Title : The impact of emotional intelligence to dental undergraduates' leadership behaviour
Leadership, the art of motivating oneself and others towards achieving a common goal, is an inseparable part of dentistry and has been proven essential in all aspects of dentistry where a dentist is obliged to work in an organized medium dealing with different personnel. Leadership skills are crucial for dental students as they will be a part of a dental organization in the future which will be involved in organizing and delivering dental healthcare system. Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to understand, utilize and manage emotions in positive ways may highly influence the self-leadership (SL) level among dental undergraduates. Understanding the association of EI level among dental undergraduates with their leadership behavior is a new aspect that is explored in this study and can be useful to prepare dental training that supports leadership quality development among future dentists. The aim of this study is to find the influence of EI on dental undergraduates’ leadership behaviour and to assess the significance of the demographic factors (e.g. university of study, level of academic study and gender) on the students’ leadership behaviour. This study was conducted cross-sectionally among dental undergraduates in Malaysia and Kurdistan. Dental students (N=236) participated in the study and answered two questionnaires; The Schutte-Self Report EI Test (SSEIT) and the Revised-Self Leadership Questionnaire (RSLQ). The results of this study demonstrate a significant correlation exists between EI and SL (p<0.01) with 37% of the variation in SL determined by EI. There was no statistically significant difference between the means of SL for all the universities and among the different levels of study. Females had better SL compared to males. In conclusion, most of the students in all three universities demonstrated moderate levels of SL, thus intervention in academic curriculum or planning for training that will enhance leadership skill among dental undergraduates can be considered as a better preparation for them to become future dentists with competency in both patient care as well as managing dental services. In line with this, it is important to understand that EI has an essential role in the development of leadership skill among dental undergraduates.