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The Relationship Between Research-Based Leadership Practices and Emotional Intelligence of High School Principals
Hanlin, Donna Carey
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Abstract Dissertation title: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RESEARCH-BASED LEADERSHIP PRACTICES AND EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE OF HIGH SCHOOL PRINCIPALS Donna C. Hanlin Doctor of Education, 2014 Dissertation directed by: Dr. Dennis Kivlighan Chair, Department of Counseling and Personnel Services The complexity of the role of school principal in today's era of high accountability is often overwhelming. For decades, policy makers and business leaders have voiced concerns about the ability of the public school system in the United States to keep pace with other nations. Many continue to believe that our graduates cannot compete in today's global economy. Those who express such concerns have encouraged the adoption of accountability systems that put pressure on teachers and administrators to produce highly successful students. As pressure increases, fewer principals are entering this stress-filled career; and those who do, are unprepared for the demands that lie ahead. Educators are continuously grasping for the answer to how to best prepare and how to select the best principals in today's world of accountability. Looking to the business arena for guidance, research shows that emotional intelligence is a critical quality in organizational leadership. In education, while research has linked certain leadership practices and qualities of principals to increases in student achievement, there is very little mention of the emotional intelligence of principals. This study was designed to determine if a relationship exists between emotional intelligence and effective school leadership practices; and which proven leadership practices have the strongest correlation to the competencies of emotional intelligence. Data were collected with a validated two part questionnaire using a Likert scale to determine to what extent participants practice specific leadership behaviors (part I) and also possess emotional intelligence competencies (part II). The survey was designed based upon Marzano's 21 areas of leadership responsibility (Waters, Marzano, & and McNulty, 2003) and Goleman's four domains of emotional intelligence (2002). The research was approached through quantitative, correlational analysis. A strong positive correlation (r= 0.74) was found between high school principals' research-based leadership practices and their emotional intelligence, and 55% of the variance in principals' leadership practices could be explained by their emotional intelligence. Therefore, a focus on emotional intelligence should be encouraged as part of education reform; from university curriculum and coursework, to principal hiring practices, to professional development for aspiring and practicing principals. School principals equipped with emotional intelligence competencies will be much more effective in successfully leading meaningful school reform. Educators have been reluctant to embrace this notion in the midst of a standardized test-ridden and data-driven world; however, after decades of unsuccessful reform initiatives in the United States, it is indeed time for a paradigm shift.