Is servant leadership a theory?

Robert Greenleaf's magnum opus, servant leadership is a recent leadership theory that argues that the most effective leaders are servants of their people.

Servant leaders

achieve results for their organisation through wholehearted attention to their followers and their followers' needs. A servant leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of individuals and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership often involves the accumulation and exercise of power by the one at the 'top of the pyramid', servant leadership is different.

The servant leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform at their best. Servant leaders are a revolutionary group that takes the traditional model of power leadership and turns it completely upside down. This new hierarchy places the people or employees, in a business context, at the top and the leader at the bottom, in charge of serving the employees above them. And that is how servant leaders like it.

The theory of servant leadership is believed to have been coined by Robert Greenleaf, a 20th century researcher. Greenleaf believed that the leader should put the emphasis on his team members to be autonomous and free-thinking. Servant leadership is a mindset that reflects a service-first mentality rather than a leader-first mentality. Greenleaf considered that a leader-first mentality was often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt.

Servant leadership is a style based on a desire to serve and give to one's community. By putting the needs of others first, you empower people to give their best. When community members see your passion and commitment through your actions, they want to be connected to you. Servant leadership goes against the belief that leadership is defined as hierarchical, patriarchal and related to wealth or status.

Instead, as the name suggests, it focuses on serving others to help them grow, often without the title or recognition that comes with many leadership roles. Robert Greenleaf, the originator of servant leadership theory, chose the name because it is contradictory and the polar opposite of typical leadership theories. You are a servant leader when you focus on the needs of others before considering your own. It is a long-term approach to leadership, rather than a technique that you can adopt in specific situations.

Therefore, you can use it with other leadership styles such as Transformational Leadership. Fortunately, theories and practices such as servant leadership have shown that anyone can be a leader and that true leaders are rarely defined by their title or wealth. This paper extends this consideration of the relationship between constructive development and leadership style by focusing exclusively on servant leadership. If the civil rights leaders studied by Parameshwar (200) were indeed servant leaders, their exceptional responses provide a compelling argument for both the power of servant leadership and the need for servant leaders operating from higher orders of constructive development.

Some of the best-known advocates of servant leadership are Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, Peter Senge, M. Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enrich people's lives, build better organisations and ultimately create a more just and caring world. However, applying servant leadership helps to provide that connection, empower employees and show what an organisation stands for. Becoming a servant leader means putting the needs of others before one's own and continually developing the 10 characteristics listed above.

However, this conceptualisation by these researchers does not differ from leadership theories such as transformational leadership. During onboarding, after initial introductions, familiarisation conversations and explanations of how things work, the servant leader should solicit the new employee's observations, impressions and opinions, says Timmes. Since the turn of the century, servant leadership has become popular in software development through the Scrum and Agile management methodologies. Graham (199) described servant leadership as the most moral form of charismatic leadership and argued that the elements consisted of humility, relational power, autonomy, moral development of followers and emulation of the leader's service orientation.

This differs from traditional leadership, where the leader's main objective is the prosperity of his or her company or organisation. It is intended that the proposed progression of how servant leaders make sense of service will provide a vision of how servant leadership should be presented and taught, especially to younger leaders. CCL is a leadership development institute with offices around the world, including China, Ethiopia, India, Russia and several United States. Greenleaf first popularised the phrase servant leadership in The Servant as Leader, an essay published in 1970.

Jason Klingler
Jason Klingler

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