The purpose of this study is to determine the relationship between effective leadership practices and emotional intelligence.
The target population was business owners with at least three direct reports and through a series of e-mail solicitations, 302 participated. There were 164 females in the sample, and most were Caucasian (79%), 92 percent have at least a two-year college degree. Approximately 11 percent were entrepreneurs. Participants completed the LPI, a 50-item personality measure of the “big five” (Goldberg, 2001), and 140 item Mayer Salovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEITv2.0).
The most frequent leadership practice was Enable, followed by Encourage and Model, then Inspire and Challenge. Stepwise regression analysis showed that a positive correlation existed between emotional intelligence and the five leadership practices after controlling for any effects of gender, age, personality, and leadership experience.
There were significant, positive correlations between the sub-categories of EI and leadership. Significant relationships were found between the EI scales of perceiving emotions, using emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions and the five leadership practices, as well as total leadership practices. Experiential EI is a combination of the perceiving emotion and using emotion branches and was significantly and positively correlated with Model, Inspire, Enable, and Encourage. Strategic EI combines understanding emotion and managing emotion and was significantly and positively correlated with Model, Enable, and Encourage. Total EI combines both Experiential EI and Strategic EI and was significantly and positive correlated with Model, Enable, and Encourage. The author concludes: “These positive correlations mean that as the EI of the organizational leaders becomes higher their leadership practice in modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging the process, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart becomes higher” (p. 172) and “higher levels of EI may help strengthen leadership performance” (p. 176).