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Is there a place for emotions within leadership preparation programmes?

Michèle J. Schmidt (Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)

Journal of Educational Administration

ISSN: 0957-8234

Article publication date: 17 August 2010




The purpose of this paper is to present the argument that leadership preparation programmes in the new millennium should be required to train school leaders emotionally as well as cognitively. A number of scholars have stressed that leaders are increasingly working within roles that are politically sensitive, conflicted and complex, resulting in role anxiety, emotional stress, and professional burnout. Principals and vice‐principals are frustrated because they are being forced to manage the marketplace, curriculum change, and governance factors with an increased emphasis on accountability, marketability, and globalisation, often at the expense of their primary role as educators.


Such a discussion is framed within a sociological perspective of emotions and presents the importance of acknowledging the primacy of school leaders' emotions in leadership preparation programs.


Sociological aspects of emotions are examined within a context of the globalisation, marketisation, and accountability confronting Western education and their implications for extant leadership preparation programs; the latent influences of these broader issues; and, more specifically, their effect on the emotions of leaders within a context unique to Western Canada. Recommendations for what apotropaic the role of leadership preparation programmes should play in shielding leaders from being overwhelmed from within a changing educational landscape are also discussed.


An examination of the emotions of school leaders and the importance of acknowledging their emotions within preparation programmes remains an understudied topic in the field of education.



Schmidt, M.J. (2010), "Is there a place for emotions within leadership preparation programmes?", Journal of Educational Administration, Vol. 48 No. 5, pp. 626-641.



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Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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