Transformational Leadership and Emotional Intelligence

Relationship Between Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership

Leadership is one of the most important factors that always dictate an organization’s success or failure in the world today. The administration has been in existence for as long as the history of humankind can be traced. As Rousche, Geropge, and Baker (1989) put, leadership goes beyond providing the direction for the followers. It entails going into details to discover the potential of the followers. It involves engaging the followers in a way that would make them find out themselves. It consists of helping the followers develop the urge to achieve. It is the art of making people realize that they have the potential to reach beyond their current capacity. Leadership requires the leader to challenge the followers positively in a way that would make them feel that they need to rediscover themselves.

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The current corporate world has become very challenging. New firms are coming into existence with new strategies that never existed before. Technology is changing the face of the earth. This poses a severe challenge to firms operating in the current market. Firms are currently facing challenges from various corners. The customer in the current market has access to vast information, thanks to the advanced means of communication through mass and social media.

These consumers know that they have an array of options to choose from when they want to make any purchase. They are therefore very demanding. They are willing to pay less for a product whose quality has been improved. Bennis and Goldsmith (2003) say that customers are currently asking for more but are willing to spend less. This reduces the profitability of firms.

On the other hand, suppliers are now demanding more for the suppliers they make to such organizations. Transformational leadership is defined by Burns (1978) as a type of leadership that uses motivation to enhance the performance of employees. Bustin (2004) defines leadership as a process where an individual (a leader) offers guidance to a group of individuals (followers) in an organizational structure. Leadership is one of the most critical factors in any organization.

Leadership and management share some attributes, but they differ on various fronts. As the name suggests, transformational leadership provides an entirely new path to approaching multiple issues in an organization. It gives insight to the employees. One of the main aims of a transformational leader is to create an entirely new approach in managing various issues within the organization. This is what the current world demands from firms. Emerging technologies are changing multiple approaches to management. The emerging trends need new approaches that can be used to provide a way to be managed differently. Studies show that emotional intelligence is closely related to leadership practices. The ANOVA results from different results confirm this fact.

Problem Statement

Leadership is one of the most critical factors in a given business set up. The world has become very competitive. Firms face new competition from firms that did not previously exist. The management is forced to come up with strategies that can help them manage this competition. They have to be a step ahead of other firms to be relevant in the market. It is only through this strategy that they can manage the challenges that exist in the current market.

This can only be achieved if the workforce is fine-tuned to make it give the best effort in every action it does in the firm. Employees are an essential component of an organization. They are the wheel upon which the organization moves in a turbulent environment. To achieve goals in the market, it would require the management to ensure that employees are always motivated in all that they do.

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It is only through this that an organization can change as may be required by various forces in the environment. Transformational leadership has proven to be the solution in managing employees. Transformational leadership attempts to make employees discover themselves. A transformational leader will always make followers realize that they have an untapped capacity to exploit to get better results in every activity they are doing. Unlike management, leadership takes the front line in bringing change that is needed. It involves making the followers realize that they are part of the change. It makes employees own the whole process.

It is confirmed that for a firm to succeed, the management must apply principles of transformational leadership. There is a direct relationship between employees’ perception of the organization’s readiness for change and transformational leadership. When these principles are well applied, employees would always be willing to go the extra mile to achieve the desired results. The main problem is establishing the relationship between leadership practices and emotional intelligence.

Literature Review

Hui-Wen, Mu-Shang, and Darwin (2010) sought to find out the existing relationship between emotional intelligence and the leadership practices applied in the US and Taiwan. The study employed a comparative study to establish whether the management style used in the US is similar to those employed in Taiwan. The scholars interviewed scholars to ascertain the level at which they employ emotional intelligence in their academic institutions.

The scholars concurred with the fact that emotional intelligence influences the leadership practices applied by leaders in various regions across the world. The main research problem, according to the scholars, was the extent to which emotional intelligence influences leaders in different parts of the world. The scholars employed a causal-comparative approach. The sample used included fifty academicians from the United States and fifty scholars from Taiwan.

The differential selection was the primary threat to internal validity because the groups compared were intact. The threat was taken care of by ensuring that the samples selected had almost similar characteristics. The ANOVA results of the study established that Taiwanese academician’s general emotional intelligence was certainly interrelated in a statistically considerable manner with all five subjects of leadership practice.

The US academicians were found to have a statistically significant positive correlation between general emotional intelligence and all subjects of leadership practice apart from taxing the process and stirring a collective visualization. ANOVA outcomes disclosed that considerable disparities exist in discrete areas of emotional intelligence and separate areas of leadership practice as a role of cultural dissimilarity.

Schmitz (2004) conducted a study to establish whether a relationship exists between the features of leadership and emotional intelligence. The main objective of the study was to examine the existing correlation between emotional intelligence and leadership practices in non-profit human service institutions. The scholar underscored the fact that, indeed, a relationship exists between leadership and emotional intelligence.

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The relationship influences the performance of leaders in non-profit organizations, just as it influences the performance of other leaders in profit-making organizations. The main problem of the scholar was that leaders tend to under-deliver in their various capacities because they lack motivation. Research shows that emotional intelligence has a way of influencing leaders to perform well in their daily activities. However, leaders’ performance in non-profit organizations is usually affected because the motivating factor (money) is not there. Research shows that leaders in no-profit organizations are very effective, yet they are not motivated by money.

The main research problem was establishing the motivating factor in non-profit organizations through the study of the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership. The study employed a quantitative design whereby leaders working in non-profit organizations were taken through a rigorous interview to determine their views on leadership practices. The researcher contacted two-thousand organizations, with leaders working with children, youths, and families being targeted.

Sixty-five CEOs were contacted, with some agreeing to participate directly while others agreed to complete questionnaires. The critical instruments used were the leadership practice inventory and the emotional competence inventory. The main threat to validity was research mortality, mainly because many respondents were simply volunteers. Several respondents threatened to drop out of the study because it was consuming too much of their research.

However, the researcher dealt with the threat in time because he devised a system through which respondents could give their views without necessarily taking time to fill the questionnaires. Those who believed that the study was eating into their time were given the option of sharing their opinions through the phone. The findings of the study proved that the responses from the emotional competence inventory and the leadership practices inventory were correlated.

The variables related to leadership practices were associated with the emotional competence inventory scale, including self-awareness, social skills, social consciousness, and self-management. However, the study identified that no relationship exists between emotional competence and the performance of the organization. In other words, the study proved that emotional intelligence simply influences the performance of the leader, but not the organization.

Condren (2002) set out to establish the relationship between the emotional intelligence of the school head and the perception of teachers towards the effectiveness of the leader. In other words, the research aimed to find out the perception of teachers towards the school head’s performance. In this regard, emotional intelligence would be applied effectively to establish the perception of teachers towards the performance of the school head.

The main problem of the study was to establish the extent to which emotional intelligence would be used to identify the perception of junior staff towards the leader. The researcher employed the sampling technique whereby the respondents were put into different strata to increase the study’s validity. The sampling was random, whereby an approximated 455 principles were sampled, with 32 strata. One hundred and sixty teachers were sampled with the intention of increasing the sample size. Apart from teachers and principals, faculty members were also interviewed. An equal number of females and males were included in the sample.

The primary threat to validity was the reactive effect of testing because the study pertained to attitude interesting testing. These threats were addressed amicably through questionnaire loading. The researcher avoided questions that would bring about suspense among the respondents. Unlike the findings of other scholars discussed in this section, the ANOVA results from this study never showed any significant relationship between emotional intelligence and the five leadership practices. Similarly, the emotional intelligence subscales of knowledge and behavior were not related to any of the five leadership practices.

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The discussion above has demonstrated a close relationship between transformational leadership and the positive attitude of customers towards work within the firm. The world has become increasingly competitive. Different companies are coming with new strategies that can help them remain competitive in the market. The emerging technologies have proven to be a very appropriate means of gaining a competitive advantage in the international market.

The electronic industry is one of the most competitive industries in the current market. The competition is even stiffer in the American markets. Most firms have always preferred the American markets because of their purchasing power. America is the third most populous country in the world. The Americans have enough money to purchase their desired products. However, the American market is different from the Saudi market on various fronts.

Various factors, including religion, define the social structure of Saudi Arabia. Conducting business in this country requires one to understand this market. The management must come with strategies that would help it manage the workforce in the best way possible. The employees carry the vision of the firm. Through them, a firm can achieve its desired results.


Bennis, W. & Goldsmith, J. (2003). Learning to Lead (3rd ed.). New York: Basic Books.

Burns, J. (1978). Leadership. New York: Harper Row.

Bustin, G. (2004). Take Charge: How Leaders Profit From Change. Irving, Texas: Tapestry Press.

Condren, T. (2002). The Relationship between Principals’ Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness. Columbia: University of Missouri-Columbia.

Hui-Wen, V., Mu-Shang, Y., Darwin, B. (2010). The relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership practices: A cross-cultural study of academic leaders in Taiwan and the USA. Journal of Managerial Psychology, 25 (8), 899 – 926.

Rousche, J., & Geropge A. Baker, G. (1989). Shared Vision: Transformational Leadership in American Community Colleges. Washington.: The Community College Press.

Schmitz, S. (2004). The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Practices in Non-Profit Human Service Organizations. Arizona: Arizona University.

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