Emotional intelligence and school leadership : a study of female school principals in selected secondary schools in the Ugu district of KwaZulu-Natal.
In South Africa over the past two decades there has been a shift from the oppressive apartheid rule to a democratic political dispensation. In the past women did not have equal employment opportunities as men because of institutional and cultural constraints. As women gain leadership positions in the new era, they still face more challenges compared to their male counterparts because of patriarchal relations. This requires women to have a higher degree of emotional intelligence. This study focused on the emotional intelligence of five female school principals in relation to leadership practice. The purpose of this study was to determine the importance of emotional intelligence on school leadership practice, to explore and investigate the strategies that female secondary school principals employ to manage their emotions and that of others. This study was framed by Goleman’s Theory of Emotional intelligence and Fullan’s Effective leadership Theory. This qualitative study is located in the interpretive paradigm. A case study was conducted on five female secondary school principals in the Ugu District of KwaZulu-Natal. Semi-structured interviews with the female school principals and focus group interviews with teachers were used in this study as data generation methods. The data generated was categorised into common themes and sub-themes. The findings indicated that female school principals who are emotionally intelligent are able to manage their own emotions and that of others in order to improve the culture of teaching and learning in their schools. This suggests that the DoBE should provide induction programmes and mentoring of newly appointed school principals in respect of emotional intelligence. The study recommends that the female school principals should show empathy and respect to the people they are leading in order to build good relations and to be able to make sound decisions to facilitate the improvement of their institutions.
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