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Emotional intelligence: a qualitative study of the development of emotional intelligence of community college students enrolled in a leadership development program


This is a qualitative study to explore the relationship between leadership development programs and emotional intelligence development in students. Research exists regarding the connection between emotional intelligence and academic achievement, but there is a lack of research concerning how to develop students’ emotional intelligence. This study provided research in this area. The researcher utilized the ESAP-A/B to calculate Emotional Intelligence growth, along with qualitative focus groups and one-on-one interviews. The data showed that students experience EI growth through leadership training programs. Students showed increased growth in the area of self-esteem, which students felt was due to being pushed outside of their comfort zone in the areas of public speaking and group communication. Qualitative data demonstrated that students felt the mandatory workshops, teamwork activities, and the experience of being a part of a cohort, were the three most impactful components of training. This research creates a foundation for further research into training best practices and encouraging EI growth in college students through leadership training programs.


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emotional intelligence
leadership development
student development
higher education
community college
leadership training


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