Leadership is a social force that brings people together and inspires them to work hard to accomplish a task. People follow leaders not due to the power and authority they hold but because they are respected and trusted for their abilities and character. Leadership skills are not a set of technical talents that are quickly learned and put into practice. Instead, these are some traits that can only be formed over time with careful contemplation. Experts have been working for a long time to define and categorize the qualities that make up true leaders. The features of a leader might change based on the situation, the team, and the individuals themselves. However, it is certain that emotional intelligence and a desire to serve others are necessary for effective leadership.
Servant Leadership and Emotional Intelligence
The Importance of Servant Leadership
Effective leaders must be able to put others’ interests first. As an illustration, Fred Keller founded a $250 million plastic recycling business out of a willingness to help others (Daft, 2018, p. 178). He was not motivated by the egotistical desire to get wealthy but rather by the desire to improve the world. Keller is an illustration of a servant leader who prioritizes moral convictions over personal benefit. Servant leaders are able to put aside personal interests, consider the interests of others, develop civilization, and lead people. People share their leaders’ ideals because of their deep moral convictions and compassion. For that reason, Keller could expand his workforce from six to 1,000 (Daft, 2018, p. 178). Looking at Keller’s example, the issue of how to develop leadership skills, manage emotions, and learn to serve others emerges.
The Importance of Emotional Intelligence
Effective servant leadership is achieved through adequate management of emotions. In psychology, the concept is well-known as emotional intelligence. Understanding and regulating one’s own emotions as well as those of others are referred to as having emotional intelligence. A leader who is feeling down will project that feeling to others around them. Therefore, the leader’s primary responsibility is to develop their emotional literacy to keep peace and spiritual balance within the team. The listeners of an emotionally unintelligent leader become hostile to them and their personality, whereas the listeners of the emotionally intelligent leader are encouraged to be optimistic and even inspired to overcome obstacles. Gaining their followers’ trust is a skill that each effective leader must master. Leaders must understand that the task’s success correlates closely with the workforce’s emotional condition.
According to the meta-analysis, there is a strong correlation between emotional intelligence and servant leadership (Miao et al., 2021, p. 239). Since leaders are also humans, they occasionally struggle to control their impulses and keep others’ interests in mind. For instance, the director could scold a worker who makes a critical mistake. Aggression will have a detrimental impact on the employee’s well-being. Therefore, in order to avoid uncomfortable situations that will adversely affect performance, leaders need to increase their emotional intelligence. It does not mean that a leader should continually suppress their feelings. Research shows that managers who consistently repress their feelings are more likely to burn out and become less productive (Torrence & Connelly, 2019, p. 7). The company may implement servant leadership by providing employees with training in emotional intelligence competencies and abilities (Miao et al., 2021, p. 240). As a result, leaders become more sensitive to the feelings of others and exhibit a high degree of empathy, both of which are essential components of servant leadership.
The Influence of Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership on Leadership Performance
Emotionally intelligent leaders who employ the servant leadership style yield more advantageous outcomes. Research shows that leaders who exhibit servant leadership and strong emotional intelligence develop collaborative leadership (Mukonoweshuro, 2016, p. 100). They excel in their leadership positions because they are modest yet persistent, assertive but sympathetic, and service-oriented. In addition, they are considerate of others’ needs and emotional states so that their team members may provide customers with excellent service (Mukonoweshuro, 2016, p. 101). As a result, leaders foster impressive results, create a pleasant work environment, and contribute to society. Therefore, emotional intelligence and servant leadership are crucial to the business’s success.
The Necessary Aspects of Emotional Intelligence in Achieving Servant Leadership
As already stated, developing emotional intelligence is necessary for becoming a servant leader. The four elements of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and social management (Daft, 2018, p. 150). I typically can comprehend the needs and concerns of others and devise a course of action in their interest. However, I occasionally struggle with understanding myself, controlling my actions, and regulating my behavior. Therefore, in order for me to acquire emotional intelligence, I must become more self-aware and learn to manage my conduct.
Understanding one’s fundamental needs, thoughts, feelings, motivations, instincts, experiences, and behaviors is known as self-awareness. Three essential components of self-awareness are emotional awareness, accurate self-evaluation, and self-assurance (Serrat, 2017). First, I must learn to comprehend how I feel and why in order to develop emotional awareness. I must then try to comprehend how my emotions influence my behavior. I need to know which emotions are beneficial for me and which are harmful. Second, I need to be able to evaluate myself objectively. I need to be mindful of my behaviors, as well as my strengths and flaws. I must also learn from my failures and deal with them appropriately. Third, I need to be persistent, tough, and self-confident. By developing these qualities in myself, I can become more self-aware.
To develop emotional intelligence, I must also develop self-management skills in addition to self-awareness. First, it is critical to manage impulsive feelings and disturbing emotions, maintain composure, positivity, and unflappability even under tough circumstances, and think clearly and maintain attention under pressure. Second, I must always act ethically, earn people’s confidence by being trustworthy and genuine, stand up to my mistakes, address others’ unethical behavior, and take courageous, principled positions, even if they are unpopular. Thirdly, I need to be able to fulfill commitments and keep promises, hold myself responsible for goal accomplishment, and arrange my work properly. Fourth, I need to develop the skills necessary to handle conflicting demands, adjust priorities, and modify my answers and strategies to suit changing conditions. Fifth, I need to be able to find new ideas from a range of sources, consider creative solutions to issues, come up with new ideas, and adopt novel viewpoints and risks in my thinking (Serrat, 2017). I will develop self-management skills and be able to do my work much more effectively with this approach.
To sum up, emotional intelligence and servant leadership are vital aspects of successful leadership. Leaders with high emotional intelligence are able to comprehend their own needs and those of others. Emotional intelligence aids in developing servant leadership, which prioritizes the needs of others ahead of the interests of the leader. Servant leadership and high emotional intelligence are essential to effective leadership since they provide better work outcomes. Personally, in order to develop emotional intelligence and practice servant leadership, I need to become more self-aware and better control my conduct.
Daft, R. L. (2018). The leadership experience (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.
Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., & Qian, S. (2021). Emotional intelligence and servant leadership: A meta‐analytic review. Business Ethics, the Environment & Responsibility, 30(2), 231–243. Web.
Mukonoweshuro, J. Z., Sanangura, C., & Munapo, E. (2016). The role of servant leadership and emotional intelligence in managerial performance in a commercial banking sector in Zimbabwe. Banks and Bank Systems, 11(3), 94-108. Web.
Serrat, O. (2017). Understanding and developing emotional intelligence. Knowledge Solutions, 329–339. Web.
Torrence, B. S., & Connelly, S. (2019). Emotion regulation tendencies and leadership performance: An examination of cognitive and behavioral regulation strategies. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. Web.