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Emotional Intelligence and Leadership


Today, emotional intelligence (EI) is a crucial competence for the leader in any field, and nursing is not an exception. The level of the leader’s EI has the tremendous impact on one’s team performance, as well as the effectiveness of the leader oneself. In the following paper, the effects of EI level on leadership in the clinical settings will be addressed in detail along with the tool for EI assessment recommended for this class, its organization, and major themes.

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How EI Level Enhances Effective Leadership

EI level directly affects leadership effectiveness due to the fact that this competence determines the leader’s performance in the following areas:

  1. managing oneself;
  2. relating to the team members;
  3. acting ethically;
  4. assuming accountability;
  5. leading change;
  6. modeling professionalism;
  7. communicating productively;
  8. managing diversity;
  9. improving performance;
  10. working with organizational politics;
  11. building trust;
  12. promoting collaboration; and
  13. managing conflict.

According to Ugoani, Amu, & Kalu, 2015), effective leadership involves high level of EI necessary for performing nearly every activity working both with colleagues and clients. Barker (2015) has stated that EI is the fundament for other essential competencies for the nursing leader including self-control, self-awareness, self-confidence, self-assessment, adaptability, optimism, and achievement drive. Taft (2013), in turn, explains the importance of high level of EI for effective leadership by asserting that it is critical for “create a supportive and positive work environment to help nurses cope with the stress of managing their own and others’ emotions concurrently (p. 61). Taft (2013) also explains that EI “encompasses competencies in inspiring and influencing others, visioning, developing others, collaboration and teamwork, leading change initiatives, and managing conflict” (p. 62).

Low EI Level Hinders Effective Leadership

On the opposite, poor level of EI has the devastating effect on the nursing leadership effectiveness. First of all, insufficient EI hinders the leader’s ability to manage oneself because of the high rate of stress that is connected with this work (Goodman, Reidy, & Cartier, 2012). Next, it limits the leader’s ability to establish effective collaboration between the members of one’s team (Leggat, & Balding, 2013). Further, poor level of EI bereaves the leader of the ability to manage conflict and this is the great difficulty in the nursing practice due to the frequency of the problematic situations occurring in the clinical settings (Barker, 2015). Finally, both colleagues and clients expect a compassionate, kind, and reserved person to be in charge of the processes that take place in the nursing unit (Villegas & Allen, 2012). Interestingly, Leggat and Balding (2013) have analyzed performance rates on the units headed by the leaders with the poor and above average EI and found that the level of the leader’s EI directly affects overall performance of the employees. The findings of their analysis are quite expected because EI is necessary for effective handling of the problems arising in the nursing practice.

The EI Quiz Results and Core Themes

The EI quiz offered for this task completion presented the opportunity to assess my EI skills and come to the conclusion as to how I can continue improving my skills in this area. The organization of this helpful on-line tool is sure to gladden any user by its simplicity and user-friendly interface. Answering simple, unambiguous questions, I was able to evaluate my EI skills and was happy to get the score of 19 from 20 with the comment that I can continue to work on improving my EI skills through practice. I have made one mistake in question 7 confusing disgust with contempt. The comment from the quiz creators suggested that my mistake was quite common because people’s face expression is quite similar when they express disgust and contempt but the difference is that disgust also involves the upper lip rising and wrinkles on the bridge of the nose that are absent when a person feels contempt.

The core themes of the EI quiz embrace the whole scope of human emotions beginning from the positive emotions such as happiness, love, interest, and compassion, and ending with the negative such as disgust, contempt, shame, fear, and pain. Along with the correct answers for each of the quiz questions, developers have added the detailed comments explaining the face and disposition changes when a person has a certain emotion. The explanations contain information on how each face trait varies with each emotion. For example, it mentions that a truly happy individual can be distinguished by the presence of the ‘crow feet’ effect on the bottom of the eyes.


In conclusion, high-level EI is crucial for the nurse leader to perform one’s duty effectively. EI is inevitably connected with such essential qualities for the nursing leadership as self-adaptability, self-motivation, social competence, emotional management, relationship skills, assertiveness, empathy, and optimism. In the context of organizational behavior, high-level EI is the key variable affecting performance of the nursing unit. Facts suggest that the leaders with the insufficient EI demonstrate poor performance compared to those with the excellent EI skills.

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Barker, A. M. (2015). Advanced practice nursing. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Goodman, J., Reidy, P., & Cartier, J. (2012). Role preparation for advanced practice nursing: Practicing consultation and collaboration skills. Journal of Nursing Education, 51(1), 59-60.

Leggat, S. G., & Balding, C. (2013). Achieving organisational competence for clinical leadership. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 27(3), 312-329.

literature review. International Journal of Management, 29(3), 25-54.

Taft, S. (2013). Emotionally intelligent leadership in nursing and health care organizations. In Management and Leadership for Nurse Administrators (pp. 59-85). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Ugoani, J. N. N., Amu, C. U., & Kalu, E. O. (2015). Dimensions of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership: A correlation analysis. Independent Journal of Management & Production, 6(2), 563-584.

Villegas, W., & Allen, P. (2012). Barriers to advanced practice registered nurse scope of practice: Issue analysis. The Journal of Continuing Education in Nursing, 43(9), 403-9.

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