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Downloadable: Tips to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence

By Evie Blad — November 06, 2023 1 min read
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The concept of emotional intelligence—the ability to understand, perceive, and manage emotions—is key to effective leadership, principals and district administrators say.

The idea swept through board rooms of large companies in the 1990s after psychologist Daniel Goleman wrote a massively popular book called Emotional Intelligence. For school and district leaders, such strengths are necessary to build healthy relationships with teachers, parents, and students, and to weather the emotional demands of leading in public. And, after a few years of uncertainty and anxiety caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, leaders told Education Week they have seen the value of such interpersonal strengths more than ever before.

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A woman sits alongside students in rows of classroom desks. She raises her hand alongside several students as if they are ready to answer a question.
Suzan Harris, principal of Henderson Middle School, makes her morning rounds greeting students and speaking to teachers at the school in Jackson, Ga., on Oct. 16, 2023.
Dustin Chambers for Education Week

Researchers use varying definitions to explain emotional intelligence, but they often center on skills that closely mirror those that schools emphasize with students through social-emotional learning. Emotional intelligence is not a set of fixed traits or a skill to be mastered, but an ongoing process of improvement, school and district leaders said.

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SOURCE: Education Week | Icons: via Getty

A version of this article appeared in the November 15, 2023 edition of Education Week as Tips to Improve Your Emotional Intelligence


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