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Servant Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, and Leadership Performance

Considering the notion of leadership in the modern organizational culture, the meaning behind this term has undergone some drastic changes over the past decades. Previously, the idea of leadership was driven by the desire to achieve the maximum quality result in the shortest time possible. Whereas the overall productivity was boosted, such notions as employees’ job satisfaction and social culture within the team were explicitly overlooked by the leaders.

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As a result, the overall model of controlling employees became significantly outdated, and the workers were no more willing to be driven by the idea of success in isolation of other purely social aspects of employment (Dhiman, 2017). Hence, in order to bring the power of leadership back to life, the definition of leader was modified towards a holistic approach to management, encompassing the ideas of both professional and emotional fulfillment within the team. The primary purpose of the following paper is to identify the patterns of correlation between such leadership aspects as servant leadership, emotional intelligence, and leadership performance.

In order to reach an exhaustive conclusion, it is of paramount importance to identify the definitions of the aforementioned concepts. The notion of servant leadership may be defined as a style where the leader is primarily focused on the ethical and, sometimes, even altruistic aspects of professional interaction with people (Eva et al., 2019). Thus, when employing various management strategies, servant leaders are primarily concerned about the ways in which they may be of help for people on the team instead of simply delegating tasks and responsibilities.

Although such a model seems extremely beneficial for the team’s well-being, the approach itself remains rather questionable in the context of the functional productivity of servant leadership (Eva et al., 2019). Indeed, on the one hand, a good leader is obliged to take care of the employees’ emotional state. On the other hand, however, when leaders are overly attached to their teammates on the emotional level, some employees may not perceive leaders as role models and mentors.

For this reason, in order to find the balance between empathy and lack of subordination, leaders began to learn the fundamentals of emotional intelligence. This notion stands for one’s ability to recognize his or her own emotions, identify the emotions of others, and respond to feelings of other people in a proper manner (Chamorro-Premuzic & Yearsley, 2017). Thus, the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is of crucial importance for every leader who is willing to cooperate with the employees in a manner that would cause no mental harm. In fact, when putting effort into recognizing one’s feelings, a leader is able to avert such negative implications as emotional burnout, interpersonal conflicts, and dissatisfaction with work (Desai, 2017).

However, while EQ is undoubtedly a beneficial skill for any individual, excessive emotional intelligence has its drawbacks. According to the research, employees and leaders with an extremely high level of emotional intelligence show a lack of innovative approaches to problem-solving (Chamorro-Premuzic & Yearsley, 2017). Hence, when combining both aspects of leadership, it may be concluded that both EQ and servant leadership models are of crucial significance for the team’s professional well-being when employed adequately.

Finally, one more important aspect of leadership is performance, as this notion serves as an indicator of the team’s success and overall progress. According to the researchers, when dealing with performance management, leaders have to take into consideration both cognitive and emotional aspects of the workflow within the team (Torrence & Connelly, 2019). Moreover, the leadership performance of the whole team is highly related to the emotional well-being of every employee, so leaders tend to have various strategies to address the issue. These strategies primarily include suppression, situation modification, cognitive reappraisal, and attentional deployment (Torrence & Connelly, 2019).

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Having considered all these strategies, it was estimated that such approaches as situation modification and cognitive reappraisal were the ones playing a beneficial role in terms of the final outcome (Torrence & Connelly, 2019). Thus, it may be concluded that the strategies containing a strong emotional aspect are of a better use for the overall performance.

For this reason, the regularity may be drawn that emotional intelligence and servant leadership as means of communication with employees directly influence the functional leadership outcomes. The overall leadership domain is then hard to imagine without the emotional constituent of management and mentorship. Still, like any other aspect of leadership, emotive communication with the personnel is only beneficial once it is not overdone. A leader as an individual with much responsibility is to make sure that all the aforementioned aspects are utilized properly because once either cognitive or emotional professional constituent is prevailing, the overall performance is violated.

In summary, the notion of leadership has always been a sophisticated umbrella term encompassing both the responsibility for personal decisions and actions of other people. Thus, it is impossible to manage people without paying much attention to the emotive concept of professional cooperation. In order to achieve proper leadership performance, a leader is to consider the expectations and feelings of the employees, using the skills of the servant leadership model and emotional intelligence. Hence, the inter-relation between these concepts is evident at every stage of leadership.


Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Yearsley, A. (2017). The downsides of being very emotionally intelligent. Harvard Business Review. Web.

Desai, D. (2017). The impact of leadership styles, emotional intelligence of leaders and organizational culture on performance. ZENITH International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research, 7(1), 1-10.

Dhiman, S. (2017). Introduction: On becoming a holistic leader. In Holistic leadership (pp. 1-15). Palgrave Macmillan, New York.

Eva, N., Robin, M., Sendjaya, S., van Dierendonck, D., & Liden, R. C. (2019). Servant leadership: A systematic review and call for future research. The Leadership Quarterly, 30(1), 111-132. Web.

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Torrence, B., & Connelly, S. (2019). Emotion regulation tendencies and leadership performance: an examination of cognitive and behavioral regulation strategies. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1486. Web.

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