Emotional Intelligence in Schools Report

Emotional Intelligence in Schools Report

Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand and manage one’s own emotions and those of others. EI is essential for school leaders facing complex and dynamic daily challenges.

School leaders who have high emotional intelligence skills are able to build positive relationships. They can also communicate effectively, motivate, and inspire others, and create a culture of trust and collaboration.

Research has shown that EI is linked to various outcomes, such as school performance, teacher satisfaction, student achievement, and school climate.

Harvard University (2015) found that EI accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers leaders apart from those with similar technical skills and knowledge, while other studies identified a 31% gap in leadership development effectiveness between organisations where EI is valued versus those in which it is not.

This Summary Report represents the findings from the GENOS International Leadership Survey conducted with Middle Leaders, Deputy Principals and Principals across 355 Queensland schools from 2020 – 2022.

Effective leaders had to choose managers, colleagues, and subordinates to do a 360 assessment and give feedback on their leadership skills. This summary shows what people think about leadership in primary and secondary schools in the state. It is based on the opinions of individual raters.

Leading with Emotional Intelligence

Raters for each group (Middle Leaders, Deputy Principals, and Principals) reported above-average familiarity with participants’ leadership behaviours through regular contact. For each group, there were significantly inconsistent responses from raters, possibly because of:

  • Different behaviour is being demonstrated to individuals.
  • Raters observe various aspects of leadership behaviour, depending on their role.
  • Other situations, relationships or environments impacted individual responses.

Results varied among individuals, but the overall responses of each leadership group can be analysed to identify patterns.

Emotional Intelligence in Leadership

Middle leaders performed best overall – possibly due to the frequency of contact with raters/teachers.

  • Middle Leaders demonstrated Self-awareness most powerfully, with a more significant number of ‘highs’ reported. Principals were mostly rated as ‘average’.
  • Awareness of others was ranked highest among Middle Leaders, with Deputy Principals rated as ‘high’ more frequently than Principals.
  • Authenticity is again rated highly for Middle Leaders, with Principals and Deputy Principals rating similarly.
  • Emotional reasoning showed a significant difference between Middle Leaders and Deputy Principals, possibly due to the operational and systemic nature of some of the DP work. Principals were rated higher than Deputy Principals, possibly due to their work’s more strategic, holistic nature.
  • Self-management was the only aspect of leadership rated very similarly across Middle Leaders, Deputy Principals and Principals. However, Deputy Principals recorded most ‘highs’ and Principals most ‘averages’.
  • Inspiring Performance had comparable results for each group, with Middle Leaders demonstrating the most ‘averages’; Deputy Principals, the most ‘highs’ and Principals, the most ‘lows’.
How to Improve Emotional Intelligence

The most crucial element of undertaking Leadership 360 assessments is how you respond to the feedback. You can choose from many different actions to enhance your EI right away. Still, the research from Edge Institute recommends these steps as a good start:

Practice self-awareness

Pay attention to how you feel and how you react to different situations. Identify your strengths and weaknesses and be open to feedback from others.

Manage your emotions.

Healthily learn to understand the emotions and cope with stress, anger, frustration, or other negative emotions. Avoid impulsive or destructive behaviours and seek help if you need it.

Empathise with others.

Use interpersonal skills to see things from other people’s perspectives and acknowledge their feelings and needs. Show respect, compassion, and avoid judging or criticising others.

Communicate effectively.

Express your thoughts and feelings clearly and respectfully and listen actively to others. Use nonverbal cues such as eye contact, facial expressions, and gestures to enhance your message. Avoid conflicts by being assertive, not aggressive, or passive.

Build positive relationships.

Seek out people who support, inspire, and challenge you to grow. Be trustworthy, reliable, and cooperative with others. Appreciate diversity and celebrate differences.

Are you ready to explore how emotional intelligence insights, tools, and concepts can improve your team’s capacity to drive a positive, engaged culture across your school?

To gain insights for your own leadership journey, contact assessments@edgeinstitute.com.au to complete the Genos EI assessment.


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