Emotionally Intelligent Leadership
A Guide for College Students
AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHORS MARCY LEVY SHANKMAN AND SCOTT ALLEN
BY TISA MASON
The 2008 Alice Manicur Symposium for Women Aspiring to be Senior Student Affairs Officers identified emotional
intelligence as a crucial characteristic for successful leadership at the senior level. Daniel Goleman writes in his
article “What Makes a Good Leader” (Harvard Business Review, 2004) that “although a certain degree of analytical
and technical skill is a minimum requirement for success… emotional intelligence may be the key attribute that distinguishes
outstanding performers from those who are merely adequate.”
Clearly, our work as educators is two-fold: continue to
develop our emotional intelligence and that of staff members
and help college students understand and practice emotionally
intelligent leadership. Marcy Levy Shankman and Scott Allen,
authors of Emotionally Intelligent Leadership: A Guide for
College Students (Jossey–Bass, 2008), provide a great framework for SSAOs in pursuing these goals.
who follow them, and the environmental factors that come
The word capacity holds special meaning to us. EIL consists
of 21 capacities of importance to any leader. We chose this
word because it reflects the potential that we all have—we all
have the capacity to develop the ability to lead others effectively.
What inspired you to write this book?
Part of the motivation for writing the book was our belief that
undergraduate students have a terrific “learning lab” at their
disposal. The campus environment provides a rich and plentiful
array of opportunities for students to practice leadership skills.
Students can experiment with different approaches to leadership—honing the philosophy and style that best suits them.
How does one cultivate emotionally intelligent
leadership in students?
Helping students identify their strengths and their limitations
provides them with information that is at the core of their
leadership development. The critical skills of active listening
and coaching (which are capacities of emotionally intelligent
leadership) are essential starting points. Understanding the
importance of reflective practice and encouraging students to
pause and learn from their experiences, even on the day-to-
day and moment-to-moment level, will
assist them in developing their EIL. Self-
awareness is key to EIL. The more student
affairs professionals encourage students to
reflect on what works, what doesn’t work,
and WHY, the more likely they are to
develop emotionally intelligent leadership.
“It’s the followers who make the
leadership dynamic possible.”
How do you define emotionally intelligent
Emotionally intelligent leadership (EIL) synthesizes two major
bodies of research and theory: emotional intelligence and leadership. Throughout the book, the research and work of other
scholars and practitioners is discussed as part of the EIL model.
Foremost in our model are three fundamental facets that
contribute to the leadership dynamic: consciousness of context,
of self, and of others. The ability of leaders to monitor all three
intentionally will aid in their ability to lead effectively. After
all, leaders must be aware of their capacities, the needs of those
How does this leadership style benefit the
That’s a great question. The followers’ role in the leadership
dynamic is central to emotionally intelligent leadership. The
whole idea of leadership as a relationship is captured in the
framework of consciousness of self, consciousness of others,
and consciousness of context. Followers are the “others”—
emotionally intelligent leadership exists when we recognize
that we are constantly in relationship with others. We may
have great ideas as leaders, but without others, we will be
limited in our ability to bring these ideas along. It’s the