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Leadership Connection to Emotional Intelligence and Stress at Workplace



Emotional intelligence has gained huge attention of practitioners and researchers over the last decade. This paper aims to highlight the relatively less focused, but the key domain of stress at work and its linkage with the emotional intelligence of leadership. Based on previous studies, this study accumulated the issues regarding emotional intelligence of leadership and its capacity to handle the stress more effectively. Though intelligence quotient is necessary for leaders, emotional intelligence of leadership is identified as most significant to cope with stress at work and create a healthy work environment. Specifically, the level of leaders’ emotional intelligence sets for how subordinates respond, to perform more effectively at different stressful circumstances.
Journal of Management Research
ISSN 1941-899X
2017, Vol. 9, No. 1
Leadership Connection to Emotional Intelligence and
Stress at Workplace
Nadeem Ahmad Bashir
Department of Management, College of Business Administration,
King Saud University, Saudi Arabia
Received: April 18, 2016 Accepted: Nov. 20, 2016 Published: January 1, 2017
doi:10.5296/jmr.v9i1.9338 URL:
Emotional intelligence has gained huge attention of practitioners and researchers over the last
decade. This paper aims to highlight the relatively less focused, but the key domain of stress
at work and its linkage with the emotional intelligence of leadership. Based on previous
studies, this study accumulated the issues regarding emotional intelligence of leadership and
its capacity to handle the stress more effectively. Though intelligence quotient is necessary
for leaders, emotional intelligence of leadership is identified as most significant to cope with
stress at work and create a healthy work environment. Specifically, the level of leaders’
emotional intelligence sets for how subordinates respond, to perform more effectively at
different stressful circumstances.
Keywords: Emotional intelligence, Leadership, stress, workplace
Journal of Management Research
ISSN 1941-899X
2017, Vol. 9, No. 1
Present century is an era of speed, the information revolution and globalization (Cascio,
2001). Businesses are directly affected by these changes as organizations are restructuring,
modernizing the strategies and updating the technologies (Langley, 2000). In this scenario,
new roles and duties have been imposed on leadership by the organizations. Such changes
and additional responsibilities have created stress at work.
This stress is not only affecting work qualities, but also personal life. Leaders’ intelligence
quotient (IQ) and emotional quotient (EQ) are becoming more significant in the
problem-solving and decision-making process. Sirin (2007) argued that individuals can deal
with stress through intelligence and emotional intelligence (EI).Researchers have diverse
views of intelligence and emotional intelligence. A number of researchers believe that
intellectual intelligence and emotional intelligence are two dissimilar concepts with opposite
features (Stein & Book, 2003; Halicinarli & Bender, 2006), while many studies have argued
that emotional intelligence is possibly the most refined feature of intelligence (Shapiro, 2004).
Emotional intelligence for leaders becomes noteworthy for leaders with the support of
findings that emotional intelligence is superior in intellectual intelligence, as cognitive
resources (emotion, motivation and desire)are required as inputs of problem solving (Erdogdu,
There are abundant studies on the topic of emotional intelligence of leadership and its effect
on followers, including stress, but only few researches available to examine the effect of
leaders’ emotional intelligence on their stress level. Researchers have stated that emotional
intelligence of individuals is useful to understand and manage their emotions, to be adaptable
in their surroundings, and enhance the tolerance level of stress (Kalyoncu, Guney, Arslan,
Guney, & Ayranci, 2012; Matthews et al., 2006; Goleman, 1995). According to Ucar (2004),
emotional intelligence has the ability to play a vital role in determining the source of the
stress through the mental process.The answer to the question that how stress reduces the
mental ability can be found by the findings of Baltas and Baltas (2008) that some fraction of
mental capacity is fixed to deal with the stress level. This study highlighted the importance of
emotional intelligence-stress relationship in the workplace and emphasizes its connection
with leadership.
Emotional Intelligence
Intelligence generally refers to cognitive ability, also known as intelligence quotient.
Intelligence has been commonly used in businesses for employee selection. Initially,
intelligence was supposed to be fixed at birth, but presently, there is an ongoing debate on its
genetic connection (Cooper, 2012; Sternberg, 2011). Gardner (1983) developed seven
multiple intelligences (MIs); mathematical/logical, verbal/linguistic, intrapersonal,
interpersonal, visual, bodily and musical in a famous book, Frames of Mind. MIS theory
mainly stated that intelligence can be developed rather than be genetic.
Researchers have ongoing interest in emotional intelligence as various definitions of
emotional intelligence are presented. Salovey and Mayer (1990) were the first to formally
Journal of Management Research
ISSN 1941-899X
2017, Vol. 9, No. 1
identify the term Emotional Intelligence and define it as the subset of social intelligence that
includes one’s ability to monitor oneself and feelings and emotions of others, to differentiate
among them and ability to use this information to direct one’s actions. Later, Goleman (1995)
defined emotional intelligence asthe ability of individuals to understand one’s emotions,
manage them, motivate one’s self, recognize emotions in others, and manage relationships
with others (Goleman, 1995). Goleman (1995)claimed that in the workplace, main
dimensions of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-motivation, self-management,
relationship management and social awareness. Goleman’s (1998) model of emotional
intelligence was refined by Boyatzis et al (2000) into four dimensions; self-awareness,
self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
Self-awareness has been considered as the most significant dimension (Goleman, 1996;
Bar-On, 1997). Goleman (1996) argued that self-awareness as knowing one’s emotions and
recognizing a feeling is the basis of emotional intelligence. Knowing internal states of
emotions help in self-control, which is needed for leaders for empathy in others.
Self-management refers to the ability to deal with own feelings in a proper way. Goleman
(1996) claimed that individuals with high self-management ability can handle with stress and
solve the problems much better than those who are poor in self-management. Thus,
self-management of emotions helps in controlling the anxiety and anger for higher
Social awareness
The ability of individuals to know how to feelor recognize emotions in others is known as
social awareness. Goleman (1996) argued that self-awareness contributes in reading the
feelings of others as people cannot know what others around are feeling without knowing
oneself. This is an ability to understand what is going on around by correctly feeling the
emotions of other people.
Relationship management
The skill of managing emotions in others is known as relationship management. Goleman
(1996) stated that emotionally adept people are more successful in multi spheres of life and
organizational politics by knowing and managing their own feelings, and effectively dealing
with people’s feelings. Relationship management is the ability to use self-awareness of
emotions and the emotions of others to manage relations successfully through effective
communication (Bradberry & Greaves, 2002).
The focus of this study is on stress, in addition to emotional intelligence. Nowadays, stiff
competition and the concept of change is very common in all fields, which is leading to stress
at work. Though stress is an old concept, researchers have started studying the concept of
Journal of Management Research
ISSN 1941-899X
2017, Vol. 9, No. 1
stress science and emphasize to study stress as an interdisciplinary subject (Ozbay & Senyuz,
1998). Origin of the word “stress” belongs to a Latin verb “estrica”, and refers to applying
force and pressure since the 18th century (Guney, 2000). Stress has been used in various
science branches (Agma, 2007). Cuceoglu (1999) referred stress as individual’s as effort of
individuals that exceed one’s psychological and physical capacity in response to unsuitable
working environment. However, Selye (1985) stressed on psychological and physiological
viewpoint and defined stress as the reaction of body against any common demand loaded on
it. Rogers (2007) linked stress with tension and explained as a tensed situation based on
factors including conflict, inhibition, change and specific individual elements. Stress is not
always a negative term as a recent research found that individuals need to maintain a specific
stress level for efficiency and better productivity (Sahin, 2010).
Emotional Intelligence of Leadership and Stress
Various researchers have worked to identify the determinants of leadership, and agree on a
common set of abilities which are empathy, motivating power, intuitive ability and integrity
which are the part of emotional intelligence abilities to manage self and interaction with
others(Goleman, Boyzatzis, & McKee, 2002).IQ and emotional intelligence are two different
concepts and are independent of each other (Goleman et al., 2002). Though a leader need to
have sufficient intelligence to understand the contemporary issues and clear vision, but super
smartness is not required. Being intellectually gifted is not a guarantee to be a successful
leader. Many organizations that focus on IQ skills for employee promotions rather than the
emotional intelligence abilities of good leaders, mostly fail and disqualify their decisions.
Leadership is generally regarded as highly stressful. A famous psychologist, Levinson (1981)
reflected this opinion in words, “managing others ... creates unending stress ... Today’s
managers face increasing time pressures with little respite” (p. 77). Managers high in EI are
found to have better psychological and physical well-being, better able to deal with subjective
stress, and exhibit better in role job performance than those low in EI (Slaski & Catwright,
2002). Thus, leader’s stress management has become a point of focus and number of
psychologists and social scientists has suggested tools to assist leaders in managing stress.
Research conducted in the domain of nursing have confirmed that emotional intelligence
positively impacts leadership and the ability to deal with stress (Akerjordet & Severinson,
2008; Montes-Berges & Augusto, 2007).Research suggests that leaders with high levels of EI
experience more career success and with effective leadership (Rosete & Ciarrochi
2005;Dulewicz & Higgs, 2003), feel more job security (Jordan et al., 2002) are more
adaptable to stressful events (Nikolaou & Tsaousis, 2002; Slaski & Cartwright, 2002) than
those with low EI.
Additionally, a positive relationship was found between EI and leadership style including,
transformational leadership and charismatic leadership(Prati, Douglas, Ferris, Ammeter, &
Buckley (2003) and transformational leadership is better able to deal with stress (Downey,
Papageorgiou, & Stough, 2006).According to Downey et al. (2006), female leaders who are
perceived to be more transformational in their leadership style also described as being able to
understand the self-feelings and emotions, to demonstrate inner feelings to others, to
Journal of Management Research
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2017, Vol. 9, No. 1
understand the emotions of others, use emotions in problem solving, and effectively manage
emotional feelings at work including stress, anxiety and anger (Downey et al.,
2006).Transformational leadership and charismatic leadership, both encompass emotional
skills abilities of idealized influence and inspirational motivation. Our argument is that
leaders have an emotional relationship with followers, and EI of leaders can affect the
leader–member exchange relationship quality (Dasborough & Ashkanasy, 2002).
Moreover, leaders are the primary source of feedback to the employees. However,
employees’ satisfaction with feedback is important to increase the performance (Rasheed,
Rehman, Rasheed, & Munir, 2015). Therefore, leader emotional intelligence may be more
important than in others to create a supportive feedback environment (Dahling, Chau, &
O’Mally, 2012), in a highly stressful work situation (Salas, Driskell, & Hughs, 1996).We also
know that supervisor feedback environment has a significant negative relationship with stress
at work and job burnout (Peng & Chiu, 2010).
Conventionally, intelligence was known as cognitive mental ability. Later, the concept of
multiple intelligences was introduced in this narrow perspective. The climate of the
organization is the outcome of the behaviors, decision-making abilities, communication
efforts, emotions, leadership style and conduct of the leader. A new domain of intelligence
was added into discussion by Daniel Goleman, known as emotional intelligence. Goleman
(2004) stated that leader generates the conditions that directly regulate people’s capability to
work well and execute their tasks within the organization. The emotional intelligent leader
can direct more efficiently and create a workplace that strengthens high performance and
produce significantly impact on the financial results of the organization. The emotional
intelligence of the leader is significant for the effective working of the team. The leader
performs a role as a motivator in the direction of collective action, and assists helpful
relations among team members (Prati et al., 2003). The leaders who have emotional
intelligence at work have the potential to provide a transformational effect over their team
members. This positive behavior can be transformed by providing team standards,
legitimizing team members, and charisma of inspiring team identity and pride to enhance
effective functioning of the organization.
For the last two decades, emotional intelligence has become a point of attention, mainly
related to leadership. Empirical findings have confirmed that the dimensions of EI
(self-emotional awareness, others’ emotional awareness, self-management, social awareness,
and relationship management) may have a better effect on leadership effectiveness with
successful coping with stress at work than the traditional IQ. Previous studies revealed that
emotional intelligence was significant in social situations, IQ is vital in cognitive tasks
(Offermann, Bailey, Vasilopoulos, Seal, & Sass, 2004; Jordan & Troth, 2004). No doubt, IQ
is a critical and key ingredient of leadership, based on evidence we suggest that emotional
intelligence is more important for leaders in different contexts, including stress at work than
general intelligence. Judge, Colbert, & Ilies (2004) argued in the same line and enlisted
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principles of cognitive resource theory that in stressful situations, leader's cognitive
intelligence becomes less relevant, while other non-cognitive abilities come to be more
salient. Thus, emotional intelligence qualifies leaders to deal with stressful settings, and
general intelligence can be resumed as soon as the leader has dealt with the stressful
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... This model has been further developed by identifying several axisting domains (Harun, Ishak, Yusoff, & Amat, 2017). Emotional intelligence becomes important for leaders with the support of findings that emotional intelligence is superior to intellectual intelligence, because cognitive resources (emotions, motivations and desires) are needed as problem solving input (Bashir, 2017). ...
... Marlene and Pieter's research states that "training significantly influences leaders' emotional and social intelligence competencies in terms of emotional intelligence" (Dippenaar & Schaap, 2017). Furthermore, the results of Nadeem's research stated that "Emotional intelligence makes leaders qualified to deal with stressful situations" (Bashir, 2017). Therefore, it can be stated that emotional intelligence management influences the leadership of principals. ...
Emotional intelligence management skills offer leadership qualities that are sufficient to advance an organization and to achieve its goals. Therefore, the skills to manage emotional intelligence must be possessed by a leader, including principal. The importance of emotional intelligence management for principal’s leadership attracts researchers to do a literature review study. There are several articles that discuss the principal’s emotional intelligence management. The purpose of this literature review is to determine the effect of emotional intelligence management on the quality of school principal’s leadership in the world. Based on the results of literature reviews from various countries in the world, most of the studies show that emotional intelligence management has a positive and significant influence on the quality of principal’s leadership.
... It is argued that on daily basis, the school principal is confronted with numerous stressful situations that need to be attended to. EI qualifies a school principal to deal with stressful setting (Bashir, 2017). In this study, it is therefore strongly postulated that any principal who will be able to confront stressful situation is the one who will have high levels of EI, (Fteila & Awwad, 2020). ...
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Purpose This study aims to examine the impact of transformational leadership on leadership effectiveness and the mediating effect of emotional skills in this relationship. Design/methodology/approach The study used quantitative methodology, collecting data from 350 respondents from the Lebanese context. The data were analysed using AMOS for structural equation modelling. Findings Results indicated that transformational leadership positively impacts leadership effectiveness, and this relationship is partially mediated by emotional skills. Specifically, adaptability, assertiveness and relationship management partially mediate the relationship of transformational leadership to leadership effectiveness. The findings suggest that leaders who possess emotional skills, especially those related to adaptability, assertiveness and relationship management, can be more effective in their roles by inspiring and motivating their followers through transformational leadership. Research limitations/implications The study relies on self-reported data, which can introduce potential biases such as social desirability bias and subjectivity. The study uses a cross-sectional design, which hinders establishing causal relationships or examining changes over time. Practical implications This study highlights the significance of transformational leadership on leadership effectiveness and its potential benefits on emotional skills as a mediator in this relationship. Originality/value The research is unique and provides a potential contribution to the Lebanese context.
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Feedback orientation is an individual's overall receptivity to feedback, a concept that encompasses feedback utility, accountability with regard to participation in feedback, social awareness, and self-efficacy toward feedback. This study investigated the effects of these individual differences on in-role performance, with the mediation of satisfaction with feedback. Based on our survey of 225 matched supervisor–subordinate sets from nurses in public hospitals, analyses through structural equation modeling support a direct association of feedback utility, accountability, self-efficacy, and social awareness with performance as well as indirect relationships through satisfaction with feedback. On the basis of these findings, the framework advances some formal performance management practices to aid managers and human resource development (HRD) practitioners in the understanding and enactment of feedback orientation. Finally, the implications of the study for further research are discussed.
This article presents a framework for emotional intelligence, a set of skills hypothesized to contribute to the accurate appraisal and expression of emotion in oneself and in others, the effective regulation of emotion in self and others, and the use of feelings to motivate, plan, and achieve in one's life. We start by reviewing the debate about the adaptive versus maladaptive qualities of emotion. We then explore the literature on intelligence, and especially social intelligence, to examine the place of emotion in traditional intelligence conceptions. A framework for integrating the research on emotion-related skills is then described. Next, we review the components of emotional intelligence. To conclude the review, the role of emotional intelligence in mental health is discussed and avenues for further investigation are suggested.
The relative contributions of emotional competence and cognitive ability to individual and team performance, team-member attitudes, and leadership perceptions were examined. Focusing on emotional competencies, we predicted that, although both cognitive ability and emotional competence would predict performance, cognitive ability would account for more variance on individual tasks, whereas emotional competence would account for more variance in team performance and attitudes. We also predicted that emotional competence would be positively related to team attitudes and to both leader emergence and effectiveness. Using a sample of undergraduate business majors who completed tasks alone and as members of teams, our results generally supported the hypotheses. Implications for the reach and impact of work relating emotional competencies to performance are offered.
Prati, Douglas, Ferris, Ammeter, and Buckley (2003) have proposed that emotional intelligence is a critical component in effective team leadership and team outcomes. John Antonakis (2003) questioned whether the first claim in this article, that emotional intelligence is critical for effective team leadership, is justified. He presents six questions that illuminate his reservations. In response, the present authors attempt to answer his reservations by clarifying and explicating the reasoning behind this claim.
Abstract Meta-analysis was used to aggregate results from studies examining the relationship between intelligence and leadership. One hundred fifty-one independent samples in 96 sources met the criteria for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Results indicated that the fully corrected correlation between intelligence and leadership is .21 (.27 whencorrected for range restriction). Perceptual measures of intelligence showed,stronger correlations with leadership than did paper-and-pencil measures of intelligence.Intelligence correlated with objective and perceptual measures of leadership equally well. Additionally, the leader’s stress level and the leader’s directiveness moderated the intelligence-leadership relationship. Overall, results suggest that the relationship between intelligence and leadershipis considerably lower than previously thought. The results also provide meta-analytic support for both implicit leadership theory and cognitive resource theory. Intelligence and Leadership 3
Aims to explore whether emotional intelligence (EI) is a useful yardstick in measuring and understanding the “promotion readiness” of middle managers in a global organisation. If the personal attributes and social abilities that reflect high emotional intelligence can be understood and assessed, then not only do we gain a new perspective on management development but steps can be taken to develop these activities to enhance people’s potential. The article concludes with a glimpse into the future and how EI may contribute to developing managers in the new century.