Emotional Intelligence and Transformational and Transactional Leader

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University of Nebraska - Lincoln

DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Leadership Institute Faculty Publications

Leadership Institute

1-1-2010

Emotional Intelligence and Transformational and
Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analysis
Peter D. Harms
University of Nebraska - Lincoln, pharms2@Unl.edu

Marcus Credé
State University of New York at Albany

Harms, Peter D. and Credé, Marcus, "Emotional Intelligence and Transformational and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analysis" (2010). Leadership Institute Faculty Publications. Paper 14. http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/leadershipfacpub/14

This Article is brought to you for free and open access by the Leadership Institute at DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska - Lincoln. It has been accepted for inclusion in Leadership Institute Faculty Publications by an authorized administrator of DigitalCommons@University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Published in Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies 17:1 (2010), pp. 5–17; doi: 10.1177/1548051809350894 Copyright © 2010 Baker College; published by Sage Publications. Used by permission. http://jlos.sagepub.com

Emotional Intelligence and Transformational
and Transactional Leadership: A Meta-Analysis
P. D. Harms
University of Nebraska–Lincoln, USA
Corresponding author — 114 CBA, 1240 R Street, Lincoln, NE 68588; email pharms2@unl.edu

Marcus Credé
State University of New York at Albany, USA
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to evaluate claims that emotional intelligence is significantly related to transformational and other leadership behaviors. Results (based on 62 independent samples) indicated a validity estimate of .59 when ratings of both emotional intelligence and leadership behaviors were provided by the same source (self, subordinates, peers, or superiors). However, when ratings of the constructs were derived from different sources, the validity estimate was .12. Lower validity estimates were found for transactional and laissez-faire leadership behaviors. Separate analyses were performed for each measure of emotional intelligence. Trait measures of emotional intelligence tended to show higher validities than ability-based measures of emotional intelligence. Agreement across ratings sources for the same construct was low for both transformational leadership (.14) and emotional intelligence (.16). Keywords transformational, leadership, emotional intelligence

Research into the relationship between emotional intelligence (EI) and transformational leadership is filled with bold claims as to the relationship between these constructs. Noted experts in the field of EI argue that elements of EI such as empathy, self-confidence, and self-awareness are the core underpinnings of visionary or transformational leadership (Goleman, Boyatzis, & McKee, 2002). An information package distributed by Multi-Health

Systems, the leading distributor of EI assessment tools,
claims that “emotional intelligence is synonymous with
good leadership.” Some have claimed that “for those in
leadership positions, emotional intelligence skills account
for close to 90 percent of what distinguishes outstanding
leaders from those judged as average” (Kemper, 1999, p.
16). Others have noted the disappointing results of intelligence and personality models in the prediction of exceptional leadership and have argued that EI may represent an elusive “X” factor for predicting transformational leadership (Brown & Moshavi, 2005). Since Goleman (1995) popularized the concept of EI,

there has been no shortage of studies investigating the
relationship between EI and positive outcomes. Two recent meta-analyses have found positive associations for

EI with school and work performance outcomes (Van
Rooy & Viswesvaran, 2004) as well as mental and physical health (Schutte, Malouff, Thorsteinsson, Bhullar, & Rooke, 2007). Research into the relationship between EI
and leadership outcomes has seen similar, if not more,
levels...
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