Open Journal of Leadership
2012. Vol.1, No.4, 37-41
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 37
Leaders Exhibiting High Emotional Intelligence Are More
Dedicated to Their Job Performance
Donnisha Beverly1, James A. Williams2, Miranda Kitterlin3
1College of Business, University of Phoenix, Washington, USA
2School of Hospitality, Sport, and Recreation Management, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, USA
3Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Florida International University, North Miami, USA
Received October 17th, 2012; revised November 20th, 2012; accepted November 29th, 2012
The purpose of this study was to identify the effect of information technology leaders’ emotional intelli-
gence on subordinate job performance. Participants consisted of information technology leaders, and were
recruited from the Association for Information Technology Professionals (AITP) and the Information
Technology (IT) Specialist group in LinkedIn (a business-oriented network website). A quantitative, cor-
relational approach was taken by an online administration of two validated instruments—the Emotional
Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and Van Scotter and Motowidlo’s measures for contextual performance (inter-
personal facilitation and job dedication). Findings indicated that there was a positive relationship between
IT leaders’ emotional intelligence scores and subordinates’ job performance ratings. Specifically, higher
IT leaders’ general mood scores, and optimism scores are associated with subordinates’ higher interper-
sonal facilitation and job dedication scores. Further, results provided insight on IT leaders’ EI training
needs, career development, and guidelines for areas of improvement.
Keywords: Technology Managers; Emotional Intelligence; LinkedIn; EQ-i; Job Performance
It has been suggested that emotional intelligence (EI) can be
of interest to organizational researches only if EI can be related
to an organizational outcome, such as job performance (Law,
Wong, Huang, & Li, 2008). Still, academic investigation relat-
ing EI to organizational outcomes are scarce (Côté & Miners,
2006; Law, Wong, Huang, & Li, 2008; Wong & Law, 2002).
Despite the growing amount of literature on EI, the relationship
between emotional intelligence and job performance is highly
understudied (Côté & Miners, 2006; Law, Wong, Huang, & Li,
2008; Wong & Law, 2002). Within the minimal amount of EI
and job performance literature, researchers found evidence of
an existing relationship between individual emotional intelli-
gence (EI) and job performance (Côte & Miners, 2006; Daus &
Ashkanasy, 2005; Law et al., 2008). Yet, previous research has
failed to adequately assess how leader emotional intelligence
impacts subordinate job performance (Wong & Law, 2002).
Thus, the focus of this study was to address the existing litera-
ture gap concerning the effect of leader EI on subordinate job
Literature on emotional intelligence (EI) in the workplace
has flourished since the 1995 publication of Goleman’s best-
selling novel, Emotional Intelligence (Johnson, 2005). In 2010,
the Internet-based book retailer Amazon listed more than
15,000 titles devoted to the topic of EI (Amazon, 2010a). Re-
search linking EI to leadership effectiveness proposed that EI
could positively or negatively affect subordinates’ perceptions
of the leader, thus affecting job performance (Fambrough &
Hart, 2008). Given these previous findings, the current project
aimed to address the existing literature gap by examining leader
emotional intelligence with subordinate job performance ratings,
specifically in the Information Technology (IT) industry sector.
The independent variable for this study was IT leaders’ emo-
tional intelligence scores, with the dependent variable being
subordinate contextual job performance ratings. This approach
was taken in order to gain a better understanding of how leader
emotional intelligence impacts subordinates job performance.
In addition to contributing to the growing body of knowledge
concerning EI, findings may lead to further explanatory studies
on EI’s impact on subordinate job performance factors.
Literature Review
The relationship between leader emotional intelligence and
subordinate job performance is widely understudied (Côté &
Miners, 2006; Daus & Ashkanasy, 2005; Law et al., 2008;
Wong & Law, 2002). There is no noted or plausible research
conducted to insinuate a correlational relationship between
emotional intelligence and job performance ratings in the
information technology field. Research performed by Caruso
and Gentry (2005) suggested that the primary causes for IT
leadership failure involved emotional intelligence, and included
a lack of empathy, a lack of emotional ability, and an inability
to connect with others.
Emotional Intelligence and Leaders
Results of previous research suggested that emotions and
moods could have a strong impact on decision-making effec-
tiveness. Cooper’s (1997) study on leaders’ emotions conclu-
ded that proper management of emotions could elicit follower
trust, commitment, and loyalty, as well as innovation, produc-
tivity gain, and collaborative organizational success. Conseque-
n tly, inadequate use of emotion could create ineffective deci-
sion-making and social conduct. In context, when rating subor-
dinate job performance, a leader’s inadequate use of emotion
could create faulty evaluations.
Job Performance
Job performance comprised several dimensions pertinent to the
study of emotional intelligence, including in-role (or task) per-
formance and extra-role (or contextual/citizenship) perform-
ance (Côté & Miners, 2006; Ng & Feldman, 2008). Task per-
formance refers to major substantive duties mandated, rewarded,
and appraised by the employing organization (Côté & Miners,
2006; Janssen & Van Yperen, 2004). Contextual or citizenship
performances refers to the extra behaviors not part of normal
job duties, and are activities beyond major duties to aid in
strengthening organizational effectiveness (Côté & Miners,
2006; Johnson, 2005; Ng & Feldman, 2008). Previous investi-
gation has suggested that leaders take both task and contextual
performance into consideration when evaluating performance
(Podsakoff, MacKenzie, & Hui, 1993).
IT Leaders and EI
Information technology leaders, who have built status based
on technical expertise, often lack the adequate soft skills nec-
essary to function when placed in complex situations that in-
volve the management of people, resources, and strategy
(Bernthal & Wellins, 2006). Individuals with low emotional
intelligence skills are likely to show ineffective reactions in
situations involving interpersonal skills (Sen, 2008). One study
conducted on information technology (IT) leaders identified the
three predominant causes of leadership failure among techno-
logy managers: lack of empathy, lack of emotional ability, and
the inability to connect with others (Caruso & Gentry, 2005).
This gives further support to the aforementioned proposition of
Bernthal & Wellins (2006) that many IT leaders lack the nec-
essary soft skills and emotional abilities needed to have an ef-
fective impact on subordinates in the workplace.
A quantitative, correlational approach was employed for this
study by administering two validated quantitative instruments,
the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and Van Scotter and
Motowidlo’s (1996) measure of contextual performance. John-
son (2001) contended that variables such as intelligence, apti-
tude, age, and job satisfaction, are not manipulable, and should
be used in a correlational study. The EQ-i instrument was se-
lected for measuring emotional intelligence because of its com-
position of emotional and socially intelligence behavior meas-
ures. The EQ-i is one of the longer-lived and most widely used
instruments, and has been the focus of valuable validity studies
(Bar-On, 1997; Dawda & Hart, 2000).
Van Scotter and Motowidlo (1996) were instrumental in de-
fining the construct of contextual performance and separating
the concept into two facets: interpersonal facilitation and job
dedication. The contextual performance measurement items de-
veloped by Van Scotter and Motowidlo (1996) were selected
over Coleman and Borman’s (2000) study because Coleman
and Borman’s (2000) items lacked an adequately valid and
reliable scale to measure contextual performance behaviors.
Van Scotter and Motowidlo’s (1996) measures for contextual
performance are divided into the two facets of interpersonal
facilitation and job dedication.
The target population was information technology (IT) lead-
ers within the Association for Information Technology Profes-
sionals (AITP) and the Information Technology (IT) Specialist
LinkedIn group. The Association for Information Technology
Professionals (AITP) selected for the study is one of the leading
worldwide societies of information technology business profes-
sionals and is a community of knowledge for the current and
next generation of leaders (AITP, 2010).
An e-mail message was sent by AITP headquarters to invite
members to participate in the study. Instructions for completing
the online survey were included in the e-mail message, as well
as a hyperlink for accessing the online instrument. Qualifying
participants were currently employed in various IT companies
in the United States who were responsible for the conduction of
formal performance appraisals of subordinates within their or-
ganization. Systematic sampling, in which every nth individual
was selected, was employed because of the large number of
possible participants available in the targeted professional grou-
ps. A sample of 72 participants was selected, a sample size
appropriate for this correlational design (Creswell, 2005). Re-
sponses were analyzed using SPSS (17.0).
Data Collection
Participants completed two web-based instruments—the Bar-
On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i) and Van Scotter and
Motowidlo’s (1996) contextual performance measure. Demo-
graphic questions were included in the EQ-i instrument. The
online survey instrument was hosted by SurveyMonkey, a free
online survey software and questionnaire tool. Participants’
responses were converted into Microsoft Excel spreadsheets
and imported directly into SPSS 17.0 for analysis.
Data analysis included descriptive statistics, Emotional Quo-
tient Inventory Technical Manual, and Pearson Product-Mo-
ment Correlation. Of the 72 participants, 65.3% were female
and 30.6% were male; the remaining 4.1% of the sample did
not indicate their gender. The sample for this study ranged in
age (26 to 66 years), with a mean participant age of 40.63
An Emotional Quotient Inventory Technical Manual was
used to determine IT leaders mean score; scale score interpreta-
tions can be viewed in Table 1. Descriptive statistics for the
two job performance scales were presented in Table 2. The
scores were based on a scale of one-to-five, with higher values
reflecting more positive job performance. The results indicated
that the subordinates in this study were rated as exhibiting in-
terpersonal facilitation behaviors sometimes to regularly (3.80)
and exhibiting job dedication behaviors sometimes to regularly
(3.75). However, there was a wide range of scores indicating
that some of the subordinates seldom or never exhibited such
behaviors while others exhibited them very often.
As seen in Table 3, mean scores suggested that participants
had an adequate degree of empathy, with an average score of
97.51. However, this was the area in which participants scored
the lowest. Participants scored the highest on the independence
subscale (106.68). Table 4 provided the descriptive statistics
for each of the five EQ scales. Results indicated that, on ave-
rage, participants scored highet on the stress management s
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 39
Table 1.
Emotional Quotient Subscale Interpretation Guide.
Standard score Interpretive guideline
130+ Markedly high—atypically well developed emotional capacity
120 - 129 Very high—extremely well developed emotional capacity
110 - 119 High—well developed emotional capacity
90 - 109 Average—adequate emotional capacity
80 - 89 Low—under-developed emotional capacity
70 - 79 Very low—extremely under-developed emotional capacity
Under 70 Markedly low—atypically impaired emotional capacity
Table 2.
Job performance scale means and standard deviations.
Source N Minimum Maximum Mean SD
Interpersonal facilitation 137 1.14 5.00 3.80 0.70
Job dedication 137 1.50 5.00 3.75 0.76
Table 3.
Emotional intelligence subscale means and standard deviations.
Source N Minimum Maximum Mean SD
Self regard 72 77 128 103.79 11.27
Emotional self-awareness 72 61 129 102.14 14.26
Assertiveness 72 65 130 102.39 11.54
Independence 72 75 122 106.68 11.20
Self actualization 72 69 126 101.18 13.06
Empathy 72 59 120 97.51 15.19
Social responsibility 72 69 118 101.25 12.14
Interpersonal relationships 72 71 127 100.46 13.70
Stress tolerance 72 74 130 104.85 11.35
Impulse control 72 78 131 104.51 12.22
Reality testing 72 80 127 103.81 11.97
Flexibility 72 74 131 104.83 13.17
Problem solving 72 75 130 104.19 12.24
Optimism 72 81 126 100.50 11.46
Happiness 72 67 124 102.57 12.48
scale (105.21), followed by the adaptability scale (105.08).
Participants scored lowest on the interpersonal scale (100.08).
The Pearson correlation results between each of the 15 EQ
subscales and the interpersonal facilitation scale were provided
in Table 5. Results indicated that optimism has a weak correla-
tion with interpersonal facilitation (r = .24, p = .005). With a
larger sample size the results could yield a stronger correlation.
Self-actualization had a small effect on interpersonal facilita-
tion, r = .24, p = .005, and a larger sample size of IT leaders
and subordinates can strengthen the correlation of high emo-
tional intelligence scores (IT leaders) with interpersonal facili-
tation scores (subordinates).
This research study attempted to examine the notion that IT
Table 4.
Emotional intelligence scale means and standard deviations.
Source N Minimum Maximum Mean SD
Intrapersonal 72 73 129 104.11 11.55
Interpersonal 72 65 124 100.08 13.12
Stress management 72 77 128 105.21 10.87
Adaptability 72 82 131 105.08 11.81
General mood 72 74 128 101.50 11.26
Table 5.
Pearson correlations between EQ subscales and interpersonal facilitation.
Interpersonal facilitation
Source N r p
Self regard 72 .08 .372
Emotional self-awareness 72 .03 .715
Assertiveness 72 .01 .890
Independence 72 .12 .180
Self actualization 72 .24 .005
Empathy 72 .01 .951
Social responsibility 72 .07 .421
Interpersonal relationships 72 .05 .546
Stress tolerance 72 .10 .237
Impulse control 72 .10 .225
Reality testing 72 .03 .768
Flexibility 72 .08 .380
Problem solving 72 .16 .069
Optimism 72 .24 .005
Happiness 72 .01 .914
leaders failed in leadership roles due to a lack of empathy, a
lack of emotional ability, and the inability to connect with oth-
ers (Caruso & Gentry, 2005). The purpose of this study was to
investigate the relationship between IT leaders’ emotional intel-
ligence and subordinate contextual performance behaviors rat
ings. IT leaders scored high on stress management and
adapta-bility, and both of those leadership traits can be deemed
as beneficial towards the development of empathy and the
management of emotions and teammates. In the IT industry
high demands are placed on management, and in turn, man-
agement might place those strains on their employees; this in-
ability to manage stress can result in micromanaging of em-
ployees and poor performance throughout the organization.
However, IT managers who focus on the management of emo-
tions might be more effective than the highly skilled IT manag-
Technology firms are successful when they are structured
with the most talented individuals. Some organizations might
promote the highly skilled and knowledgeable workers, but the
problem derives from poor leadership traits and qualities. Hi-
ghly skilled IT employees do not guarantee highly skilled IT
leaders, so IT firms should start investing in leadership pro-
grams that focus on the management of emotions and seek in-
dividuals that embody emotional intelligence. One could as-
sume from this research that IT leaders with high emotional
intelligence might be perceived as better performers in their job,
but the weak correlations found cannot validate this notion. In
this study, EI have proven high among IT leaders, so one could
assume IT leaders displayed the ability to make rational and
emotional decisions in regards to employee job ratings. Fair
employee job ratings can inspire constituents to align their be-
haviors and actions to perform in a productive and successful
This study supported previous assertions that optimistic
leaders experience less stress and other negative emotions (Tan
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
& Tiong, 2005), which may allow the leaders to effectively rate
subordinates contextual performance behaviors. Results also
suggest that IT leaders who possess the EI skill of self-actuali-
zation are aware of and can positively rate subordinates’ dis-
play of cooperative, considerate, and helpful acts that create
interpersonal facilitation. The current research demonstrated the
existence of a relationship between leaders EI and subordinates
job performance. Findings can be interpreted to mean that hi-
gher levels of leader EI have a positive relationship with how
leaders rate subordinates’ display of acts beyond normal job
Understanding the specific relationship between leaders’ EI
and subordinate job performance may help leaders decide on
performance approaches with subordinates to support organiza-
tional effectiveness. Future studies can be used to explore the
benefits of EI on other leaders across a broad spectrum of in-
dustries. Additionally, it is recommended that future investiga-
tion examine EI inventory scores of male managers versus fe-
male managers and how those scores can impact their job eva-
luation performance. Finally, a larger sample size should be
examined to offer stronger and more generalizable findings
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