Do Intelligent Leaders Make a Difference? The Effect of a Leader's Emotional Intelligence on Followers' Creativity

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Abstract

This research investigates the connection between emotional intelligence (EI) and creativity. This was studied by exploring: (i) an association between leaders' EI and their followers' creative output; (ii) an association between six sub-dimensions of EI and creativity; and (iii) a mediating role of climate in the link between EI and creativity. Two questionnaires (one for leaders and one for employees) were used to collect data in a hospital. Sixty-six usable leader-employee dyads were collected. The findings confirmed a positive relationship between leaders' EI and employees' creativity. At an EI's sub-dimensions level, the current research showed an association between creativity, on one hand, and self-encouragement and understanding of own emotions, on the other. Finally, no mediating effect of climate was observed. The absence of a mediating effect is interesting, since it suggests a direct link between leaders' EI and employees' creativity, regardless of the climate. This is important, since it calls attention to the paramount role of leaders in shaping individual and organizational behaviours as far as creativity is concerned. The paper also discusses implications for management and practice.

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