The Impact of School Senior Leadership Team (SLT) Emotional Intelligence on Teachers’ Professional Development Programs and School Performance in the UAE

School education leadership is at a critical juncture. Despite consensus on the urgent need for leadership in transforming the educational environment, there is a clear lack of insight on the single most fundamental leadership trait to consolidate leadership qualities and catalyse overall school performance. In the existing literature outlook, a credible research gap exists on the contribution of leadership emotional intelligence to the professional development of teachers within the educational context. Focusing on the Abu Dhabi Emirate, the overall quality of education revealed through PISA and TIMSS results indicate key performance gaps. The aim of the present study was, therefore, to critically examine the impact of senior leadership team (SLT) emotional intelligence on teachers’ professional development and performance in Abu Dhabi private schools. Among the existing theories reviewed, the study builds on the collegial perspectives to educational leadership model. As part of the study methodology, a positivist-objectivist philosophical orientation is considered in a quantitative research study. The survey research strategy was employed focusing on a sample of 132 private schools within the Abu Dhabi Emirate, proportional to the three educational zones within the Emirate. Considering this sample, 107 eligible responses received and analysed. Results revealed that school leadership team emotional intelligence has a significant effect on teachers’ professional development; this is true for the interpersonal relationship (β = .367, p < 0.01), and the ability of school leadership team to adapt to situations based on existing demands (β = .224, p < 0.01). For the second hypothesis, school leadership team emotional intelligence has a significant effect on the performance of school teachers; this is true for intrapersonal relationship within leadership team members (β = .236, p < 0.01), interpersonal relationship with teaching staff (β = .393, p < 0.01), and ability to adapt to existing situations (β = .134, p < 0.01). For the third hypothesis, teachers’ professional development also has a significant effect on the performance of schools; this is true for the improvement of teaching experiences (β = .210, p < 0.05), self-critical evaluation of teachers (β = .139, p < 0.05), and formal integration of professional development into the teacher’s job description (β = .255, p < 0.01). For the fourth and final hypothesis, ADEK performance rating does not moderate the contribution of school leadership team emotional intelligence to teacher’s professional development. It is recommended that extra effort is directed at improving the overall emotional intelligence of the school leadership team. In addition, teachers’ professional development must be employed as an integral aspect of the teachers’ job descriptions, without the need to introduce additional reforms into the sector. It is also recommended that future academic researchers investigate the fundamental role of emotional intelligence in the school performance context.
leadership, emotional intelligence, teacher’s professional development, United Arab Emirates (UAE), school performance