Nowadays, not only leaders are required to think and act entrepreneurially but also the employees. An entrepreneurial leadership style is supposed to encourage entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors in employees. However, yet little research has been conducted on how entrepreneurial leaders encourage employees to be have entrepreneurially and what factors influence this relationship.
The most important factor might be the leader with his abilities, attitudes and behaviors himself. An important ability to bond with employees, which is crucial to encourage and motivate them, is social intelligence. Yet, research has overlooked the importance of social intelligence for entrepreneurial leaders. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to explore the importance of social intelligence for entrepreneurial leaders with particular regard to the encouragement of entrepreneurial attitudes and behaviors in employees.
Nowadays, not only leaders but also employees need to think and act entrepreneurially in order to face an increasingly turbulent, fast changing and competitive environment. This claimsa new leadership style from the leaders and new ways of thinking and acting from the employees of an organization (Fernald, Solomon & Tarabishy, 2005).
A new paradigm of leadership style, namely entrepreneurial leadership, has received much attention in many organizations. This entrepreneurial leadership style, which contains characteristics of both entrepreneurs and leaders, gains attention from both new ventures and established firms (Wang & Ahmed,2012).
However, entrepreneurs and leaders are not absolutely contradictory as they share several common characteristics: able to motivate, visionary, creative/innovative, risk-taking, goal oriented patient, flexible, and persistent (Chen, Greene & Crick,1998; Fernald et al., 2005; Perren & Burgyone, 2002; Kilgour, 1992).
Considering both entrepreneurs and leaders individually, entrepreneurs are often determined by three competencies, namely innovativeness, pro-activeness and risk-taking (Chen et al., 1998; Darling & Beebe, 2007; Darling et al.,2007; Kuratko, 2007), while leaders are determined by the capabilities of communication, coordination and networking among people (Darling et al., 2007). The value creation process is functioning within the paradigm of innovativeness, pro-activeness and risk-taking as it is stated in the definition. This combined construct represents the degree of entrepreneurship and conceptualizes entrepreneurial leadership (Bagheri et al., 2013; Chen, 2007; Kuratko, 2007).