Emotional Leadership

Read this article. How are emotional leadership and emotional intelligence related?

Emotional leadership is a process that leaders use to influence their followers to pursue a common goal.


  • As leadership is all about influencing people to achieve a common goal, an "emotional" approach can be a very important step in the process.
  • Leaders in a positive mood can affect their group in a positive way and vice versa. Charismatic leaders can transmit their emotions and thereby influence followers through the mechanism of "emotional contagion".
  • Group affective tone refers to mood at the group level of analysis. Groups with leaders in a positive mood have a more positive affective tone than groups with leaders in a negative mood. Group processes like coordination, effort expenditure, and task strategy also affect followers.
  • Public expressions of mood influence how group members think and act relative to other group members. Group members respond to those signals cognitively and behaviorally in ways that are reflected in the group processes.
  • Strong emotional leadership depends on having high levels of emotional intelligence (EI).


  • Emotional Leadership

    Emotional leadership is a process that leaders use to influence their followers toward a common goal.

  • emotional intelligence

    the ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups

  1. Positive outlook. For example, a charismatic leader can inspire feelings of confidence in a group's ability to achieve challenging goals.
  2. Group affective tone refers to the collective mood of individuals. Groups with leaders in a positive mood have more positive feelings toward each other than groups with leaders who convey the opposite. The perceived efficacy of group processes such as coordination, collaborative effort, and task strategy can also affect the emotions of followers.
  3. Public expressions of mood affect how group members think and act in relation to other group members. For example, demonstrating positive emotions such as happiness or satisfaction can signal that leaders acknowledge solid progress toward goals. Those signals influence how followers think about their work, which can benefit their work together.


Emotional Intelligence

Strong emotional leadership depends on having high levels of emotional intelligence (EI). EI is the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups. The two most prominent approaches to understanding EI are the ability and trait EI models.

The EI ability model views emotions as useful sources of information that help a person make sense of and navigate the social environment. The model proposes that individuals vary in their ability to process information of an emotional nature and in their ability to connect those emotions to how they think. There are four key emotional skills – perceiving, using, understanding, and managing:

  1. Perceiving emotions – The ability to detect and decipher emotions in faces, pictures, voices, and cultural artifacts – including one's own emotions. Perceiving emotions represents a basic aspect of emotional intelligence, as it makes all other processing of emotional information possible.
  2. Using emotions – The ability to harness emotions to facilitate various cognitive activities, such as thinking and problem-solving. Emotionally intelligent people can capitalize fully upon their changing moods according to the task at hand.
  3. Understanding emotions – The ability to comprehend emotional language and to appreciate complicated relationships among emotions. For example, understanding emotions encompasses the ability to be sensitive to slight variations between emotions, as well as the ability to recognize and describe how emotions evolve over time.
  4. Managing emotions – The ability to regulate emotions in both ourselves and in others. The emotionally intelligent person can harness emotions – even negative ones – and manage them to achieve intended goals.

Because the EI ability model focuses on behaviors that can be learned, it is used as the basis of leadership development activities.

The EI trait model focuses not on skills but on personality characteristics and behavioral dispositions such as empathy, consideration, and self-awareness. Trait EI refers to individuals' self-perceptions of their emotional abilities. It is measured by looking at degrees of emotional well-being, self-control, emotionalism, and sociability. EI traits can be challenging to assess accurately because they rely on self-reporting, rather than observations of actual behaviors. Personality traits are generally believed to be resistant to significant change, so the EI trait model is used to help people better manage their emotional abilities within the constraints of existing behavioral tendencies.

Source: Boundless
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Last modified: Monday, November 9, 2020, 2:56 PM