Emotional intelligence as an influence on the practices of educational leaders
Over the last few decades, the concept of emotional intelligence has gained popularity and is considered a vital attribute of effective leadership. School leaders’ emotional intelligence skills are crucial to enhance students’ achievements and ensure the well-being of a school as a learning community (Gray, 2009). This study analysed the influence emotional intelligence has on educational leaders’ practices in two primary schools in Auckland, New Zealand. It aimed to examine ways in which school leaders define the concept of emotional intelligence and identify the importance of emotional intelligence skills related to leadership practices. This thesis explores how emotional intelligence influences the practices of educational leaders. A qualitative approach was employed and data were collected through interviews with six participants including two principals, two deputy principals, and two teachers. The research findings highlighted that leadership practices were linked to emotional intelligence in-situ as identified by the participants of this study. It also offered insights into the pressures and issues when undertaking effective leadership practices related to emotional intelligence. The analysis of the data indicated that emotional intelligence has a positive influence on leadership practices. School leaders ‘buy in’ to emotional intelligence is profoundly dependent on context and its external and internal influences. Furthermore, leaders employ a wide range of skills for leadership practices to be successful and meaningful, and emotional intelligence is one skill set that may facilitate them in their endeavours to achieve effective leadership and meet the learning and teaching needs of students and teachers.