Emotional Intelligence as a Predictor of Leadership Effectiveness in the Work Place: An Empirical Study

By Martina Kotzé and Ian Venter.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A multitude of variables have been associated with leadership effectiveness including personal characteristics, behavioural inclination, situational factors and culture to name but a few. Studies pertaining to the individual characteristics of effective leaders often focus on leaders' cognitive and emotional abilities. One such psychological construct that has gained momentum in leadership research is emotional intelligence. While some researchers and authors claim emotional intelligence is a necessity for leadership effectiveness, others contest such claims. The aim of this study was to determine whether emotional intelligence is a valid predictor of leadership effectiveness.

The target population was the middle-level management within a South African public sector institution. A cross-sectional sample was drawn from six different geographical areas across South Africa that consisted of 114 leaders. Each leader’s effectiveness was rated by four subordinates, thus involving 570 participants, and each leader rated their own effectiveness (self-rating). Spangenberg and Theron’s Leadership Behaviour Inventory (LBI) was used to determine leadership effectiveness, whilst the leaders completed the EQ-i® as measure of their emotional intelligence.

The composite scales and sub-scales of the predictor variable (emotional intelligence), and the criterion variable (leadership effectiveness) and its different dimensions, namely (a) Environmental Orientation, (b) Vision Formulation and Sharing, (c) Preparing the organisation for implementing the vision and (d) Implementing the Vision, were subjected to multiple stepwise regression analysis. The results indicated that total leadership effectiveness was predicted by one emotional intelligence composite scale, namely, Adaptability EQ, as well as by three sub-scales of emotional intelligence, namely, Problem-solving, Stress Tolerance and Reality Testing. Five sub-scales of emotional intelligence, namely, Problem-solving, Reality Testing, Stress Tolerance, Self-awareness and Empathy emerged as significant predictors of different dimensions of leadership effectiveness.

Keywords: Emotional Intelligence, Leadership Effectiveness, Leadership, Middle-Level Management

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 2, pp.31-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 741.659KB).

Prof. Martina Kotzé

Associate Professor, Department of Industrial Psychology, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa

I am an Industrial Psychologist, teaching Organisation Behaviour at the School of Management, as well as in the Department of Industrial Psychology. I also have a part time practice, where my focus is mainly on organisation development interventions and psychometric assessment for selection and development purposes.

Ian Venter

Postgraduate Student, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa


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