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Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership Essay

Leadership is not only about the capability to access and utilize resources. Leadership is not just about power. It is not just about titles and position. Leadership is all about influence and the ability to lead people so that the group will be able to achieve something, that individually, they may consider to be impossible. This means that a leader is not only about the strategy, goal-setting and having the work ethic that gets the job done.

It is also about inspiring people. It is also about self-confidence as well as knowledge about the world and human nature. This is why it can be said that a leader can achieve much if he is able to understand the importance of inner-maturity and awareness such as the need to become a servant leader.

This study will take a closer look at servant leaders and the value of inner-maturity in order to effectively lead people to achieve the impossible. This is made possible by looking at these concepts through both religious and secular world views.

The importance of this study stems from the utter lack of good leaders in society. There is no need to travel abroad to realize that there is a serious lack of quality leadership in both the secular and religious spheres.

The lack of leaders in the church means that people are no longer inspired to become the best that they could be. It also means that there is no one who can model the correct behavior that in turn will inspire men to do great things.

The same thing can be said about the secular realm. The lack of good leaders can explain the corruption in government and in the world of business. The spate of headlines that talks about money being misused and public funds stolen by government officials tell the story of a society clamoring for the emergence of great leaders.

The solution is to revisit how great men of the past rose to positions of leadership that changed history. They served first before they became leaders. They realized that “Leadership was bestowed upon a person who was by nature a servant” (Greenleaf, 2003, p.21). They did not exist to covet power and wealth. In the past there were many servant leaders who demonstrated that it its possible to lead this way.

According to one historian, “Abraham Lincoln was assassinated for abolishing slavery in the United States, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for defending civil rights in South Africa, and Susan B. Anthony was arrested for her efforts to give American women the right to vote” (Baron, 2010, p.26). They became leaders by putting the interest of others before their own.

Religious Worldview

The best example of inner-maturity that produced servant leadership can be seen in the Bible. Jesus and men of God like Paul the Apostle demonstrated how the impossible can be achieved not by being a tyrant but by showing the way. They also succeeded because they knew the importance of servant leadership.

A religious world view can be understood by looking at how men of God and religious leaders went out to serve people, in order to meet the needs of others and not to satisfy their self-interests.

According to one commentary, “The established leaders of the Roman Empire and their colluders in Palestine became the direct opponents of Jesus during his lifetime. They had failed to respond to the needs of the poor in the countryside, who were the primary target audience of Jesus’ ministry” (Agosto, 2005, p.62).

This explains the popularity of Jesus and at the same time the reason why the religious leaders of his day as well as the politicians envied him. Jesus can command the attention of the people, not only because he was a powerful speaker but mainly because he was able to meet their needs.

Those who are familiar with the Biblical accounts will remember that the poor were weighed down by an unjust taxation scheme. The political leaders lived a life of luxury and the religious leaders were able to receive praise and recognition from the people but they did not do anything to help their fellowmen.

In due time their influence over the people waned, and when Jesus came, he demonstrated a different type of leadership. He said that he did not come to be served but to serve. This was a radical idea. Jesus became the leader that was there to meet the needs of his followers. In the end his disciples were moved by his compassion and his desire to help. Thus, they began to follow him and obeyed his commands.

Secular Worldview

Those who are in the corporate world and even those who are leaders in the community will be happy to have the ability to move people like Jesus. However, it does not require a holy man to be able to achieve this level of effectiveness. Even a secular worldview will help the average person understand how to be a servant leader.

The first thing that has to be done is to understand that servant leaders are well aware of the fact that inner-maturity is the foundation of great leadership.

According to Stephen Covey, “The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people – each one of us – to rise above our present circumstances, and to transcend our common nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation” (Greenleaf, 2003, p21). This is one secular worldview that can be used to understand the power of servant leadership.

This quote means that people wanted to be led from within. They do not want to be coerced. Thus, the leader who will be able to model a positive attitude is the one who can move people to action. If one will think of it, every difficult endeavor requires the help of everyone.

This means that if there are more people in a team or in an organization that is willing to serve rather than to be served then it is easier to accomplish tasks and overcome challenges.

Inner-maturity in this case is a deep understanding of human nature. A leader sees the person not only as an organic being but also a person with emotions, desires, fears, and wants.

A good leader with a significant level of inner-maturity will have this insight into how a person thinks and because of that begins to develop himself into an effective leader not by creating a facade that may look impressive from the outside but an inner quality that is attractive to their subordinates.

It is therefore important to add another philosophical worldview, one that states that the leaders’ “enduring beliefs influences every aspect of their life’s journey: morality, relationships, goals actins, and daily decisions” (Baron, 2010, p.26).

This means that one of the primary steps to become a good leader is to discover and cling to a certain set of values that will encourage leaders to do things that will help others become the best that they can be.

A practical application of this principle is for the leader to realize that he cannot do everything and he must not do everything. According to a study made of successful corporations with successful leaders at the top, these leaders understood sharing when it comes to the decision-making process” (Spears & Lawrence, 2002, p.107). A good leader will have to cling to this belief system even if at times it is difficult to do so.


It can be said that inner-maturity and a level of awareness of people are the main ingredients for becoming a servant leader. It is important for a leader to understand that power comes not from wealth and other traditional sources of strength but from the ability to move people. Men and women will follow leaders not because they are great but because there is a connection between them.

It is therefore important to demonstrate that the leaders is not after self-aggrandizement and that his motive is not to exploit people but his goal is to make them better. He is a leader that put the people’s interest before his own. This can only be done if the leader has developed a certain level of inner-maturity and awareness of the world. This is because he knows that people will follow those whom they believe really cares for them.


Agosto, A. (2005). Servant Leadership: Jesus & Paul. MA: Chalice Press.

Baron, T. (2010). The Art of Servant Leadership: Designing Your Organization for the Sake of Others. AZ: Wheatmark.

Greenleaf, R. (2003). Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New Jersey: Paulist Press.

Spears, L. & M. Lawrence. (2002). Focus on Leadership: Servant-Leadership for the Twenty-First Century. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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IvyPanda. "Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership." December 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/emotional-intelligence-and-servant-leadership-essay/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership." December 18, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/emotional-intelligence-and-servant-leadership-essay/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Emotional Intelligence and Servant Leadership'. 18 December.

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