Emotional intelligence theory of leadership

Table of Contents

What is Emotional intelligence theory of leadership and who invented it?

Emotional intelligence theory of leadership is a theoretical framework that focuses on the leader’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Emotionally intelligent leaders are thought to be more effective than traditional leaders because they are better able to build relationships, communicate effectively, and handle stress.

The theory of emotional intelligence in leadership was first introduced by Daniel Goleman in the 1990s. Goleman’s framework suggests that emotional intelligence is made up of four components:

  1. Self-awareness: the ability to recognize and understand one’s own emotions, as well as how they influence thoughts and behaviors
  2. Self-regulation: the ability to manage and control one’s own emotions and impulses
  3. Motivation: the ability to use emotions to drive and achieve goals
  4. Empathy: the ability to understand and respond to the emotions of others

Emotional intelligence is considered to be a key element of effective leadership, as it enables leaders to create positive relationships, communicate effectively, handle stress, and make better decisions. Organizations can support the development of emotional intelligence in leaders by providing training and development opportunities, fostering a positive work culture, and promoting work-life balance.

It’s worth noting that the concept of emotional intelligence was introduced by Goleman and further developed by other researchers, and it has been widely accepted and integrated in multiple fields, including management and leadership, organizational behavior and psychology, HR, and education. And, like other leadership theories, emotional intelligence should be considered as part of a comprehensive approach when evaluating leaders, and it’s important to measure multiple leadership behaviors and styles.

Response by the industry to Emotional intelligence theory of leadership

The theory of emotional intelligence in leadership proposed by Daniel Goleman received a lot of attention and interest when it was first introduced in the 1990s, and it continues to be widely discussed and studied today. Many organizations and leaders have embraced the concept of emotional intelligence as an important aspect of effective leadership, and it has been integrated into many areas of management and leadership practice, such as selection and promotion, training and development, performance management, and coaching.

One of the reasons for the popularity of the theory is that it offered a new perspective on the role of emotions in leadership. Emotional intelligence is based on the idea that a leader’s ability to recognize, understand, and manage emotions is just as important as cognitive intelligence. This theory, provides an approach for understanding how leaders’ emotional abilities impact their ability to lead, and how organizations can support leaders in enhancing these abilities.

The concept of emotional intelligence has been applied in organizations in various ways, such as selection, leadership development, coaching and performance management. Additionally, emotional intelligence has been found to be positively related to a variety of outcomes such as leader’s performance, job satisfaction and turnover, as well as organizational outcomes like team cohesion, productivity and customer satisfaction.

Overall, emotional intelligence theory has been widely accepted and used in the industry, and research has provided evidence of the positive relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness, although further research is still needed to fully understand the mechanisms through which emotional intelligence impacts leadership.

Sample Assessment questionnaire to measure emotional intelligence (EI) based on the framework proposed by Daniel Goleman

Here are a few examples of questions that you could include on such a questionnaire:

  1. To what extent are you able to recognize and understand your own emotions?
  2. How well are you able to manage and control your own emotions and impulses?
  3. How effectively do you use emotions to drive and achieve your goals?
  4. How well do you understand and respond to the emotions of others?
  5. How do you handle stress and pressure?
  6. How do you manage and regulate your emotional state when dealing with difficult people or situations?
  7. How do you build and maintain positive relationships?
  8. How do you respond to criticism or negative feedback?

It is important to note that these are just examples, and the questions and scales should be tailored to the specific context of the research and population. Additionally, it is always important to pilot test questions to ensure they are clear and that responses are reliable and valid before collecting data. Also, it is important to consider measuring multiple leadership behaviors and styles and not just emotional intelligence to have a comprehensive view of the leadership style.