Educational leadership plays a significant role in school success, which it is said to achieve through its effects on teachers’ emotions, attitudes, and behaviours. However, the knowledge of how school leaders influence teachers’ emotions is greatly limited. Most existing evidence focuses on general explanations that are not the result of controlled research designs, which is why we lack solid operative knowledge on principals’ emotional support of teachers in emotional distress. The present study seeks to address this lacuna. Our approach focuses on interpersonal communication aimed at expanding the operative knowledge about emotionally supportive communication in principal-teacher relations. The study is based on the experimental vignette method, which makes it possible to infer causality. The data were collected using a sample of 113 primary school teachers. The study found that principals’ empathic listening is associated with greater attributed emotional reframing (i.e., positive emotional change), irrespective of the message that principals communicate; however it is only the presence of reframing message, whether empowering or normalising, that influences the actual reframing of negative affect.


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