South African Journal of Higher Education

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Emotional intelligence and leadership abilities

H H Herbst, J G Maree, E Sibanda


While exceptional leaders share certain qualities like a strong personal ethic and a
compelling vision of the future, research has failed to provide conclusive `proof\' of
the link between a leader\'s effectiveness and his/ her emotional intelligence
(defined from a cognitive perspective, as a set of abilities). Given the increased
recognition of the importance of the role of emotions in the leadership literature,
the question arises whether the concept of emotional intelligence has significance
for leadership effectiveness. In a pioneering study in the South African context, we
examined the possible relationship between four possible facets of emotional
intelligence (defined as a multi-faceted ability) and five possible practices of
exemplary leaders in the context of leadership in a Higher Education Institution. The
sample comprised 138 managers within a Higher Education Institution. The
findings provide some evidence that support a positive correlation between
emotional intelligence and leadership effectiveness.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol. 20 (5) 2006: pp. 592-612
AJOL African Journals Online