The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Community College Leadership
Freed, Curt Alan
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The study explores the role of emotional intelligence in community college leaders using a case study design with mixed-methods, including quantitative and qualitative data. Twenty-one leaders among three cases participated in the study, each completing the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test (MSCEIT) and participating in semi-structured interviews about how leaders use emotional intelligence to accomplish their work. Each case represents a single comprehensive community college in Washington or Oregon. Leaders included presidents, vice presidents, deans, and directors. The study addresses three research questions, including: How do community college leaders use emotional intelligence in their administrative duties? How does emotional intelligence shape organizational management and fulfillment of organizational objectives? What role does emotional intelligence have in leadership during challenging times? Findings identified several factors related to emotional intelligence and community college leaders. First, leaders often lacked knowledge of how they use emotional intelligence. Second, leaders with the highest emotional intelligence focused more on the teams and culture of the institution. Third, presidents were high in Strategic Area Ability on the MSCEIT instrument, suggesting presidents have a strong ability to understand and regulate emotions. Recommendations for future research include an exploration of the relationship between introvert/extrovert personality traits and emotional intelligence; further study on leadership effectiveness and emotional intelligence; and the impact of emotional intelligence among governing boards on community college leaders.