Σύντομη βιογραφία της συγγραφέως
Κριτικές του άρθρου
ISSN : 2241-4665
Ημερομηνία έκδοσης: Αθήνα 12 Νοεμβρίου 2019
«Η συναισθηματική νοημοσύνη στο εργασιακό περιβάλλον του νηπιαγωγείου: Το σύγχρονο επαγγελματικό προφίλ των προϊσταμένων νηπιαγωγείων»
Συντονίστρια Εκπαιδευτικού Έργου Νηπιαγωγών, MSc Επιστημών Αγωγής, Μοντέλα Σχεδιασμού και Ανάπτυξης Εκπαιδευτικών Μονάδων
“Emotional intelligence in kindergarten's working environment: The modern professional profile of headmasters”
Coordinator Educational Work, MSc Education Studies, Models of Design and Development of Educational Units
Σκοπός του παρόντος άρθρου είναι η παρουσίαση της σημαντικότητας της συναισθηματικής νοημοσύνης στον εργασιακό χώρο του νηπιαγωγείου και η ανάδειξη της αναγκαιότητας ενός σύγχρονου επαγγελματικού προφίλ των προϊσταμένων των νηπιαγωγείων. Πρόκειται για μια βιβλιογραφική διερεύνηση που καταδεικνύει την αναγκαιότητα της πρακτικής εφαρμογής των θεωρητικών δεδομένων και τεκμηριωμένων προσεγγίσεων της θετικής οργανωσιακής συμπεριφοράς των αρχών της σύγχρονης εκπαιδευτικής διοίκησης. Στο πρώτο μέρος του άρθρου αναφέρονται οι βασικές θεωρητικές έννοιες που σχετίζονται με τη συναισθηματική νοημοσύνη στον εργασιακό χώρο της εκπαίδευσης. Εν συνεχεία, παρουσιάζονται τα οφέλη της συναισθηματικής νοημοσύνης και η αναγκαιότητα καλλιέργειάς της στο εκπαιδευτικό εργασιακό πλαίσιο του νηπιαγωγείου με στόχο τη βελτίωση της ποιότητας και αποτελεσματικότητας της σχολικής μονάδας, καθώς και τη διαμόρφωση θετικής κουλτούρας. Η σημαντικότητα του άρθρου εντοπίζεται στη διατύπωση συγκεκριμένων προτάσεων αναπλαισίωσης και επαναπροσδιορισμού του επαγγελματικού προφίλ των προϊσταμένων των νηπιαγωγείων που καλούνται να επιτελέσουν ένα πολυεπίπεδο και πολυσήμαντο έργο πολλαπλών αναγκών και απαιτήσεων ως επαγγελματίες της διοίκησης της εκπαίδευσης. Η αναγκαιότητα αυτή απαιτεί μια μετασχηματιστική προσέγγιση του ρόλου τους με σκοπό τη συναισθηματική ενδυνάμωση καθώς και την ενδυνάμωση της σχολικής μονάδας.
The purpose of this article is to present the importance of emotional intelligence in kindergarten`s working environment and to highlight the contemporary professional profile of the heads of kindergartens. This is a bibliographic investigation that demonstrates the necessity of practical application of the theoretical data and documented approaches of the positive organizational behavior of the principles of modern educational administration. In the first part of the article are mentioned the basic theoretical concepts related to emotional intelligence in the workplace of education. It then presents the benefits of emotional intelligence and the necessity of cultivating it in the educational context with the aim of improving the quality and efficiency of the school unit, as well as the formation of a positive culture. The importance of the article is reflected in the formulation of specific proposals for redefinition of the professional profile of the heads of kindergartens who are called upon to carry out a multilevel and multifaceted project of multiple needs and requirements as professionals in the administration of education. This necessity requires a transformative approach to the new role in terms of emotional empowerment as well as empowerment of the school unit.
The factor of emotional intelligence plays an important role in the development of relationships in a modern work environment (Cooper & Sawaf, 1996). Special emphasis has been given to leadership and the importance of integrating the emotional factor into all forms and levels of management (Mills & Rouse, 2009). Since education management is concerned with issues of educational leadership and human resources, it assesses interpersonal management, and therefore attempts to study the relationships between education executives and teachers.
Especially in kindergartens, supervisors have to manage a range and volume of unique situations in particularly tight time frames and in unpredictable times, which can often lead to confusion, insecurity, stress or even exhaustion. Managing them requires high levels of emotional intelligence. Understanding the emotional reality of the organization and mobilizing it is vital to the effectiveness of any management (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002). The importance of human emotions and meaningful communication among school unit members, with emphasis on the human factor, therefore needs to be highlighted.
This article examines all those features of emotional intelligence that successfully describe the modern professional profile of headteachers according to transformational leadership models and that are structurally judged as interfacing, interacting, cohesive, positive and humorous (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995) for the purpose of its empowerment and effective functioning (Passiardis & Passiardis, 2000).
1. The concept of emotional intelligence
Investigating the emotional aspects of the human mind confirms that emotions and intelligence are inherent in one's professional life (Ashforth & Humphrey, 1995), supporting the understanding of the consequences of one's behavior and adapting to one's environment and enhancing human capital. Although it is difficult to give a precise definition of a common understanding of the concept of emotional intelligence as it deals with emotional space, there is nevertheless an overlap of scientific views regarding the different management of interpersonal and interpersonal emotional information (Petrides & Furnham, 2003).
The first use of the term is credited to Payne (1986), but its roots can be traced back to the Darwin era (1872) where the characteristics of emotional expression and social behavior are explored. Since the 1990s, several researchers have dealt with the notion of emotional intelligence (Bar-On, 1997· Martinez, 1997· Orioli, 1997· Petrides & Furnham, 2001) and how it can affect both personal and personal intelligence. the career path of an individual (Salovey & Mayer, 1997), when many theoretical models of conceptual approach were developed. Emotional intelligence is distinct as it can be isolated in the personality domain and complex as it is partially determined by different personality dimensions (Petrides & Furnham, 2000). It encompasses a person's specific abilities, attributes and characteristics and relates emotional to social intelligence. Each model measures the value of emotion as well as difficult measurable concepts associated with it (e.g. self-knowledge, self-management, self-activation, empathy, adaptability, etc.).
According to Salovey and Mayer (1997), emotional intelligence is the set of skills that determine the fluctuation of precision in the way people perceive, understand, and regulate their emotions. Bar-On (1997) interlinks emotional and social intelligence by constructing a mixed model by which emotional intelligence is defined as a domain of personal, emotional, and social skills and competences that influences the ability of each individual to achieve demands and pressures of its environment. According to Goleman, emotional intelligence is defined as one's ability to recognize one's own emotions and the emotions of others, to manage them effectively and to motivate oneself for efficiency and good performance (Goleman, 1995, 1998 ). The model of emotional intelligence he created emphasizes the importance of achieving a positive climate and good interpersonal relationships in the workplace through a combination of skills such as self-control, self-awareness, credibility, social skills as well as bonding and managing diversity. Orioli (1997) delineates the concept of emotional intelligence in a context of smart tactics to ensure calm in situations of stress, confidence in interpersonal relationships, and creativity in the development of others.
Goleman's model, as a more complete one, classifies emotional intelligence abilities into two major categories, personal ability and social ability. Personal ability refers to one's ability to feel and regulate one's inner emotional processes including concepts such as self-awareness and self-regulation, as well as behavioral motivations. These relate mainly to his social awareness, in which he perceives the feelings of others, showing similar interest in them (Goleman, 2000). That is, the leaders' self-awareness, to better recognize their emotions in decision making (emotional awareness).
In addition, it refers to the factors of adaptability and initiative, with which the leader controls emotions and copes with the various situations that arise, taking advantage of the opportunities presented to him. This is complemented by the self-control capability it can develop (Kafetsios & Zampetakis, 2008), with good control over its impulses. Undoubtedly, in order to be successful, a leader must know the emotions and behaviors of his/her subordinates, while at the same time enhancing the educational work (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2014) creatively and innovatively. It also needs to be aligned with the goals of the team, to show optimism and perseverance in pursuing the goals despite the obstacles and difficulties.
Social competence determines how well one handles their relationships and is capable of provoking others the reactions they want. Concepts such as influence, communication, disagreement management and the cultivation of bonds, partnerships and cooperation, and the creation of group cohesion are considered to be particularly important.
1.1. The importance of emotional intelligence in the kindergarten workplace
Recognition and regulation of emotions in the workplace are extremely important as these processes appear to determine employees' thoughts, attitudes, and behavior (Weiss & Cropanzano, 1996) and management (Goleman, 2011a), and are closely linked to the degree of job satisfaction (Gross & John, 2003) and the way in which subordinates perceive the authenticity of leadership (Mitchie & Gooty, 2005) and influence collaboration, constituting a coherent link between members of the educational organization. Recognition of the value of emotions from the perspective of effective self and others management (Kafetsios, 2003) is a regulatory factor in employees' professional performance (Goleman, 2000· O` Boyle et al., 2011) and on group effectiveness (Farh et al., 2012).
Kindergarten as a social system (Hoy & Miskel, 2001) is the ideal environment for the cultivation of emotional intelligence skills as it requires detailed and careful manipulation at the level of decision making, conflict management, promoting justice and trust, empowering and nurturing active participation, choosing learning methods and tools, and cultivating values. Undoubtedly, for supervisors and teachers, developing skills that focus on the ability to distinguish, recognize and manage emotions (their own and others') (Platsidou, 2010) is a challenge as well, in the context of their role, they must know how to "carry out work on an emotional and conceptual level" (Heifetz & Linsky, 2002:116).
The demanding management of diverse and complex needs in the working environment of the kindergarten presupposes the strong presence of an effective person to lead. A number of difficulties emotionally weaken the bosses and push them to a simple management address with possible administrative errors or omissions.
A major difficulty relates to the obligation within the working hours of the simultaneous execution of teaching and administrative tasks in conjunction with the increase in administrative requirements. The time deficiency parameter combined with the simultaneous actions of increased and varied demands are a source of stress, anxiety and emotional exhaustion (Hochschild, 1983). Completion of obligations is disrupted or interrupted and often becomes uninterrupted. Often, principals extend their time in the school environment beyond their working hours to fully perform their administrative tasks (Argyropoulou, 2007) without support. This has an impact on their performance as their enthusiasm for work diminishes and they do their best. The excitement depends on the emotion and its management in order to keep it alive, active and thriving. It should be remembered that the feeling of activation and excitement about the educational framework provided and the quality of the educational work through emotional transmissibility (Newcombe & Ashkanasy, 2002) is reinforcing.
At the same time, the existence of small associations of teachers creates a malfunction at the level of communication, sharing of responsibilities and decision making. The development of interpersonal transactional relationships within the members of the association is a parameter to be explored. The organizational climate in the school environment with the harmonious coupling of the human factor and the goals that the system is trying to fulfill is also a point of interest attributed to the kindergarten supervisor. Culture reflects the culture of the kindergarten and is reflected in the school environment where assumptions related to human nature, human relationships, human values and emotions are outlined.
Frequent transfers of kindergarteners due to transfers and secondments are forcing continuous changes that are likely to adversely affect the continuity of kindergarten management. Discontinuity has been a deterrent to the creation of strong coherent links between teachers, and possibly to the relevance of expectations. Opportunities for quality feedback are limited and balances are fluid. This reality alienates the school unit from a positive sign in the consciousness of the education system and the principal is tasked with an extremely difficult task.
Such conditions obviously contribute to the denial or disengagement of kindergarten teachers (Argyropoulou, 2007) by developing negative emotions in their work environment. However, positive workplace emotion is a key factor in organizational behavior (Wright & Staw, 1999) and its role in the leadership process is important and fundamental (Barsade et al., 2003· George, 2000· Humphrey, 2002). Nursery supervisors are the main drivers of their effectiveness. In particular, emotional intelligence and emotion regulation of bosses and teachers are the independent variables, whereas job satisfaction, positive and negative feelings at work, and the relationship that develop through the interaction of existing teachers and managers, areas of work experience. At the same time, group cohesion is controlled, as a mediating variable, on the effect of the above characteristics on the dependent.
1.2. Emotional intelligence and educational leadership
The leader is defined by a network of behaviors that he uses, through a sense of mission and vision for the organization, in order to achieve the goals he has set, by influencing the behavior of his subordinates (Passiardis, 2004). Newer views of leadership focus on the emotional influence that the leader exerts on the team of subordinates, influencing their emotions, their perceptions, and therefore the behavior they adopt in the performance of their tasks. (Goleman, Boyatzis & McKee, 2002· Hoy & Miskel, 2005· Humphrey, 2002· Zaccaro, 2007). In short, the center of importance becomes the human being and in terms of the diffusion of purpose, vision, values, culture and less planning and control (Bourantas, 2005).
Leadership is based on the interaction and building healthy relationships and, therefore, has an impact and is interconnected with the behavior of all members of the organization. According to Goleman, Boyatzis and McKee (2014), it is important for the leader to have self-awareness, empathy, listening attentively, and being co-ordinated with his or her associates to bring out the best in themselves. Effective management starts with the employee's emotional duty, in addition to his or her conventional duties, to effectively delegate responsibilities, make the most of the time and talents of employees, and enhance their commitment. Marzano, Waters and McNulty, (2005) argue that, although educational and pedagogical knowledge are necessary for an effective educational leader, technical skills alone are not sufficient. Thus, the emotionally intelligent boss promotes visions that touch the passion of those involved, cultivates inspiration and belief in the mission of the kindergarten and, above all, knows how to persuade teachers that their job makes sense. This process of awakening, adhering to high goals, highlighting the diversity and diversity of team talents, focusing on collaboration, professional satisfaction, passion and trust among team members, is achieved through the ability of the educational leader:
· Establish common accepted rules.
· Enhance collective self-awareness, monitor and process emotional tone at school, helping to recognize individual disharmony and improve climate and culture.
· Facilitate the diffusion of positive emotions at school, emphasizing the cooperation and consensus of all involved.
On the basis of the above, the success of educational leaders relates to their ability to flexibly work with teachers to co-create a coherent school culture. Undoubtedly, it is important for leaders to develop a vision for the mission and goals of the school, inspiring and engaging all members of the school community (Bourantas, 2005· Papaloi, 2012). Such an attitude activates a sense of confidence, strengthens team spirit, cooperation, optimism, empathy, self-control and self-interest of the members, and leads to genuine behavior and genuine interest in the other. All of the above points are summarized in an "emotionally intelligent" leader with a modern professional transformational profile.
2. Adopting a mixed theoretical model of emotional intelligence in the context of transformational leadership
The theory of transformational leadership has been prominent in contemporary studies of leadership (Burns 1978), while being directly linked to emotional intelligence (Bass, 1985). Bass (2002), who correlated the cognitive, social, and emotional components of intelligence with transformational dimensions of leadership, demonstrated that these components of intelligence are useful in the effectiveness of transformational leadership. That is, it has been found that those who are established as successful and consistent leaders are those with basic social, emotional, behavioral, and cognitive abilities, in interpreting different occasions because they have extensive behavioral repertoire, so they can choose appropriate behavioral (Bass, 2002· Zaccaro, 2007). They are individuals with the ability to adapt their behavior and a high degree of influence and inspiration to their subordinates (Bass, 1990).
Research also confirms that applying transformational leadership (Bass, 1985· Bennis & Nannus, 1986· Kouzes & Posner, 1996· Tichy & Devanna, 1986) leads to team satisfaction and efficiency (De-Groot et al., 2000· Lowe et al., 1996· Srivastava & Bharamanaikar, 2004). Modern educational leaders must value diversity, social justice and interdependence (Eagly & Johnson, 1990). Thus, the nature of school leadership is changing and becoming more complex, less predictable, less structured and more entrusted with many responsibilities that are potentially summarized as follows:
1. Technical skills: They include the know-how and specialized training, but also their skills in relation to the teaching staff (realistic targeting, planning, consulting and guidance).
2. Interpersonal skills: They include the skills of organization, guidance, motivation, cooperation, communication and coordination.
3. Abstract Thinking and Conceptual Skills: They include the ability to perceive and understand the school unit as a whole with internal connection points (Koutouzis, 1999).
Taking into account the theoretical models of emotional intelligence mentioned above and the interconnection of emotional intelligence with transformational leadership, a mixed model of emotional intelligence within transformational leadership is proposed. This model promotes the anthropocentric element and emphasizes the variety and emergence of human emotions and effective communication with school staff.
A concise attempt to sketch the image of the educational leader who responds to this model is to take into account the political, educational and economic context in question and to take into account the scope for operational adjustment and self-improvement. With this clarification, the potential representative image of the transformational and emotionally intelligent leader is identified in the following interlinked dimensions: vision creation, goal formulation, intellectual stimulation, personalized support, creative modeling, visual modeling, productive school climate and the development of decision-making structures.
A key prerequisite, however, for reshaping the professional profile of kindergarten directors is the development of a dynamic exploration of the clarity of the mission of the kindergarten which is reflected in the daily practices of its members. Identifying the agreement between the values and practices applied and the outline of the kindergarten's emotional capacity are areas that need to be taken seriously.
When the kindergarten is directly confronted with its emotional reality, it experiences a sound re-examination of the practices that create and maintain this reality. The ability of the organization to identify its weaknesses by opening a dialogue with all involved gives it an important advantage and the ability for the organization to overcome difficulties and risks.
At the educational unit level, the educational leader's interest in creating an emotionally intelligent kindergarten should be focused on the kind of harmony that mobilizes individuals emotionally and mentally at a collective level, refreshing their interest and connecting them with their interest a vision of what they could be themselves.
Understanding the existing culture, operating rules and practices in kindergarten, as well as determining the ideal situation, can form the basis for its transformation into an emotionally intelligent organization. In particular, the systematic evaluation and evaluation of the emotional image presented by the school can be detected and quantified by qualitative and quantitative measuring tools through the process of dynamic inquiry (Goleman et al., 2014). The dynamic inquiry approach reveals the emotional reality of the school organization and addresses the inactivity of the school, involving team members (teachers, students, parents) and identifying:
a) What are the points of interest of teachers and students?
b) What are the tools for enhancing teachers and what is the content of their training needs?
c) How groups behave and how they should be organized.
d) What are the areas of support for the school unit?
e) What are the points to be removed?
It is a multi-faceted developmental process that goes through the individuals, groups and culture of the organization. It is the "roadmap" for changing the culture of the organization, with effective senior management commitment and effective involvement of all those involved in the implementation of the shared vision. According to Goleman, Boyatzis and KcKee, (2014), this process involves three phases:
· Discovering the existing emotional reality of the school unit in which the values of the group and the school organization are identified. The process includes discussions with teachers on concepts such as: culture, goal, needs, ambition to accelerate processes and commitment to strategy implementation.
· Creating the image of the 'ideal' school through the introspection of each member and evaluating their needs, values, aspirations and practices. Collective participation is essential, while the leader's role in coordinating and harmonizing the school unit is crucial, as well as adopting new behaviors and abandoning dysfunctional practices that do not exploit the human factor.
· Maintaining emotional intelligence in the school unit. It is achieved through support for the shared vision emanating from the consistent action of the educational leader and the creation of systems that support emotional intelligence practices (e.g. consolidation of healthy relationships, streamlining organizational processes, respect, training, participatory decision-making).
The visioning dimension is about effectively conveying the idea and mission of the school unit to the teaching staff, students and parents through the individual stigma of the school unit that is embedded in the consciousness of the wider community. The vision reflects the character that the school unit has developed, the productive culture it brings to the organization, and the particularities that differentiate it. It concerns a clearly formulated mission (Passiardis, 2004· Shaitis, 2005), but also the targeting of expectations by all stakeholders (Shoemaker & Fraser, 1981) for maximum effective operation (Robbins & Judge, 2011) and high performance.
According to Leithwood and Poplin (1992), transformational leadership leaders strive for the development and professional development of teachers, involved in improving the unit and defining its mission. They provide them with the right help to develop a professional culture, effectively and critically involved in resolving the various difficulties that arise through group discussions. Educators experiencing transformational leadership style are positively influenced by their commitment to behavior change, expectations, and motivation for high performance while cultivating their potential. The result is an increase in self-esteem and a progressive disposition towards a holistic approach to educational work with teamwork and a sense of mutual help (Leithwood & Jantzi, 2006) that support a common cause. Teamwork stems from a positive climate of meaningful relationships and communication in which positive feelings of empowerment and feedback develop. It is in fact cultivating a fertile ground for transformations for teachers and the leader himself (Bass & Avolio, 1993) who, by overcoming themselves, are professionally reshaping their role.
This refinement is built, inter alia, by the adoption of good practice modeling and the introduction of innovations (Huber, 2004). Innovation is an organizational change that encompasses a new idea and signifies a potential organizational intelligence that in any case is a driving force for school unit members to attach value and quality to the educational work.
This article, highlighting the objective difficulties that arise in the management of modern day nursery environments and, consequently, the possible expected administrative disadvantages of bosses, suggests the importance of emotional intelligence in these contemporary workplace educators and presenters. The reshaped role of the bosses is effectively supported by the combination of a mixed emotional intelligence model and the principles of transformational administration. In any case, emphasis and value is placed on human emotions and their management in the context of human relationships. Feelings in the workplace of the kindergarten construct a powerful conceptual construct of high importance both at the level of conflict management, as well as at the level of decision making and building strong professional relationships.
Cultivating positive organizational behaviors (Peterson & Seligman, 2004) in the school environment is important for teacher well-being and performance, school organization effectiveness (Judge & Ilies, 2004) and students' all-round development. Consequently, the development of basic IT skills in teachers is considered necessary as it enhances their sense of job satisfaction, active participation, motivation and professional development (Spreitzer et al., 1997).
Undoubtedly, this kind of approach to kindergarten as an emotionally intelligent organization and promoting positive organizational behavior is a difficult task and a challenge for educational leadership. However, it is important that emotionally intelligent executives invest in the creation of a strong value system that will act as a catalyst for change and empowerment of organizational culture (Luthans & Avolio, 2003). At the same time, emphasis should be placed on the coordination and mobilization of individuals on an emotional, intellectual and collective level through the process of dynamic inquiry that reveals the emotional reality of the kindergarten and can serve as the basis for change and transformation emotionally intelligent school unit.
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