No Ordinary Time – Reflections

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Updated: Apr 19, 2021
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No Ordinary Time – Reflections essay

In the 1930’s there was an obvious divide between the northern and the southern states surrounding race and equality. The south did not want to accept the country was moving away from segregation and oppression of the black community. They retaliated with violent protests and public lynching of black men, women, and children as a form of entertainment. The racially motivated hate crimes were all too common in the 1930’s, however it was very uncommon that someone would be held accountable for committing a crime against a black person in the south. The judicial system was not interested in punishing the citizens that were supporting the idea that whites are superior to blacks, and while many questioned the morality of those ideologies, no one was interested in being the voice behind change.

Emotional Intelligent Leadership involves a leader being aware of themselves, the others they are leading, and the context in which they are leading. Eleanor Roosevelt was an outstanding example of an emotionally intelligent leader, displaying traits on many occasions throughout her work in politics. One example that stood out to me was that Eleanor publicly supported many black causes and developed relationships with many influential people in the black community. “In 1938, when confronted with a segregation ordinance in Birmingham, Alabama, that required her to sit in a white section of an auditorium, apart from Mrs. Bethune and her other black friends, she had captured public attention by placing her chair in the center aisle between the two sections” (Goodwin 163). This strategic decision shows how Eleanor was extremely aware of the context in which she was leading, and those people who she was leading.

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Eleanor was a white woman who was not afraid to be the leader for the black community in the racist south. She first demonstrates EIL by understanding that she was in an environment where the social norm was segregation of races in public spaces. Just because it was the accepted way of life didn’t mean it was right, and Eleanor was not shy to acknowledge this. She knew that sitting on the side designated for white people was a conflict of her character, however she also knew that simply joining her black friends was not an option. Her action to sit right in the middle was the perfect response for the situation when considering the context.

Eleanor also demonstrated EIL through self-awareness and the awareness of others. She knew that leaders of another race were facing an uphill battle in the fight for racial equality because they were already being systemically oppressed. They had no way of making political changes because they could not hold office or vote. Eleanor knew that she was someone who was capable of impacting federal policies and laws regarding race in the US. She was not concerned with the public’s opinion on her stance or actions because doing what was right was more important than doing what was expected.

Eleanor’s actions because she is putting her reputation on the line, as well as her husband’s chances of winning the upcoming election, to speak for those who will not be listened to. I have not yet had an experience like this throughout my leadership experiences, however I can relate it to my mom’s experiences in the last few years she worked at Milestone. Before the company was bought, she was the VP of Marketing and the majority of leadership roles were held by women. The purchase completely changed the company climate for the worse. The new bosses were not convinced a female could do the job and decided to reassign tasks to the male employees. The women were all facing the same discrimination from the same institution, however they lacked a leader (like Eleanor) who was not afraid to stand up for what was right in a time when no one else could.

This experience that my mom went through shows that just because a person is an outstanding leader does not mean they are an emotionally intelligent leader. Eleanor would have been willing to take the heat for the greater good, but no one in this organization had the courage or awareness of the context and others around them to do so. Everyone agreed at Milestone that they would love to resist the changing culture in the company, however they lacked an emotional intelligent leader that would have been capable of evaluating the situation and organizing a plan of action to get things headed in the right direction.”

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No Ordinary Time – Reflections. (2021, Apr 19). Retrieved from