Salovey and Mayer (1990) are among the key researchers of the past twenty years who have advanced emotional intelligence as a valid component of what intelligence is understood to be. In their construct, emotions are either positive or negative responses to events and motivate people to act in certain ways, including prioritizing their actions. A person exercises emotional intelligence when he assesses and expresses his own emotions, recognizes emotions in other people, and is motivated to adapt his behaviors accordingly.
Goleman (1995) drew from the work of Salovey & Mayer (1990) and other theorists to further describe what it means to be emotionally intelligent and he explained why emotional intelligence is an important dimension of human interactions. Goleman built part of his case on human physiology, describing the role of two parts of the brain: the thalamus and the amygdala. The amygdala serves as an emergency response mechanism through which signals are sent from the brain to other parts of the body before stimuli have been fully processed by the neocortex. These signals trigger emotional responses which can be determining factors in whether a person remains safe when confronted with physical danger (i.e. the fight or fight response) or whether he laughs or cries when told he has just been fired from his job. Goleman provided many examples of scenarios in which a person's emotional response to a situation can become more important that the person's cognitive ability. Fortunately for school leaders who want to gain these skills, Goleman concluded that the ability to assess and manage one's emotions in a given situation can be learned and improved.
Palmer (2003) further developed the conceptualization of emotional intelligence by applying a goodness of ft analysis to instruments that measure emotional intelligence. He found that no one instrument clearly emerged as a statistically good fit for conceptualizations of emotional intelligence. Palmer proposed a new taxonomy that included a dimension associated with leadership: Interpersonal Management, refering to the ability of someone to manage his own emotions and manage the emotions of others. The addition of the management dimension to previous conceptualizations of emotional intelligence further established the role that emotional intelligence plays in effective leadership.
Mills and Rouse (2009) stated, "That there is a moderately strong relationship between emotional intelligence an effective leadership" (p. 2). They conducted a meta-analysis to determine if a relationship exists between emotional intelligence and effective leadership. The results of the study suggested a moderately strong relationship between emotional intelligence effective leadership, r .383, p<.05.
Mills and Rouse also suggested that emotional intelligence is a concept that school leaders should assess for themselves and that it should be incorporated in the evaluation process. School leaders who understand their own emotional intelligence are able to lead and interact with others more effectively. Also, the researchers suggested that emotional intelligence be used as an assessment tool for those entering educational leadership preparation programs.
Stone, Parker, and Wood (2005) reported on the Ontario Principal's Council leadership study that explored the relationship between emotional intelligence and school leadership. The study examined emotional and social competencies of school leaders and considered the information as a guide for planning professional development activities. Stone, et al., considered three ratings from principals and assistant principals, both elementary and secondary, and male and female. The ratings were self-reported using the Emotional Quotient Inventory. Stone, et al., concluded that there was a significant relationship between emotional
intelligence and leadership, p<.001, as measured by these self assessments. When supervisors and staff assessed the skills of the principals and vice principals, however, Stone, et al., found that the relationship between emotional intelligence and leadership was not significant, p>.05. In summary, the researchers found it important to evaluate leadership using multiple raters to consider different perspectives of an individual's leadership ability.
In Moore's book, Inspire Motivate Collaborate: Leading with Emotional Intelligence (2009a), the author researched the importance of emotional intelligence and the influence it exerts on leadership. Pointing out that while not all people recognize emotional intelligence as a viable leadership skill, Moore argued that emotional intelligence influences relationships with parents and all stakeholders.
Moore (2009a) also discussed the impact emotional intelligence has on decision making for leaders. Reviewing the history of research previously conducted on emotional intelligence, Moore used the information to identify the areas of emotional intelligence that leaders should implement in their leadership. The importance of understanding not only one's own emotional intelligence but also the means by which a leader must manage and express those emotions were discussed at length in Moore's book.
By examining the emotional intelligence of staff members and determining effective ways to manage environments that are influenced by emotional intelligence, leaders can create cooperative learning situations that will benefit students (Moore, 2009a). According to Moore, emotional intelligence is not stagnant, but rather something that can be improved and learned. By posing case studies, suggesting thought-provoking questions, and offering suggestions on the ways leaders might improve their emotional intelligence, readers were guided towards these opportunities.
Designed to be a training book for building professional learning communities that are geared towards school improvement, Moore (2009a) presented the rationale for accepting emotional intelligence as a necessary skill for leaders, and he provides the techniques to recognize, to implement and to improve those emotional skills.