that EI has the ability to predispose leaders to deploy behaviors that are transformational in their work environments (p.112). The author further argues, “Consistent with the conceptualization of idealized influence (a component of transformational leadership), leaders who are able to understand, manage their emotions, and display self-control act as role models for followers thus enhancing the followers’ trust and respect for the leaders” (Alston, 2009, p.115). This implies that only leaders who possess a high degree of emotional intelligence are able to perceive and evaluate the extents to which various anticipations of subordinates can be attained in an accurate way. Arguably, this goal is achieved through the leadership sub-component of transformational motivation. This claim confirms Leban and Zulauf’s (2004) findings that EI leaders needs to cutely understand the needs of those they lead as the basis of making appropriate decisions within organizations (p.554). While conducting an examination of various non-transformational styles of leadership, some styles do not necessary need leaders to have empathy towards other people. These styles include “management-by exception active and management-by exception passive” (Butler, 2005, p.25). The author also argues that these two approaches in leadership only depict reactive behaviors (Butler, 2005, p.29). In the study of leadership styles deploying 56 project managers, Clarke (2010), made a conclusion that EI is congruently related to the vital elements of transformational leadership (p.11). These are individualized considerations, idealized influence, and inspirational motivation. On a different research, Alston (2009) reports a very high correlation between inspirational motivation and EI (p.53). The findings are critical in attempting to derive the roles that EI may play in fostering effective leadership among leaders in the non-profit sector organizations.

For the purposes of determining whether EI may constitute a crucial type of human ability, it is significant that sufficient methodological constructs be developed to scrutinize whether indeed EI forms an essential criteria in the selection of people to lead organizations. For instance, Bar-On models “describe EI as a set of interrelated emotional and social competencies, skills, and facilitators that impact intelligence behavior” (16). This model has five meta-factors that are required by leaders with high degrees of EI. They are interpersonal skills, general mood, and intrapersonal adaptability and stress management. From the contexts of Bar-On model, EI is defined as “an array of non-cognitive capabilities, competencies, and skills that influence ones ability to succeed in coping with environmental demands and pressures’’ (Bar-On, 2007, Para.10). The capacity of a manager to monitor and control his or her emotions coupled with those of other people who are dependent on his or her decisions is “correlated with the inspirational motivation and individualized consideration components of transformational leadership” (Kunnanatt, 2008, p.621). On the other hand, the capacity to monitor the myriads of emotions of a person and those of other people is directly correlated with the components of transformational leadership such as idealized behaviors (Kunnanatt, 2008, p.621). Therefore, it inferable that two main competencies underlay the capacity to develop effective leadership in an organization. These are the ability to manage emotions and the ability to monitor emotions of leaders and those of the people that they lead.

Based on the model developed by Goleman, several scholarly researches have been completed on EI competences among organizational leaders. For instance, Stein et al. (2009), find, “executives having higher level of empathy are more likely to yield high profit-earning companies” (p.83). On the other hand, Polychroniou (2009) links the qualities such as empathy, social skills, and motivation to perspectives of transformational leadership (p.344). In the same line of research, Clarke (2010) argues that there is a direct correlation between competences of project managers with their levels of attentiveness to details (p.15). Empathy acts as the chief mediator of various social skills and effectiveness possessed by leaders. This means that a possible relationship exists between social skills and empathy among the leaders who are able to proactively orient their workforce to a common organizational vision.

A more recent attempt to determine the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership is based on the EI scores that are based on five main factors. The first factor is the emotional expression and recognition. This entangles the capacity to identify personal, emotional, and feelings coupled with ability to express such feelings to other people. The manner of expression of such feelings may either support ones roles a leader in an organization or act as hindrance to ones leadership effectiveness. The second factor entails direct cognition of emotions. This refers to the “extent to which emotions and emotional knowledge are incorporated in decision making and or problem solving” (Mitrabinda, Hii & Goo, 2012, p.123). Emotional knowledge has also been identified as an ample tool that helps leaders to mitigate certain characteristics of subordinates that may hinder common understanding between them and the subordinates (Anand & Udaya, 2010, p.65). Another important factor is the capacity to proactively understand the external emotion of the various people. With regard to Mitrabinda, Hii, and Goo (2012), this factor encompasses the “ability to identify and understand the emotion of others and those that manifest in external stimuli” (p.123). The third factor is the capacity of a leader to manage his or her emotions for effective leadership. However, the leader needs to have the ability not only to manage his or her emotions but also the emotions of others. This calls for possession of the ability to balance both negative and positive emotions of an individual and those of other people with whom a leader is in constant contact. The last factor is the emotional control. According to Mitrabinda, Hii, and Goo (2012), this refers to “how effectively emotional states experienced at work such as anger, stress, anxiety, and frustration are controlled” (p.123). Arguably, this five-factor approach of determining how EI may impact ones leadership is depictive of a myriad of abilities that are related together with regard to how effective a leader may deal with workplaces’ emotions. It assesses how people feel, act, and think pursuant to their emotional attributes.

While working as a leader in organizations, it is required that one is able to address various problems related to peers. In this extent, the roles of emotional intelligence are vital in resolution of peer conflicts. According to Sosick and Megerian (2008), “the degree to which a manager acts decisively and fairly when dealing with problems employees and the emotional intelligence is the measure of assertiveness” (p.380). This implies that assertive people have the highest ability to ensure that their feelings are well expressed during conflicts in a manner that is non-destructive. What this argument means is that, when handling performance issues, which are problematic within an organization, EI is crucial. For the success of an organization in a dynamic environment, it is desirable that concepts of change management be upheld by all organizational stakeholders. However, it is important to note that the noble role of a leader is to initiate and ensure that change management is inculcated at all the hierarchical structures of the organization that he or she leads. In this line of thought, the study by Polychroniou (2009) indicates, “EI skill has to do with the effectiveness of the strategies used to facilitate change initiatives” (p.353). Apparently, the perception of an individual’s capability of introducing and maintaining change within an organization is articulated to the ability to enhance cooperation among peer group work teams. Such work group members are dominated by persons with diverse emotional characteristics that define their behaviors. Only a leader who is EI knowledgeable is able to harness all these diversities so that all workforces in an organization are oriented to a common organization’s visions spelt out and directed by the leader in question. Therefore, creating and maintaining change in an organization deserves dedication of the responsibility of organizational leadership to a person who possesses high skills for establishing both interpersonal and intrapersonal tactics to confine people and or maintain them focused to the desired final state that would aid in securing long terms success of an organization. Luckily, Ruderman et al. (2006) confirm that these two traits are some of the essential qualities that are possessed by a leader who has high emotional intelligence knowledge (p.43).

From the discourse of the theory of effective leadership and the above discussion on the theoretical paradigms of the link between emotional intelligence and leadership, it is apparent that the existing literature on the correlation between these two theoretical constructs is preoccupied by perspectives of consideration of leadership effectiveness in an organization through deployment of EI. Therefore, empirical evidence of the correlation between the two remains inadequate. However, this does not mean that there have not been efforts to come up with an empirical model for leadership and EI. For instance, Rahim and Psenicka (2010) have considered empirical evidence that seeks to justify that emotional intelligence is a critical aspect of effective leadership in an organization (p.327). The only significant drawback of this empirical study is that it made use of a very small sample (43 participants).

The existing body of literature is confined to general organizations. This means that the noble goal of conducting the research is to look for both empirical and theoretical paradigms of explaining how leadership can be made effective through incorporation of aspects of emotional intelligence with the need to enhance the success of organizations in terms of profitably. In nutshell, the focus has been on the profit making organizations. Therefore, a gap exists since research has not been conducted on the impacts of EI on leaders of organization, which are not driven by profit-making motives. The varying impacts of EI on the organizational leaders have also not been given incredible attention from the perspective of gender factors. This research seeks to seal these gaps and hence add additional knowledge on the differing impacts of EI in the leadership of non-profits making organization with particular focus on the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership practices as it relates to male versus female non-profit leaders.


This paper proposes a research on the roles of EI in leadership of non-profit making organizations with particular interest on gender differences. The investigation of the literature review reveals that a gap exists in the research on the roles of EI on leadership since the existing research predominantly dwells on the general organizations. Narrowing the focus of the body of research to non-profit making organization is argued as being justified since many organizations deploy various mechanisms thought to affect positively organizations to the extent that such approaches can help an organization improve its profit levels. Due to time constraints, primary research through questionnaires and surveys will be utilized in garnering data. Once the data is acquired, the main approach for drawing inferences is to determine the relationships and correlations of EI with leadership for non-profit oriented organizations.


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