Why Social-Emotional Intelligence (SEI) is Foundational to GLEAM™ Leadership

January 24, 2024

A critical part of the GLEAM™ Leadership journey is understanding and embracing social-emotional intelligence. As leaders striving to transform the educational landscape, we must introspect and understand our personal and positional power dynamics. So, how do we intentionally build productive narratives about our power as leaders?

Here are the core competencies of leaders – these serve as our truths and will help us navigate the complex landscape of leadership and cultivate efficacy to truly transform our policies and practices.

Goleman (as cited in Picardi, 2021)



UnboundEd’s GLEAM™ Leadership Hypothesis

Our GLEAM Leadership Hypothesis is the bedrock of this transformative approach. It states that only when mindset, system-level planning, and cultural knowledge from the communities they serve are purposefully put into the service of grade-level, engaging, affirming, and meaningful interactions do we see great leadership that impacts teacher actions and student experiences that exemplify culturally responsive and sustaining environments. Our hypothesis is integral in actualizing the leadership beliefs, interactions, and actions that deeply influence teacher practices and student experiences. 

  • GLEAM Leadership requires self-awareness. Leaders who engage in this self-work around their beliefs about the standards and the students they serve can better align their practices to ensure equitable access to grade-level content that inspires and challenges all learners.
  • GLEAM leadership requires a discerning lens on nourishing learning partnerships. Leaders who orchestrate system-driven plans aimed at enhancing the readiness of their instructional team to support careholders through GLEAM instruction build a profound connection that empowers members of their community to collaboratively create and sustain learning environments that are not only engaging but also responsive to the diverse needs and potentials of all learners. 
  • GLEAM leaders require adept relationship management. Leaders who foster honest communication and respect create an environment where we respect and value every identity. By actively engaging and affirming staff and community, these leaders lay the groundwork for an empowering atmosphere conducive to academic achievement and personal growth for all students. The outcome is a collaborative and inclusive educational environment where we celebrate diversity and honor unique perspectives, promoting equity and respect for all.
  • GLEAM leaders require effective self-management. Leaders who act as beacons of hope and advocate for positive change while being adaptable and resilient position careholders to support justice-seeking initiatives and model bravery. This approach, rooted in a deep understanding and critique of dominant cultural norms, leads to the reassessment and refinement of school and community practices, policies, and programs. The result is transformative and meaningful learning experiences that engage students and contribute to their academic and personal development in a supportive and inclusive environment.


What Makes GLEAM™ Leadership Different?

In a landscape where the implementation of equitable instruction is challenging, GLEAM™ Leadership articulates a vision of equity. It provides a pragmatic roadmap for leaders to actualize this vision into tangible outcomes. GLEAM™ equips leaders with the mindset and strategic framework necessary to navigate the complexities of today’s educational landscape, fostering environments where equity and excellence in education are not just aspirational goals but lived realities for all students.


Ready to bring GLEAM™ Leadership to life?

Transforming instruction takes brave leadership, a clear vision, thoughtful planning, and a strong team. Join us at Leadership Institute and learn to set up school systems that recognize and honor all kids and produce standards-based, equity-focused, and culturally responsive teaching and learning experiences for every student.