The Social Awareness Facet Leadership and Education

The Social Awareness Facet Leadership and Education

Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8327-3.ch014
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Abstract

The purpose of this chapter is to ascertain how leaders promote the social awareness facet in their leadership by using Leader-Member Exchanges (LMX), having good communication skills, and engaging in teamwork. In addition, this chapter also establishes how educators use the social awareness facet in their classrooms by advising their students, having good communication skills, and ensuring that they have high quality LMX exchanges with their students. Finally, this chapter also gives creditability to the paradigms of those who do not support the promotion of the social awareness facet in leadership and education.
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Introduction

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve. -J. R. R. Tolkien

No matter how much you try to avoid it, you will inevitably interact with other people, whether online or in person, and therefore, it is virtually impossible to live in modern society and not interact with others. Increased globalization and improved Internet technologies have brought the world closer than ever before, and this interconnectivity will only increase in the future, thereby ensuring that the social awareness facet will become even more important than it is now.

Petrides (2009b) defines social awareness as individuals who are “accomplished networkers with superior social skills” (p. 5). Petrides (2001) continues his description by stating that individuals who are socially aware “have excellent social skills and are socially sensitive, adaptable, and perceptive. In addition, individuals with high levels of social awareness “are good at negotiating, brokering deals, and influencing others” (p. 3) because of their social prowess. Petrides (2009a) concludes his definition of social awareness by stating that socially aware individuals “tend to have control over their emotions and the manner in which they express them, which enables them to function confidently in diverse social contexts like parties or networking events” (p. 61).

Both leadership and education are inherently social (Goleman, 2005; Mortiboys, 2012; Powell & Kusuma-Powell, 2010), because at their foundation, both focus upon relationships. Therefore, it is because of the inherent sociability of leadership and education that this chapter will meet the following objectives:

  • Establish how leaders can promote the social awareness facet in their leadership by having high-quality Leader-Member Exchanges (LMX) with their followers, having good communication skills, and engaging in teamwork.

  • Examine how educators can promote the social awareness facet in their classrooms by advising their students, having good communication skills, and having high quality Leader-Member Exchanges (LMX) with their students.

  • Appreciate the paradigms of those scholars who do not support the promotion of the social awareness facet in leadership and education.

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Social Awareness In Leadership

According to noted psychologist Daniel Goleman, “Neuroscience has discovered that our brain’s very designs makes it sociable, inexorably drawn into an intimate brain-to-brain linkup whenever we engage with another person” (2006, p. 4). Each of us has seen examples of this firsthand, with proverbial social butterflies—individuals who can flit from societal niche to societal niche, fit in with everyone, they are friendly, warm, caring, and they can easily make and keep friends (Goleman, 2006). These individuals are extraverted, draw their energy from interacting with others, and are extremely comfortable in social situations (Goleman, 2006), because they are socially aware.

Since leadership is about creating and sustaining high-quality relationships with one’s followers (Kouzes & Posner, 2003), which requires both sociability and emotionality (Aristotle & Jowett, 1943; Khulood & Raed, 2007; Neuberg & Cottrell, 2008), it is of paramount importance that leaders promote the social awareness facet (Petrides, 2009b) in order to enhance the effectiveness of their leadership. Consequently, with support from the scholarly literature, the subsequent sections discuss how leaders can promote the social awareness facet of trait EI in their leadership by engaging in high quality (1) Leader-Member Exchanges (LMX), having good (2) communication skills, being able to perform and (3) teamwork. In addition, the subsequent sections will also explore (4) the barriers that leaders face when promoting the social awareness facet of trait EI, in order to give credence to the arguments of those who oppose the promotion of the social awareness facet when leading.

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