Emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness

Robert Kerr, John Garvin, Norma Heaton, Emily Boyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

182 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – This paper investigates the relationship between managerial emotional intelligence (EI)levels and a rating of leadership effectiveness (subordinate ratings).Design/methodology/approach – The study involved administering the Mayer Salovey Carusoemotional intelligence test (MSCEIT) EI test to 38 supervisors within a large manufacturingorganisation. Ratings of supervisory leadership effectiveness were assessed via subordinate ratings onan attitude survey detailing questions relating to supervisor performance. Altogether data werecollated from a total of 1,258 survey responses.Findings – The overall results of the data analysis suggest that half of the MSCEIT scores may actas a strong predictor of leadership effectiveness, particularly the branches within the experiential EIdomain (r ¼ 0.50, p , 0.001). Interestingly, the relationship between supervisor ratings and thereasoning EI domain (r ¼ 20.12) was not as expected.Practical implications – These findings endorse the validity of incorporating EI interventionsalongside the recruitment and selection process and the training and development process ofmanagerial personnel. However, they also question the conceptual validity of a key branch (managingemotions) of the MSCEIT.Originality/value – Although EI is viewed as a key determinant of effective leadership withinleadership literature there is a relative dearth of supporting research that has not used student samplepopulations or a conceptually suspect model of EI within their research methodology.Keywords Emotional intelligence, Leadership, Management effectiveness, Intelligence testsPaper type Research paper
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-279
JournalLeadership and Organization Development Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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