Servant Leadership, Emotional Intelligence, And Performance


Traditional organizations were founded on the notion that the leader controls subordinates and that the organization’s strategy is dependent on the leader’s authority over followers. Daft (2017) acknowledges that there are four stages of leadership: control, participation, empowerment, and service. For instance, subordinates are supposed to be passive in the first phase, not to decide for themselves but to do what they are ordered. At the second stage of the continuum, namely participation, subordinates are more actively involved in their job. The third stage is stewardship, which signifies a fundamental shift in thinking by shifting responsibility and power from leaders to followers. Servant leadership is a step beyond stewardship in which executives relinquish control and choose to serve people. Thus, along the spectrum, the focus of leadership changes from the leader to the followers.

Servant leadership is leadership turned on its head. Daft (2017) acknowledges that servant leaders place others ahead of themselves to serve their needs, assist others to grow and improve, and give opportunities to gain monetarily and emotionally. According to Daft (2017), Robert Greenleaf’s book Servant Leadership was the first to explain this unique leadership style. Greenleaf’s methodology is based on four fundamental assumptions. First and foremost, servant leaders prioritize service over self-interest. Based on this viewpoint, the organization exists to offer meaningful work to the person as much as the person lives to produce work for the organization. Second, they listen first to support others; genuinely listening is one of the servant leader’s best qualities. As a result, these people instill confidence and trust by being trustworthy. Servant leaders establish trust by doing what they promise they will do, being truthful, and concentrating on the well-being of other employees. Finally, servant leaders care for their followers and believe in each individual’s ability to impact the community positively.

The Connection Between Emotional Intelligence, Servant Leadership, and Leadership Performance

Being self-aware, controlling emotions, motivating oneself and others, demonstrating compassion, and relationship building are all characteristics of emotional intelligence. According to Daft (2017), emotional intelligence relates to a person’s ability to recognize, analyze, comprehend, and successfully regulate emotions in oneself and others. Miao et al. (2021) claim that servant leadership is a successful leadership style that focuses on ethics and morals; emotional intelligence (EI) is also linked to excellent administration and ethical conduct. Emotions are infectious; the leader’s emotional condition affects the entire team, division, or organization (Daft, 2017). Hence, leaders appreciate the significance of not just managing their feelings but also assisting others in managing unpleasant sentiments so that they do not destroy the entire group or corporation. Daft (2017) claims that there is a link between people’s emotions and many areas of their performance, including collaboration, inventiveness, decision-making process, and task execution. Therefore, emotions have a significant impact on leadership performance.

Emotional intelligence may impact servant leadership in a variety of ways. For instance, emotional intelligence is commonly connected with solid leadership, and some components of EI have theoretical links with servant leadership (Goleman & Boyatzis, 2017; Miao et al., 2021). Mindfulness improves ethical judgments, and emotional intelligence is an accurate indicator of mindfulness (Miao et al., 2018). Servant leaders are concerned with the needs of others; because persons with high emotional intelligence are adept at understanding others’ emotions and moods, emotional intelligence should assist servant leaders in better understanding the needs of others (Miao et al., 2021). Emotionally intelligent people can utilize their EI to comprehend their feelings, sympathize, and act in ways that meet the standards of others (Miao et al., 2021). Additionally, emotionally intelligent leaders are more likely to be concerned about the company’s long-term viability, which aligns with servant leaders’ caring for the organization and the greater community. Thus, the inter-relationship between servant leadership, emotional intelligence, and leadership performance is evident.

Personal Reflection

I think that servant leadership helps organizations to succeed and achieve maximum performance. The elements of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, social management, social awareness, and relationship management (Daft, 2017). To become a servant leader, the top two areas of emotional intelligence I need to enhance are self-awareness and relationship management. To achieve self-awareness, I will meditate, write daily plans, adhere to goals to increase self-confidence, and ask my colleagues for regular feedback. Additionally, I will develop relationship management skills by enhancing communication with my subordinates, spending more time with them, and organizing team events. I think that team building and collaboration are fundamental for improving relationship management.

Essentially, self-awareness encompasses the capacity to perceive and comprehend one’s own emotions, as well as how they impact one’s life and work. It serves as the basis for all other competencies because people who are emotionally aware can better direct their own lives (Daft, 2017). Leaders who are self-aware learn to trust their instincts and recognize that these feelings may give helpful information regarding challenging decisions. For instance, choices on whether to offer a significant deal, reorganize a firm, or alter work duties are not always straightforward. When solutions are not accessible from other channels, leaders must rely on their intuition (Daft, 2017). Self-awareness involves the capacity to effectively judge your skills and weaknesses and a strong feeling of self-confidence.

The capacity to connect with others and develop meaningful connections is referred to as relationship management. Daft (2017) states that leaders with high emotional intelligence understand the influence their actions have on others and treat others with empathy, understanding, and sincerity. Servant leaders utilize their knowledge of emotions to stimulate change and guide people toward a better tomorrow, foster coordination and interaction, and settle inevitable disagreements (Daft, 2017). These people create and maintain a network of ties both inside and outside of the business (Daft, 2017). Thus, emotionally competent leaders are more flexible, adaptive to changing situations, and ready to walk outside their comfort zone. I believe that It is vital to be receptive to other people’s ideas and perspectives in order to achieve organizational success.


A servant leader’s focus on encouraging through motivating and inspiring people who work for them is a distinguishing feature. Sherman (2019) argues that the servant leader understands the value of cultivating a feeling of community among employees. It is critical to assist colleagues in resolving difficulties, settling issues, and fostering a healing atmosphere (Sherman, 2019). Active listening to employee needs and assistance in decision-making will improve team outcomes. Servant leadership necessitates emotional intelligence since it aids in the development of trust between the leader and the followers (Sherman, 2019). Employee engagement increases as a result of psychological empowerment. When subordinates realize that the leader actually cares about their well-being, they devote more time and attention to obligations in order to achieve organizational objectives.


Daft, R. L. (2017). The leadership experience (7th ed.). Cengage Learning.

Goleman, D., & Boyatzis, R. E. (2017). Emotional intelligence has 12 elements. Which do you need to work on? Harvard Business Review, 84, 1– 5. Web.

Miao, C., Humphrey, R. H., & Qian, S. (2018). The relation between emotional intelligence and trait mindfulness: A meta-analytic review. Personality and Individual Differences, 135, 101– 107.

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.

Sherman, R. O. (2019). The case for servant leadership. Nurse Leader, 17(2), 86–87.