Exploring the leadership implications of leaders who are actively practicing to identify, express, and explore their emotions in a group environment

Dr. Robert Murray
First Published: June 01, 2022


The purpose of this qualitative project was to explore the unknown motivations, emotional resistances, hopes, mindset shifts, and performance outcomes of leaders who have self-selected to participate in an emotional intelligence group.

Ten one-on-one, semi-structured interviews were utilized for this qualitative study using a nonprobability, convenience approach to identify participants who had been actively participating in an emotional intelligence group for at least nine months. All participants reported a mindset shift from emotionally avoidant or emotionally expressive/scary to expressive/healthy because they participated in a group. The most significant resistance encountered by participants, holding them back from investing in their emotional development before joining a group, was self-protection from social shame, pressures, and judgments (regarding emotions).

Participants reported that their recognized emotional disconnection with self and others, and the desire for a safe place to connect, emote, belong, and be supported, were the top primary motivators for self-selecting to join a group. Participants reported their group attendance outcomes to include becoming more open, honest, accepting, accountable, curious, and confident with emotions, including more connection with self and others. The benefits and considerations of this research will directly impact the opportunity available for leaders, teams, consultants, and organizations to invest and strengthen emotional intelligence in ways that directly impact improving performance outcomes.


Emotional intelligence, leadership, transformation, EQ 

Request a Download