Identification of Relationships between Emotional Intelligence Skill & Critical Thinking Disposition in Undergraduate Leadership Students

Engaging students emotionally is the key to strengthening their dispositions toward critical thinking. Elder (1997) contends that it is critical thinking which leads us to a rational and reasonable emotional life. The link between thinking and emotions is essential in leadership education. With this in mind, the researchers sought to examine the relationship between the skill sets of emotional intelligence (Developing Your Emotional Intelligence) and the dispositions of critical thinking (EMI). The researchers identified positive relationships ranging in magnitude from low to substantial. The overall skills associated with emotional intelligence showed positive moderate relationships with cognitive maturity, engagement, and innovativeness. In considering EMI critical thinking disposition scores and emotional intelligence, the relationship was substantially positive. The conclusions and recommendations encourage educators to take advantage of this relationship by providing students with experiences which elicit their emotional intelligence. In so doing there is opportunity to strengthen their disposition toward critical thinking.