The Relationship Between Principals’ Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness

Secondary Education    Principals/Superintendents

Download a Printer Friendly Version (PDF)
TITLE: The Relationship Between Principals’ Emotional Intelligence and Leadership Effectiveness
RESEARCHER: Tammy D. Condren
Graduate School of Education
University of Missouri-Columbia
Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation: December 2002

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between the emotional intelligence of the principal and teachers’ perceptions of the principals’ leadership effectiveness.

The sample consisted of a stratified random sampling of 32 of the approximately 455 principals in the southwest quadrant of Missouri and 160 of their teachers. There were 16 male and 16 female principals, along with five randomly selected faculty members from each of their staffs. Six male and six female principals were at the elementary school level and five males and five females at the middle and high school levels. Principals completed Jerabek’s (1998) Emotional Intelligence Test (EIQ) and teachers completed the Observer form of the Leadership Practices Inventory.

While correlations were positive none reached statistical significance between emotional intelligence (overall) and any of the five leadership practices. Similarly, the five leadership practices were not significantly associated with the emotional intelligence subscales of behavioral or knowledge. Analysis of the role of gender between emotional intelligence and leadership practices revealed no statistical significance.

Analysis by gender and “building level” (elementary vs. middle/high school) did reveal some statistically significant differences. For females at the elementary level, there was a strong relationship between overall EIQ and Modeling, Encouraging and Challenging. This was not true for females at the middle/high school level. There were no statistically significant relationships for men at the elementary level. Middle school male principals were found to have a significant negative correlation with overall EIQ and Inspiring, Challenging, and Encouraging.

As elementary female principals increased in EIQ behavioral their leadership practice of Challenging increased and as EIQ knowledge increased so did Inspiring, Challenging, Enabling and Encouraging. Significant relationships were not found for middle/high school female principals, or for elementary male principals. Middle school male principals had significant inverse relationships between EIQ behavioral and Inspiring and Challenging, while for high school male principals all the relationships were negative, and significant between EIQ knowledge and Challenging, Modeling and Encouraging.

“It can be concluded that the overall emotional intelligence of the building administrator is not related to specific areas of leadership” (p. 75), and this is also true for specific areas of emotional intelligence (behavioral and knowledge) and teachers’ perceptions of leadership practices. “The gender of the principal does not play a role in the relationship between their emotional intelligence and the teachers’ perceptions of their leadership effectiveness” (p. 76). Secondary analysis revealed some interactive effects between “building” (elementary, middle and high school), gender, and leadership practices.