Date of Conferral







David K. Banner


U.S.-based financial institutions have experienced significant failure rates since the mid-1980s. The problem within the U.S.-based banking industry is that the focus of leadership development has been primarily on cognitive abilities, whereas interpersonal skills, such as emotional intelligence, have been neglected. Research has focused on U.S. bank failures from a risk mitigation, economic, or legislative perspective, creating a gap in research on leadership behavior. The purpose of this correlation study was to determine whether a significant relationship exists between emotional intelligence and servant leadership among leaders in the U.S. small business banking industry. The theoretical framework compared intelligence types to leadership styles to explain leadership behavior. A convenience sample of leaders within the Qualtrics database of small business-bankers was surveyed from a composite survey for levels of servant leadership and emotional intelligence simultaneously. Pearson's correlation coefficient was performed to test the hypothesis. A statistically significant relationship was found between servant leadership and emotional intelligence. Social change implications of this study include improving employee engagement and retention, along with stakeholder engagement through the identification of leaders high in servant leadership style and emotional intelligence. Positive economic, social, and environmental benefits could be gained through improved organizational performance of U.S.-based banks by improving the selection and development of leaders in small business lending willing to embrace a stakeholder management theory.