Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors' Emotional Intelligence and Its Relationship to Leadership

Academic journal article Professional School Counseling

School Counselors' Emotional Intelligence and Its Relationship to Leadership

Article excerpt

Leadership is a vital skill set for school counselors (American School Counselor Association [ASCA], 2012; A. Young & MillerKneale, 2013). School counselor leadership is defined by the ASCA National Model (ASCA, 2012) as the "capacity or ability to guide others" (p. 142). School counselors use their leadership skills to advocate with and on behalf of students and lead the management of their counseling program (ASCA, 2012). Tasks associated with school counseling leadership vary (A. Young, Dollarhide, & Baughman, 2015) ranging from serving as accountability leaders (Sink, 2009) to advocating with and on behalf of students (Bemak & Chung, 2005; Ratts, DeKruyf, & Chen-Hayes, 2007) and facilitating school-wide screenings for mental health concerns (Erickson, 2013). Leadership practices of school counselors are also tied to greater implementation of school counseling programs (Mason, 2010; Shillingford & Lambie, 2010). Furthermore, school counselors have an ethical responsibility to "provide leadership to create systemic change to enhance the school" (ASCA, 2016, p. 6) and that requires leadership skills to navigate the myriad challenges that school counselors face.

Leadership clearly is an important aspect of school counseling; thus, research examining school counselors' leadership qualities is important. A construct that has emerged in interdisciplinary research on leadership is emotional intelligence (EI). Dollarhide (2003) suggested that effective school counseling leaders understand and work within structural, human resource, political, and symbolic leadership contexts, and EI might help them navigate those settings. Salovey and Mayer (1990) describe EI as the "ability to monitor one's own and other's feelings and emotions, to discriminate among them and to use this information to guide one's thinking and actions" (p. 189). Mayer and Salovey (1997) argued that EI is a set of affective processing capabilities in which greater EI leads to improved ability to interact with others in social situations. Likely due to this relationship between EI and advanced socioemotional functioning, authors have suggested that EI is positively related to various leader attributes such as self-leadership (Houghton, Wu, Godwin, Neck, & Manz, 2012), team performance (Jordan & Troth, 2004), leader self-efficacy (Harper, 2016), and job performance (Joseph, Jin, Newman, & O'Boyle, 2015). Scholars have noted significant implications for counselors in the emerging literature on EI (Constantine & Gainor, 2001; Gutierrez & Mullen, 2016; Gutierrez, Mullen, & Fox, 2017; Martin, Easton, Wilson, Takemoto, & Sullivan, 2004). Therefore, the purpose of this article is to provide a literature review on EI and present findings from a study that explored the relationship between school counselors' EI, demographic qualities, leadership self-efficacy (LSE), self-leadership, and leadership experience.

EI

Authors have argued that two distinct forms of EI exist: trait EI and ability EI (Petrides & Furnham, 2000a, 2000b, 2001). Trait EI, also referred to as emotional self-efficacy, is "a constellation of behavioral dispositions and self-perceptions concerning one's ability to recognize, process, and utilize emotion-laden information" (Petrides, Frederickson, & Furnham, 2004, p. 278). Ability EI, also known as cognitive-emotional ability, is "one's actual ability to recognize, process, and utilize emotion-laden information" (Petrides et al., 2004, p. 278). In other words, trait EI includes one's personality dispositions (e.g., empathy), whereas ability EI consists of one's capacity (e.g., actual ability) to recognize, understand, manage, and integrate emotions into thinking. Ability EI is based on performance and should be measured with maximum performance or achievement testing, whereas trait EI is based on disposition or self-efficacy and should be measured with self-report (Brackett et al. …

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