The role of servant leadership and emotional intelligence in managerial performance in a commercial banking sector in Zimbabwe

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The constructs of servant leadership (SL) and emotional intelligence (EI) have gained considerable interest in the discipline of managerial leadership, both within academic discourse and in the human capital management and development arena. However, empirical evidence showed the need for further research on both constructs using the mixed methods approach. The purpose of this research was to explore the role of an integrated servant leadership and emotional intelligence leadership skills program in enhancing leadership performance in Zimbabwe’s commercial banking sector. A mixed methods research triangulation concurrent design was adopted for the research study conducted from 2014 to 2015. A survey questionnaire was used to collect quantitative data from 211 middle, senior and executive managerial staff in the commercial banking sector. SPSS version 22.0 was used to analyze the quantitative data. Qualitative data were collected from a purposive sample of eight senior to executive managers using a structured interview guide and multimedia recording equipment. The qualitative data were analyzed using NVIVO version 10 software package to create themes. The findings showed that servant leadership and emotional intelligence characteristics complement each other and both constructs can be integrated into a managerial leadership program used to develop leadership soft skills or competencies. The findings also showed that both SL and EI skills had a positive influence in enhancing the managers’ effectiveness in undertaking leadership responsibilities and on leadership qualitative performance measures such as articulating vision and strategy, building and sustaining productive organizational culture, development and retention of talent, enhancing employee engagement, improving stakeholder relationship management, retaining bank customers, promotion of diversity, value creation and community involvement. The study led to the development of an integrated SL and EI soft skills leadership program and model which, if implemented, could lead to leadership skills development and performance enhancement.

Keywords: leadership, competencies, servant leadership and emotional intelligence.
JEL Classification: E58, G21, M12

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