The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence of a Leader and Employee Motivation to Job Performance

The Relationship between Emotional Intelligence of a Leader and Employee Motivation to Job Performance

Vera Acha, Kathleen M. Hargiss, Caroline Howard
DOI: 10.4018/ijsita.2013100105
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This quantitative study investigated the bond between a leader's emotional intelligence to employee motivation. The research was conducted at a federal government agency resided north bound of the United States of America. Participants consisted of 350 full time employees from various units of the organization. The leader's emotional intelligence was tested with Emotional Social Competence Inventory (ESCI) tool, whereas employees' motivation was verified with the Four Drive (4-D) instrument. The study depicted a link between a leader's emotions and employee interest to excel. Emotional aptitude scored high, which indicates that the leader's emotion affected employees' behavior. Employees likely to stay with the organization displayed strong organizational awareness with high sense of belonging. The different groups observed, revealed results with both positive and negative significant correlations (p < .05). The final outcome depicted that a leader's emotional intelligence influenced employees' motivation to excel. As the sample size was large some of the results were generalized.
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Emotional intelligence (EI) had been correlated to leadership effectiveness and sustainability (Austin, Farrelly, Black, & Moore, 2007). Emotionally intelligent leaders were known to promote growth and development in any organization. In addition, these leaders motivate their employees to enhance job performance and productivity (Bae, Chuma, Kato, Kim, & Ohadhi, 2011). With the recent global economy, EI cannot be overemphasized as one of the primary factors that affect employees’ behavior. For organizations to survive rivalry, employees must be motivated through the leader’s kind gestures (Barbuto & Burbach, 2006). Studies had confirmed that a leader’s EI was directly proportional to employee motivation, sustainability, job performance, and organizational commitment (Yun-Tsan, Shui-Chuan, & Hsiang-Ta, 2011). More studies revealed that disgruntled employees had been known to separate from the company because the leader treats them unfairly (Walter & Bruch, 2007).

The purpose of this quantitative descriptive correlational study was to verify the relationship between a leader’s emotional intelligence and employees’ motivation at a federal government agency located in the northeast region of the United States (US). A famous writer, psychologist, and consultant, Goleman, discussed the emotional and social intelligence topics in-depth. According to Goleman, emotional and general intelligence portrayed the ability to recognize and control one’s emotion and the ability to interact with others (Becker, 2006). Emotional competence influenced other people’s attitude, which could affect employee motivation in a work place (Leiter, Oore, Day, & Laschinger, 2011). Employee motivation, in contrast, was defined as “psychological forces that determine the direction of a person’s behavior in any corporation, the person’s level of effort, and the person’s level of persistence” (Bolton, 2005, p. 15). Managing employee motivation had been overwhelming for organizations. That is why the leader’s attitude can influence the workers’ enthusiasm (Brackett & Mayer, 2006). The economic and psychological costs associated with apathetic workers can be expensive, including lack of commitment, disintegrated team, and poor performance (Dierdorff, Bell, & Belohlav, 2011). In other words, if employees were unmotivated, the environment could be in disarray (Boyatzis, 2006).

In the information systems (IS) industry, motivation rates were between 15-20% with 80% of those jobs filled with qualified professionals (Raj, Walia, & Gill, 2011). Current trends estimated annual motivation rates of 30% for IS experts, and 15% in other specialized areas (Heavey, Halliday, Gilbert, & Murphy, 2011). Employee motivation has not been an easy task for corporations; hence the retention of skilled workers was very costly (Jacobson, 2011). Herman warned that retention was the main angst for leaders around the world in the attempt to motivate employees. Efforts to investigate employees who had left the organization were daunting, so leaders had to monitor daily activities, which revealed any gaps in job performance (Law, Wong, Huang, & Li, 2008). Employees’ attitude towards work was tracked, through the leader’s vigilance in monitoring tasks assigned to employees (Smith, Oczkowski, & Smith, 2011). Based on these findings, the present quantitative study of a leader’s EI and employee motivation to job performance emerged. Further, the theoretical framework of the research, the problem statement being evaluated, the significance of the study, the nature of the study, the hypotheses to be tested, and the implications involved would be summarized.

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