Servant leadership behaviors of general equivalency diploma (GED) graduates: a non-randomized exploratory inquiry
Del Bosque, Sylvia Eulalia
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Leadership in the 21st century continues to be an ongoing concern and challenge for leaders and followers alike. According to the Servant Leadership Theory (SLT), individuals with a natural desire to serve have the potential to become servant leaders, lead unselfishly, and demonstrate leadership through authenticity, humility and trustworthiness that focuses on the one-on-one relations with the follower (Greenleaf, 1977). The following research questions guided the study: (1) What are the servant leadership behaviors of GED graduates? (2) To what extent are the servant leadership behaviors of GED graduates affected by their selected demographic characteristics? The study took place in South Texas. The GED participants (n = 75) were scholarship recipients of the Education is Our Freedom GED College Scholarship Program (EIOF). A 2-part survey instrument, the Servant Leadership Questionnaire (SLQ), was developed by the researcher. The first part was designed to measure the servant leadership behaviors, utilizing a previously published instrument. The second part was designed to collect the selected demographic characteristics of the respondents. A web-based version of the SLQ was used for the purpose of data collection, utilizing Qualtrics survey software. A series of descriptive and inferential statistical techniques were used to analyze and report the data. Due to non-experimental nature of the study, no causal inferences were drawn. The respondents were predominantly Hispanic and female, likely to be attending a 4-year university full-time and employed part-time. A typical participant was 27 years old. Analysis of the data showed that the study participants demonstrated agreement with serval leadership behaviors. Specifically, Conceptual Skills and Emotional Healing were ranked the highest, followed by Behaving Ethically, Creating Value, Helping Others Grow, Empowering Others, and Putting Others First. The behaviors were not impacted by the overwhelming majority of the respondents’ selected demographic variables that were investigated in the study. The three exceptions were age in association with Helping Others and years of attending college’s associations with Empowering Behaviors and Putting Others First. The study’s findings are helpful in offering practical implications. For example, servant leadership training sessions can be developed for GED graduates to add to their leadership skills. Through practice of servant leadership behaviors, GED graduates may contribute to the society by giving of their time, energy, and resources to serve others. Practicing servant leadership may facilitate higher education, afford leadership opportunities within school and community, and ultimately provide a better quality of life. The GED graduates who exhibit and maintain leadership skills through authenticity, trustworthiness, and humility may likely to become exemplary servant leaders.