The Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Subject: Management
Pages: 8
Words: 2268
Reading time:
9 min
Study level: PhD


Leadership is defined as the ability to inspire support from and confidence in people who are expected to realize organizational goals. It can also be defined as the interpersonal influence that gains effect through communication towards the attainment of goals. Leadership is a necessity in all levels of organizations, and it can be exercised by people who may or may not have been assigned to perform it. Leadership is comprehensively understood as a long-term partnership or relationship between leaders and a group of members. In leadership, it is the leader and the group members who are connected to such an extent that both are balanced. For leadership to be understood, it is imperative to understand the nexus between leadership and management. Leadership concerns the interpersonal aspects of the job of a manager. Unlike management that deals with organizing, planning and controlling, leadership concerns itself with inspirations, change motivation and influence. The manager should as well learn to manage and lead the people. Leadership is also defined as the ability to move or to influence other individuals towards achieving personal and group goals, and it is not a magical trait. Leadership can be developed, mastered and improved if the leader develops some interest to learn and apply the principles of leadership. An individual can be a leader if he or she develops the resolve and determination to nurture the abilities of leadership.

Leaders are needed in communities, organizations, nations and states. Everyone in a group setting nurtures the characteristics that a lot of people want like the ability to think, confidence, poise and respect. Leadership has an impact on the performance of the organization by making assumptions. Organizational culture and leadership are considered to be two sides of the same coin because the leaders must first create a culture when they create organizations and groups. Cultures are instrumental in establishing the leadership criteria as well as determining the kind of leadership that organizations require and with which it matches the culture. When organizational culture changes or becomes dysfunctional, it is the responsibility of the leader to realize the dysfunctions and also the functional elements of that particular culture in order to enable him to manage the cultural evolution and direct changes that will enable the group to survive. It is imperative for the leaders to become more conscious of the cultures that the organization is embedded in and learn to manage the cultures or else the cultures will manage them. Cultural understandings are essential for leaders to understand if they are to lead properly. Leadership is the course of the beliefs and the values that enable an organization to move as well as to deal with the both internal and external environments (Edgar, 1992).

Great leaders inspire people and ignite their passions; they achieve this through their vision, strategy and powerful ideas but the most primal of all is that leaders are driven by their emotions. Leaders are differentiated by their tone and mood, and this concerns their impact on what the leaders do or say. It is the understanding of the power of their emotional intelligence that can differentiate their leaders. The emotional task of a leader is important. Leaders in every group have been the people where people look for assurance and clarity, particularly when they are under threat or when faced with uncertainty. The leader is considered as the emotional guide. Leaders should make their primal leadership to work for the benefit of all individuals, and this is linked to the power of emotional intelligence and leadership qualities. Leaders who take advantage of their primal leadership have an upper hand in driving or leading their groups in the right direction (Badaracco, 2002).

Reasons for the Emergence of Theory

Leaders have various ways of directing a team, a company or a division. Some leaders can be subdued and others analytical, there are those that go with the gut and there are those that are charismatic. Leadership varies based on situations, and different leadership styles are only applicable in various situations. According to Daniel Goleman (1995), effective leaders are only similar in one way: they have the same degree of emotional intelligence. He identified the following components of emotional intelligence: motivation, self-awareness, self-regulation, and social skill. Demonstrating emotional intelligence does not in any way imply that the leader is controlling his/her or her anger, but it involves the understanding of the anger and reaction of other people so as to direct the people towards the accomplishment of goals. Various companies have been employing the services of psychologists to initiate competency models that are geared towards identifying, promoting and training people towards the firmament of leadership. This has been achieved by analyzing the individual capabilities that drive outstanding performance inside organizations (Goleman, 1995)

Characteristics of the New Approach

Among the characteristics of the emotional intelligence approaches are:

  • Self-awareness: This is considered to be the first comment of emotional intelligence. Leaders with such qualities are not unrealistically hopeful, but they are only honest with others and themselves. Self-awareness means understanding one’s self, i.e. one’s emotions, weaknesses, strengths and needs. Leaders with a high sense of self-awareness recognize how their feeling is, how they affect their performance in the job and how they affect other people. A person with a high degree of self-awareness has the tendency to do his work in advance, and he can as well work with a demanding client, and he or she can understand the impact and the mood of the client; they turn anger into something constructive. They are frank in admitting failure (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002).
  • Self-regulation: It is evident that emotions are driven by biological impulses and what can be done is to manage them since they cannot be done away with. Self-regulation is like an ongoing internal conversation within an individual. This component can free us from being prisoners of our feelings. Leaders who have mastered their emotions can be in a position to control their changes, and they do not panic that easily. People who are in a position to control their feelings are considered to be reasonable and can create an environment of fairness and trust. In such an environment, infighting and politics are considerably reduced, and their productivity is high. Regulation can also be important for competitive reasons, particularly in the modern world where business is ripe with ambiguity and change.
  • Motivation: Motivation is a trait that affects leaders. Leaders are driven to achieve beyond their expectations and the expectations of other players. Various people are motivated by different factors; others can be motivated by external factors like higher salaries or impressive titles that give them status. Contrary to this, people with leadership potential are motivated by their desire to achieve. It is, therefore, necessary to differentiate leaders who are motivated by the drive to achieve and those that motivated by external rewards. Motivated people remain optimistic even when they are faced with setbacks. Motivated leaders are committed to the organization.
  • Empathy: Empathy is recognized as the main dimension of emotional intelligence. This involves the employee considering the feelings of the employees and making intelligent decisions. Empathy is a very critical component of leadership because of the following three reasons: Increasing teamwork, the rapid pace of globalization and the enhanced desire to retain or to maintain talent. The relevance of empathy is largely due to globalization. In the retention of talent, empathy plays a key role particularly in the modern world of information technology. It is needed to develop and grow good people due to the high stakes that are involved in the movement of employees.
  • Social skill: Just like empathy, social skill concerns the ability of the person to manage his relationship with others; it is not just a matter of friendliness but friendliness with a purpose and involves moving people in the desired direction. People who are socially skilled tend to have a wide cycle of acquaintances and have developed a knack for finding common ground with other people. It means mobilizing people using the existing network to accomplish particular tasks. People who are socially skilled are considered to be adept when dealing with people, and their empathy can best be at work. Leaders who are socially skilled are considered to be expert persuaders (Goleman, 1998).

Managerial Implications

There is a need for practical techniques to enhance emotional regulation in the workplace or organizations. Emotional intelligence is limited by psychometric deficiencies that are often in play. Emotional intelligence has added to the understanding of intelligence and personality. There are some reservations as to whether emotional intelligence has some ethical behavior. Emotional intelligence has been compounded by the neglect of their significance and the role of the environment in moderating the emotional skills and aptitudes of an individual. In an organizational setting, it is imperative to identify the emotional geniuses and those that are emotionally challenged to plan for support interventions and the training programs that can enhance their emotional intelligence (Zeidner, Gerald & Roberts, 2009).

Advantages and Disadvantages

By embracing emotional intelligence, leaders can make the employees be more productive and successful in their tasks. The process and the outcome of emotional intelligence promote development, and it has some elements with the capability to reduce stress and moderate conflict in the organizations, fostering stability and enhancing relationships among the organizational staff (Serrat, 2009).

Emotional intelligence also allows the leader to build confidence among the employees. This can be realized through positive messages, positive visualization, inner desire and internal dialogue. It also enables the leader to influence the activities of the groups or the employees and these include building interpersonal skills and wielding interpersonal tactics of influence as well as assertiveness. Emotional intelligence is critical during the hiring of employees since the cognitive issues at hand will be properly gauged (Barry & Brandt, 1992).

Among the disadvantages of emotional intelligence are: They are prone to misuse. Some individuals can misuse emotional intelligence to manipulate the behavior of other people; it can be used to prey on unsuspecting individuals, and it also is used to target audiences in order to make them purchase a product. It is also difficult to test the personal intelligence of an individual because no one is sure whether it is based on individual personality or temperament. Others consider it as a learned behavior. It also takes time to harness emotional intelligence because it involves the modification of individual esteem, influences, beliefs, values and personal history (eHow, 2012).

There are various and explanations and theories of leadership that have been developed due to the interest in leadership as a research and practice topic. There are several attempts that have been made to integrate the theories into one comprehensive friendship. Leadership does not exist in a vacuum, but it takes into account all other factors relating to the leader, environmental forces and the people that are being led. Leadership can be analyzed using various variables like the characteristics and leadership traits, behavior and the style of leadership, the internal and external characteristics as well as the characteristics of the group members (Andrew, 2001).

Future Leadership and Management Implications

Because of external changes and challenges, declining morale is slowly becoming a common problem today in many organizations. It has resulted in people quitting their jobs. These organizations have devoted a lot of time to searching for a motivational grail, and these have ended up treating the symptoms while ignoring the root causes. A good manager in such situations needs to look at the mirror and establish the reasons for the declining morale. The managers cannot by themselves motivate people, and instead, they should create conditions that are necessary for self-motivation. Some managers considered that paying the employees a lot of salaries is motivational, but it is not, doing it only amounts to bribing employees and the company might pay for the price of declining loyalty and limited commitment by the employees to the organizations (Harvard Business Review, 2001).

Charismatic leaders have been branded as the sole heroes of management. This is due to their ability to turn around the fortunes of ailing corporations, launching of new enterprises and the revitalization of new bureaucracies. They achieve these by powerfully communicating their mission and vision for the organizations by propounding creative ideas. They are viewed as effective leaders who inspire phenomenal performance from the employees in their followers. Charismatic leaders, though effective, vary in their ethical standards and hence there are risks involved in charismatic leadership (Howell & Avolio, 1992).

Emotional intelligence is measured based on the intelligence quotient of the individual, and it plays a critical role in the performance of an organization. It is upon the leader to define whether the people deliver the expected product or service or whether they can work harmoniously. An emotionally intelligent employee can build a good rapport with the customers and hence satisfy the needs of the customers. Teams are sensitive to the needs of the organization. Strong emotional intelligence enables the leader to communicate, and it also equips the leaders with the requisite skills to tackle the problems that might arise. Emotionally intelligent workers have the capacity to influence the productivity of other people (Bernard & Stogdills, 1990).


From the discussion, it is evident that the emotional intelligence approach is new to leadership, and its influence is immense. An emotionally intelligent leader has the capacity to influence the direction, activities and behavior of employees in the organization. Unlike other approaches to leadership, emotional intelligence is good for conflict resolutions in the organization as well as enhancing harmonious working relationships between employees.


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