The impact of emotionally intelligent leadership on talent retention, discretionary effort and employment brand

Benjamin Palmer, Gilles Gignac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present research on the relationship between the emotional intelligence (EI) of managers and levels of engagement amongst their direct reports. The findings are discussed in terms of a business case for EI development as a strategy to improve employment brand, talent retention and productivity. Design/methodology/approach: Within three different organisations, employees completed an assessment of their engagement and the EI of their manager via an online web survey system. Correlation analyses were then performed with the data. Findings: The EI of managers was found to meaningfully correlate with employee engagement scores. A substantial amount of the variability in direct report engagement scores was accounted for by managers' EI. Research limitations/implications: Future research needs to establish whether the EI of managers correlates with direct report engagement scores whilst controlling for direct reports' EI. Additionally, whether employee engagement scores improve as a result of improvements in managers' EI needs to be examined. Practical implications: Organisations may be able to improve their employment brand, talent retention and productivity by developing the EI of management. Originality/value: This paper is the first to report on the empirical relationship between managers' EI and employee engagement. It will be of interest to those who are challenged with the task of improving leadership and employee engagement more broadly. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-18
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial and Commercial Training
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes


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