Many schools are taking the initiative to incorporate social-emotional learning (SEL) in the classroom. This helps their students acquire the capacity to understand, experience, express, and manage their emotions in a healthy way. Developing key social-emotional skills provides a firm foundation of emotional intelligence for students to build upon. But what about school administrators, teachers, and staff? The education sector is a highly interpersonal nature of work, making it crucial for school staff to cultivate emotional intelligence. Having strong social-emotional skills helps school leaders foster stronger relationships with students and parents and allows them to lead their staff effectively. Here’s how developing four emotional intelligence competencies can make you a better leader.  

#1: Self-Awareness

Self-awareness in the context of emotional intelligence is the ability to understand our emotions and their impact on our performance and others (Goleman, 1995). Understanding your own emotions through introspection can make you a more proactive, productive, and positive leader. By acknowledging your emotions, you allow yourself the opportunity to recognize what triggers certain emotions and take appropriate action as needed. As a school leader, you can more effectively accomplish your work as you notice the impact your emotions have on your performance and others around you. 

#2: Social Awareness

Social awareness concerns our ability to empathize, understand others’ emotions, and use this to better relate to them (Goleman, 1995). Educators and school leaders face the challenge of understanding the emotions of colleagues and parents as well as the emotions of children and teens. Empathy is a key component to a good leader as it allows them to be open-minded, see the world from more than one perspective, and be service-oriented. Being able to relate to your staff, students, and parents through social awareness leads to more creative thinking and problem solving, healthier relationships, and a kinder school environment. Leading with empathy makes others feel understood, and in turn, builds a stronger school community.

#3: Self-Management

Self-Management is the ability to think before you act in decision-making and gain control of disruptive impulses (Goleman, 1995). School leaders have an important role as decision-makers. Their choices whether big or small often impact staff, students, and parents. While you may strive to make all your decisions thoughtful, some things do have to be resolved on the spot. That added pressure can be detrimental to the outcome, as it may result in impulsive decisions. The skill of self-management is crucial to preventing this. Developing self-management allows you to gain clarity before making decisions, so they can result in satisfaction for all parties, and ultimately lead to student success. This skill is beneficial for day-to-day interactions as well. Strengthening self-management helps you remain calm and rational when dealing with a disgruntled staff member or misbehaved student.

#4: Relationship Management

Relationship management has to do with the ability to establish a strong rapport with others to influence their emotions in positive ways and build good relationships (Goleman, 1995). It’s nearly impossible to lead effectively without the foundations of healthy relations. By building wholesome connections with members of your school community, you are simultaneously improving your ability to attract support from others, a crucial component in leading a school. Relationship management is also tied to improving conflict management, teamwork, influence, and collaboration. By developing relationship management skills, you are actively committed to building a unified school community, increasing job satisfaction, and demonstrating key relational skills to students. The ability to influence others positively can directly translate into the classroom and consequently improve student-teacher relations as well. 

Leading with self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and relationship management sets yourself and your staff up to cultivate a cohesive school community. At its core, education is about building up students to be future leaders. As you equip students with the tools they need to be successful, Schola provides your school with the tools you need to also succeed. Schola helps you attract student leads, increase engagement, boost retention, and ace your enrollment goals, freeing up time and resources that can be refocused on students. Together, let’s build strong future leaders. 

References: Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. Bantam Books.