Emotional Intelligence Optimizes Servant-Leaders' Implementation of DEI Initiatives

Emotional Intelligence Optimizes Servant-Leaders' Implementation of DEI Initiatives

Katherine L. Roe, Chris James Anderson
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-6684-5812-9.ch009
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Servant leadership is optimized through demonstrated emotional intelligence (EI), which increases the likelihood of implementing I-CORT to advance the learning for all mission. Absent of demonstrated EI and an I-CORT mindset, the efficacy of one's desire to present as a servant leader is adversely impacted. Therefore, institutes of higher education (IHE) should develop curriculum explicitly requiring educational leaders and teacher candidates to demonstrate emotional intelligence, promote professional learning communities, and consistently exhibit mindfulness based on intentionality, care, optimism, respect, and trust (I-CORT) to effectively implement diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
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How does Servant Leadership make a difference? Researchers found transformational models, including Servant Leadership, have guided educational leaders for several decades, specifically encouraging leaders to support organizational members in empowering ways (Davis, 2003; Farling, Stone & Winston, 1999; Spears, 2010). While both leadership models exhibit common characteristics, differences exist between the two. “Transformational leadership involves strong personal identification of followers with the leader” (Rosenbach & Taylor, 1998, p. 3). The transformational leader motivates “followers to perform beyond expectations by creating an awareness of the importance of designated outcomes…” (p. 3) whereby “all followers share values and beliefs and are able to transcend self-interest and tie the goal to the higher-order needs of self-esteem and self-actualization” (p. 3). As a result, followers create a mental image of the shared vision, converting shared goals into effective action. Transformational leadership calls for a transforming experience for the leader and for the follower.

By contrast, Servant Leaders are value-driven and character-driven. These qualities are typically exhibited through “increased service to others; a holistic approach to work; promoting a sense of community; and the sharing of power in decision-making” (Greenleaf, 1997, p. 4). Proponents of Servant Leadership emphasize collaboration and integrity, whereby communication and persuasion skills become extremely important (Smith, Montagno, & Kuzmenko, 2004). The Servant Leader aspires to see the follower move toward what Maslow described as self-actualization (1943). Therefore, what differentiates a Servant Leader from a transformational leader is the deep desire to pursue a preferred future from “the basis of humility, empathy, compassion, and commitment to ethical behavior” (Lad & Luechauer, 1998, p. 64). Effective leadership is less likely without the presence of high emotional intelligence and experiential components expressed within the tenets of Invitational Education (Anderson, 2016).

From the primary desire to serve, the Servant Leader wants to help his or her followers “grow healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and more likely themselves to become servants” (Greenleaf, 1977, pp.13-14). While the desire to serve is the primary motivation of the Servant Leader, the conscious choice to meet other people's highest priority needs ground any aspiration to lead (Greenleaf, 1977). Thus, Servant Leadership epitomizes a desire for social justice. Listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to growth of people, and building community are essential attributes of the Servant Leader (Spear, 2002). People with high emotional intelligence are more likely to exhibit these attributes (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009).

Key Terms in this Chapter

DEI Initiatives: Seek to address and mitigate the lack of access, empowerment, or fairness provided to populations that are unrepresented or marginalized in society or by an institution.

Professional Learning Community: In education, a group that focuses on student learning, creating a culture of collaboration, and exhibiting self-accountability.

Diversity: The presence of differences that may include race, gender, ethnicity, socio-economic status, nationality, disability, or age.

Servant Leadership: Creates the potential to inspire, guide, develop, and elevate the role of teachers as leaders.

Inclusion: From an outcome perspective, seeks to create a climate in which diversity is invited and participants feel welcomed.

Equity: Promotes justice and fairness in relation to the programs, processes, and allocation of societal or institutional resources.

Emotional Intelligence: Broadly categorized as self-awareness, self-management, and social awareness skills that impact relationship management. When effectively demonstrated, awareness of others' emotions, as well as being aware of one’s own feelings, is advantageous for the individual seeking to work well with groups.

School Climate: Perceptions and feelings experienced by stakeholders of a school, including students, teachers, parents, and staff.

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