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Emotional intelligence and leadership success

Virginia Louise Collins, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of emotional intelligence as a predictor of leadership success. Utilizing a personality-based measure of EI and an ability-based measure of EI, it was hypothesized that EI would be predictive of leadership success as measured by ratings on multi-rater feedback, position and salary. ^ The analyses were conducted on data collected from ninety-one executives with a large, international organization that included cognitive, personality, EI, and multi-rater feedback assessments. The primary hypotheses were not supported in the analyses and there was not a significant role for either the ability or personality measurement approach to emotional intelligence over and above cognition and personality traits. ^ This lack of significant results may be a function of power due to a relatively small subject pool or may, in fact, indicate that emotional intelligence does not explain variability in success among the top executives who participated in this study. These findings may also indicate a more complex relationship between emotional intelligence and factors not hypothesized in this study. ^ Following the general analyses, more detailed analyses were undertaken. These additional analyses were based on research supporting the impact of gender on both emotional intelligence and multi-rater feedback, as well as the strong effect of conscientiousness in this current study. These additional analyses suggest a possible relationship between personality-based EI and leadership success through self-ratings. A relationship between ability-based EI and leadership success is also suggested through subordinate ratings. After controlling for gender and conscientiousness, personality-based EI appears to influence the prediction of success through self-ratings and ability-based EI appears to influence prediction of success through perceptions of others. ^ In summary, two major findings come to light. The initial finding is that EI may not directly play a significant role in the success of the executive participants. The second finding suggests that if a role exists, other variables may have an impact on the construct measurement. ^

Subject Area

Business Administration, Management|Psychology, Industrial|Psychology, Personality

Recommended Citation

Collins, Virginia Louise, "Emotional intelligence and leadership success" (2001). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3034371.