Carnegie Education

Learning, Emotional Intelligence and Leadership

Kayleigh Reddy is an international student currently engaged with the MA Education. Having completed her undergraduate studies in French and History, she is now working in the Middle East. Her current role as a language teacher, has given her a unique insight into the importance of Emotional Intelligence in the global context of Education.

Published on 05 Mar 2020

Attending University to learn technical and conceptual skills is only part of the transformative journey at Leeds Beckett University. In addition to studying the academic underpinning for a career, learners hone their interpersonal skills by working with experienced practitioners, peers and professionals on a wide range of interdisciplinary projects. Through this type of engagement, they develop creativity, criticality and problem-solving approaches to become entrepreneurs and leaders in their chosen field.

However, becoming a leader takes both vision and the ability to harness the buy-in of others. The development of these attributes is a more complex process than the acquisition of technical, theoretical and conceptual data. It is the learner’s ownership of experience that creates transformation, through the development of knowledge and an ability to apply their learning.

The development of ‘intelligence’ has been the subject of much research, and few attribute this to the rote learning of facts and figures. Instead it is necessary to focus on authentic learning, and the impact this has on the subsequent resources an individual can draw on.

The quest to understand the development of embodied, transformative learning has a rich history. Emerson (1837) suggested that, “Character is higher than intellect” and that “A great soul will be strong to live, as well as strong to think.”  Thus, suggesting that personal values, rather than intellect, are the key determinants of an individual’s ability to withstand the pressures of life, and mediate successful outcomes. However, by the early 1870’s Francis Galton was seeking to scientifically identify the “individual differences” between the mental capacities of people (Roback and Kierman, 1990) and to determine whether these could actually be quantitatively assessed.

Many writers attribute intelligent action to the knowledge of, and conscious control of, emotion. The idea of an ‘Emotional Intelligence’ (EI)  was first introduced by Salovey and Mayer (1990),  and subsequently defined as “The ability to perceive and express emotion, assimilate emotion in thought, understand and reason with emotion, and regulate emotion in the self and others” (Mayer, Salovey, & Caruso, 2000, p. 396).

More recently, Goleman (1995) suggest that Emotional Intelligence can be more important than the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) when shaping intelligent action. In addition, Gardner (1999) proposed the Theory of Multiple Intelligences, which sub-divides human intelligence into eight modalities. What both conclude is that it is not only what we know that determines intellect, but also how we apply that knowledge. By this we perceive that knowing and action are two distinct features of an intelligent character or IQ.

The notion of regulating emotion formed the basis of Gardner’s (1999) Interpersonal and Intrapersonal intellect theories. Gardner (1999) considered the comprehension of emotions, whether internal (interpersonal) or external (intrapersonal) to be decisive indicators of a person’s intelligence and suggested that they should be considered independently.

Intrapersonal intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and control one’s own emotions. The Institute for Health and Human Potential (2019) suggest that individuals who can regulate their own emotions will be more likely to develop greater social capital, better working relationships and have a higher chance of success. This is because a person with high Intrapersonal Intelligence will be able to use their emotional knowledge to influence those around them. As such, Intrapersonal skills are a predictor of interpersonal skills (Global Leadership Foundation 2002; Goleman 2002; Grobler 2014).

Interpersonal intelligence is the ability to recognise, understand and influence the emotions of others (Gardner, 1999). Therefore, individuals who possess higher emotional self-recognition and regulation, may develop higher empathetic skills and evidence greater social awareness.

Cliffe (2011) concludes that success, in terms of one’s social abilities, is highly dependent on the ability to recognise and understand one’s own emotions. In addition, the attributes of empathy and social awareness highlighted by Gardner (1999), are viewed by Salovey and Mayor (2000) as being necessary for conflict resolutions, implementing change and inspiring others.

Although not everyone aspires to be an entrepreneur or a leader, facets of these roles are an integral part of daily existence. As such, emotional intelligence, intra and interpersonal skills, empathy, social awareness, conflict resolution and change management allow individuals to “be strong to live, as well as strong to think” (Emerson, 1837).

However, for those visionaries who aim to inspire, and harness the buy-in of others, it is their character, creativity, and problem-solving capacity that will enable them to become entrepreneurs and leaders in the future. The MA in Education, whilst it is based in Leeds, uses digital technology to ensure that its international cohort develop a truly global perspective to the strategic and operational management of Education in all its forms.


Reference List

Cliffe, J. (2011) Emotional intelligence: A study of female secondary school headteachers. Educational Management Administration & Leadership39(2), 205-218.

Emerson, R. W.  (1837) Available at: [Accessed 16.02.00].

Gardner, H. (1999) Intelligence Reframed: Multiple Intelligences. New York, NY: Basic Books.

Global Leadership Foundation. (2002) Goleman’s Emotional Intelligence Model. Available at: [Accessed 13.11.2019].

Goleman, D. (1995) Emotional intelligence: why it can matter more than IQ. New York, Bantam Book

Grobler, B. (2014) Teachers’ perceptions of the utilization of emotional competence by their school leaders in Gauteng South Africa. February, 42 (6), pp: 868-888.

Mayer, J. D., Salovey, P., & Caruso, D. (2000). Models of emotional intelligence. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), Handbook of intelligence (p. 396–420). Cambridge University Press.

Roback, A. & Kierman, T. (1990) Pictorial history of psychology and psychiatry (3a ed.) New York: Philosophical library.

Salovey, P. & Mayer, J. D. (1990) Emotional intelligence. Imagination, cognition and personality9(3), 185-211.

The Institute for Health and Human Potential (2019) Meaning of Emotional intelligence [Online] Available at:> [Accessed 15/11/2019]

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