Emotional intelligence and school leadership : a study of primary school principals in the Pinetown District of KwaZulu-Natal.
Madondo, Nonjabulo Fortunate.
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Decentralisation and devolution of power in the education system post 1994 in South Africa has brought additional roles and responsibilities for school principals. Consequently, school principals are now encountering enormous challenges in executing their leadership and management duties. Literature has shown that emotional intelligence ensures effective leadership therefore, school principals as leaders of schools require a fair measure of emotional intelligence to execute their roles effectively and also to deal with the challenges that they encounter more efficiently. Given this, this study explores the importance of emotional intelligence of school principals in selected primary schools. The study also explores possible strategies for managing emotions and ways of managing effective relationships at school. The study seeks to answer these key research questions: Why is it important for school principals to be emotionally intelligent?, What strategies do school principals use in managing their emotions?, How can school principals manage the emotions of others and relations with others better?. This study is underpinned by the theory of emotional intelligence and authentic leadership theory. It is located within the interpretive paradigm. It is a qualitative case study. It generated data from purposively selected school principals and educators using semi-structured interviews (school principals) and questionnaires with open-ended questions (educators). The findings revealed the importance of school principals being emotionally intelligent. The findings further furnished possible strategies of managing emotions for school principals and possible ways of managing relations in schools. Based on the findings and literature discussion around emotional intelligence and leadership, it is clear that there is a significant need for emotional intelligence to be included as part of the criteria in the selection process of school principals as well as in school principal’s development programmes.