How is school leadership connected with Emotional Intelligence? Part 2 1

In part 1, I gave a brief summary of what emotional intelligence and how it has developed along the way.

I’d like to look at the link between school leadership and emotional intelligence. I was forwarded on an article on this very subject a while back. It makes for interesting reading, here’s the main points.

  • A group of principals and vice-principals were assessed on  their EQ level in Ontario in 2005. They were also asked to self score themselves in the area of leadership, using 21 simple “I” statement, they were asked to rate them from 1-10.
  • On top of this, supervisors and staff rated the named principal using the same criteria and scoring system.
  • Results showed that the self scoring and staff/supervisor scoring tallied in a major way.
  • Above average emotionally intelligent principals tended to be stronger in4 scales. These were emotional self awareness, self-actualisation, empathy and interpersonal skills.
  • Female principals scored higher in interpersonal skills but there were no other differences noticed between the sexes.
  • The study also referred to Humphrey’s defintion of task-orientation leadership and relationship orientation leadership. People often think that being a leader (relationships)is more important than a manager( task) when in fact, they are intertwined. It found that task-orientated EI skills like emotional awareness, self-actualisation, problem solving, flexibility and impulse control were the most important ones. In the relationship-orientated skills, the emotional inteligence skills that were the most important in an effective school principal were empathy, interpersonal skills, flexibility and problem solving.
  • Note that problem solving and flexibility were in both task and relationship orientated emotional intelligence skills for an effective school leader.
  • So, what did these reports recommend? That professional development programs for school leaders needed to focus on developing these EI skills and competencies by using EI assessment tools in the recruitment and succession planning of incoming and outgoing principals.
  • The study can be found here.

So, effective leadership is not based on making things easier or giving more capitation grants to schools. Of course, these things wuld be nice but it is more important for principals to keep their own mental and emotional level healthy. Book yourself in for an EI assessment and work on a practical skill-based emotions pathway. It will help your staff, family and the children.

Rozz Lewis is a primary school principal in Saplings Carlow. She is licensed to administer, score, interpret and provide feedback on the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i). She can be contacted at rozz@anseo.net for more information or for a challenging debate!