Emotions, Physical Education Leadership in Schools, and the Quest for Authenticity
Effective leadership starts with a desire to make a difference, and equally requires the completion of a variety of duties that in turn elicit a range of emotions. This article reports on a research study that investigated key emotions experienced and reported by four Physical Education leaders. Leadership within secondary schools occurs mostly through carrying out the Head of Department or Head of Faculty role, both of which will normally involve overseeing the implementation of Physical Education, Health Education, and in many cases, Outdoor Education. Guided by pre-planned questions, the study involved conducting semi- structured interviews with four Physical Education Heads of Department. The data collected were analysed and interpreted using qualitative thematic data analysis. Two distinct themes revealed contrasting emotional experiences that were consistently reported by all four leaders. The results indicated that leaders experienced negative emotions elicited by professional tasks, but that they also experienced positive emotions when performing tasks that involved staff care. Leaders indicated how their preparation for, and implementation of activities fostering staff care, were important contributors to their job satisfaction. Through executing such deeds, the leaders showed their commitment to maintaining positive socio-professional relationships, and also reported behaviours consistent with high levels of Emotional Intelligence in conjunction with being motivated to develop staff both professionally and personally. The study found that leaders ‘live’ the curriculum as they believed that this was important in creating personal authenticity.