The role of emotional intelligence in transformational leadership: A leader member exchange perspective
Waglay, Maryam Khan
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The Transformational Leadership style has shown that it elicits improved performance in followers and that emotion plays an important part in the leadership process. The goal of the present study is to investigate the role of emotional intelligence in the effectiveness of leadership in organisations through high Leader Member Exchange (LMX) relationships. The overarching research initiating question can be framed as “Does high emotional intelligence in leaders lead to higher LMX relationships?”. Through the synthesis of literature, the study proposes that leadership style and high-quality leader member exchange relationships have a profound impact on follower performance. It is hypothesized that emotional intelligence in both leaders and followers would have a positive impact in the quality of the exchange. Transformational leaders make use of emotional intelligence to understand the emotional needs of their followers, which in turn results in a high-quality relationship between the leader and their followers. High quality LMX relationships typically result in higher levels of follower commitment and performance. However, the mediating role of emotional intelligence between Transformational Leadership, LMX and follower performance have not been explored fully in the management literature and to date, there has been very little research exploring the sequential chain of influence between these variables. The current study aims to contribute to the body of knowledge in the fields of leadership, emotional intelligence, LMX and unit level performance. The research follows a quantitative approach. The sample for this research project consists of managers and employees in the banking sector. The biographical characteristics of the sample will include age, gender, educational level, years of service, type of employment and job level. The targeted sample size is between 300-350 employees working in the financial services industry in the Western Cape. The goal of the study was to examine the complex nomological network of relationships between Transformational Leadership, LMX, Emotional Intelligence, and unit level performance. The findings of the study indicate that the proposed model could be considered a credible representation of how emotional intelligence, LMX, and transformational leadership interact to influence unit level performance.