The relationship between the emotional intelligence of the principal and teacher job satisfaction

John B Craig, University of Pennsylvania


Understanding the relationship between the principal's emotional intelligence and teacher job satisfaction is the main focus of this exploratory study. The variables of emotional intelligence and teacher job satisfaction have been studied independently and are both very well researched and documented. This study takes the works of Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee (2004; Boyatzis & McKee, 2005) as the framework for understanding emotional intelligence, specifically considering competencies related to self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Highly effective principals are emotionally intelligent and have satisfied teachers. Emotionally intelligent principals are those who are attuned to their own and others' emotions. They are also adept at managing their emotions and those of others and building positive relationships. Teacher job satisfaction is defined as "an affective response to one's job as a whole or to particular facets of it" (Cooley & Yovanoff, 1996, p. 341). Three public school principals were interviewed using a critical incident protocol and teachers from those three schools were asked to complete Section VII of the Schools and Staffing Survey (National Center for Education Statistics, 2005). The survey measured teacher job satisfaction, while the responses to the principal interviews were coded for behaviors that correspond to fundamental competencies of emotional intelligence as defined by Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee in Primal Leadership (2004) and Resonant Leadership (2005). This study found a positive relationship between the competencies related to emotional intelligence demonstrated by the principal and teacher job satisfaction. Each principal exhibited the following competencies of emotional intelligence: Optimism, Emotional Self-Awareness, Empathy, and Achievement Orientation. These are fundamental competencies of emotional intelligence which create resonance in the school. Much research has been conducted about leaders who create resonance in their organizations and how successful those organizations are. Part of this success is because the workers are satisfied. Thus, it is incumbent upon principals to cultivate the kind of relationships with their teachers that will be meaningful and that can be sustained even when there are disagreements and/or other moments of angst between the teacher(s) and principal.

Subject Area

School administration|Special education

Recommended Citation

Craig, John B, "The relationship between the emotional intelligence of the principal and teacher job satisfaction" (2008). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3310476.