The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, Vol. A servant leader actively contributes in the personal development and performance of their team. Servant leadership is based on a simple concept: that as an employee, a worker is present to serve the organization. However, this conceptualization made by these researchers did not differ from leadership theories such as transformational leadership. Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which an individual interacts with others—either in a management or fellow employee capacity—with the aim of … As one moves up higher into leadership, then there are more people to serve. Exemplified by Jesus, the term servant-leader was coined by Robert Greenleaf in his 1970 seminal work, The Servant as Leader, in which he fused the two extreme types of ‘the leader-first and the servant-first’. (2012). The act of leadership is in the context of serving others and to serve others. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. Leadership experts such as Bolman, Deal, Covey, Fullan, Sergiovanni, and Heifitz also reference these characteristics as essential components of effective leadership. Servant leadership is a style of leadership that heavily emphasizes the good of workers and subordinates. This framework specified the fundamentals to servant leadership and was consistent with Greenleaf's original message. , Greenleaf came to the realization that a newfound leader should be someone that servants or workers can relate to. (1999). While organizations thrive based on the work produced by the employees, the commitment of the employees to the organization is a major contributor to how well an organization functions. In addition to some early definitions and distinct characteristics of Servant Leaders, researchers and leadership experts have used research to add on to these. In contrast, Social Exchange Theory is used to argue that a servant leader's followers are exhibiting positive behaviors due to the reciprocal relationship they develop with their leader..  This decreased emotional exhaustion also leads to stronger marital relationships. , Researchers Farling, Stone, and Winston noted the lack of empirical evidence for servant leadership.  When put into practice, Servant Leadership has a positive effect on a sales person's turnover intentions because turnover is mainly associated with "the quality of the salesperson–supervisor relationship. A servant leader prioritizes the team’s growth and well-being, letting their own needs and ambition take a backseat. James Sipe and Don Frick, in their book The Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership, state that servant-leaders are individuals of character, those who put people first, are skilled communicators, are compassionate collaborators, use foresight, are systems thinkers, and exercise moral authority. The magnum opus of Robert Greenleaf, Servant Leadership is a recent theory of leadership that argues that the most effective leaders are servants of their people. Unlike many approaches to leadership, which offer suggestions on how top-level leaders can influence and motivate those further down the hierarchy, servant leadership puts its emphasis on collaboration, trust, empathy, and ethics. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. The data collection method for this study consisted of narrative analysis of the 10 interviews utilizing Robert Greenleaf’s servant leadership theory, which highlights the leader’s desire to serve others first and foremost. For servant leadership research and meta-analyses, we recommend that scholars more heavily psychometrically scrutinize servant leadership by including differing leadership theories, organizational culture, HR practices (e.g.  Likewise, Servant Leaders managing the work environment and things such as "rewards, deadlines, work allocation and performance evaluations" have a positive effect on the well being and satisfaction of employees because the practices of a Servant Leader deals with these aspects in a way that benefits the employees in every way possible.  Black scholars also note that although Greenleaf attributes his ideas to Herman Hesse, Martin Luther King Jr. preached similar approaches and was a contemporary of Greenleaf in the United States, but King is never mentioned in any of Greenleaf's original works. He views them as being critical to the development of servant-leaders. A servant leadership puts the follower first in order to assist them in their career growth. Servant leadership suggests that a leader not rely on their authority to get things done. " When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they benefit as well as their employees in that their employees acquire personal growth, while the organization grows as well due to the employees growing commitment and engagement. The "I serve" mentality is evident in politicians who define their role through public service. In servant leadership literature, the use of Social Learning Theory argues that servant leaders are influencing their followers, as their followers observe and emulate the leader’s positive behaviors. Factor analyses reduced this scale to five unique dimensions: altruistic calling (four items), emotional healing (four items), wisdom (five items), persuasive mapping (five items), and organizational stewardship (five items). However, Sendjaya and Sarros research work did not propose a testable framework nor did this work distinguish between this and other leadership styles.  The authors state: The review has demonstrated that the servant leadership field has made progress in the last 20 years, however, the field of servant leadership still has its critics. They argued that this leadership principle was so important to Christianity that it was captured by all four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). Criticism: It Demotivates.  Likewise, Servant Leadership has a direct effect on employer brand perception, which in turn reduces employee job turnover. There are a million of these… Servant leaders get results for their organization through whole-hearted attention to their followers and followers’ needs. Servant leadership is a classic concept, but the term was coined in 1970, when Robert K. Greenleaf published his essay, "The Servant as Leader." Servant leadership is actually an ancient practice. Implications For Nurses. Only through the act of serving does the leader lead other people to be what they are capable of.  Leo was seen as a servant, but when the other servants realized that things fell apart without him, he became far more than just a servant to them. In any case, Servant leadership theory has a place within the spectrum of leadership theory, as it represents the strongest emphasis on followers of any theory. There are also researchers such as Russell and Stone who reviewed the literature and proposed nine 'functional' attributes of servant leadership (vision, honesty, integrity, trust, service, modeling, pioneering, appreciation of others, and empowerment) and eleven 'accompanying' attributes (communication, credibility, competence, stewardship, visibility, influence, persuasion, listening, encouragement, teaching, and delegation). It is one of many ways to make an effective leader. Despite several conceptual papers on the topic of servant leadership, there is no consensus on empirical research for the servant-leadership construct until a state-of-the-art review published in 2020 by Nathan Eva, Mulyadi Robin, Sen Sendjaya, Dirk van Dierendonck, and Robert C Liden  in the Leadership Quarterly. Thursday, April 1st, 2010 | Comments off | Servant leadership is one of the more popular theories of leadership, especially among Christian leaders who vigorously cite Jesus as the penultimate example of servant leadership. Servant leadership is often associated with Christian leadership and Christian leaders; however, the model is not limited to the Christian realm. Servant leadership theory development talks about the concept and the model of this leadership style, however servant leadership measurement tried to … The assumption is that if leaders focus on the needs and desires of followers, followers will reciprocate through increased teamwork, deeper engagement, and better performance.  In one such critique, Sendjaya and Sarros used the same Bible account as Akuchie, and made the claim that Jesus Christ, not Greenleaf, introduced the notion of servant leadership to everyday human endeavor. Similarly, researcher Akuchie explored the religious and spiritual articulations of the servant leadership construct. According to a 2002 study done by Sen Sendjaya and James C Sarros, servant leadership is being practiced in some of the top-ranking companies, and these companies are highly ranked because of their leadership style and following. Greenleaf maintained, "The servant leader is servant first." The researchers presented servant leadership as a hierarchical model in a cyclical process. In her groundbreaking book on quantum sciences and leadership, Rewiring the Corporate Brain (1997), Zohar goes so far as to state that, “Servant-leadership is the essence of quantum thinking and quantum leadership” (p. 146). , Servant leadership also contributes to employees' goal achievement and success.  Researcher Patterson also developed a more spiritual conceptualization of servant leadership around leader values including: agapé love, humility, altruism, creating 21 visions for followers, being trusting, serving, and empowering their followers. The following 12 characteristics of Servant-Leadership have been identified by Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. However, its effectiveness in organizations is still being debated.  The employees also stay at the organization so that they can see and learn more from their employer. , Feminist scholars have noted that servant leadership is based on patriarchal approaches to leadership, noting that leadership discourse in general is a attributed with masculinity. , Various critiques of servant leadership have been made. Servant leadership stresses the importance of the role a leader plays as the steward of the resources of the group, and teaches leaders to serve others while still achieving the goals set forth by the business. The servant-leader concept continues to grow in its influence and impact.  Research has shown that although many organizations are used to the belief that the "top-down" way, or the leader prioritizing themselves and the organizations and then the employees, is the best way to engage employees in their work. " Due to servant leaders making their employees their main priority and placing their well-being above everything else, including the organization, the employees feel a sense of trust and a need to return the commitment and obligation that their employer has for them to the organization. This consisted of behavioral (vision, service) and relational (influence, credibility, trust) components. The second premise of servant leadership is "I am the leader because I serve". The idea of servant leadership was coined more thoroughly and brought to a modern business world by Robert K. Greenleaf. They also argued that the servant leader must be a teacher to develop their followers, and that values and core personal beliefs were the antecedents to servant leadership. Here are 10 characteristics and traits that distinguishes a servant leader from the more traditional ones. Greenleaf believed leaders have a social responsibility to care for the disenfranchised and to serve first; he proposes shifting power to those who are being led. Common … They do not choose between opposing values. As a servant leader, you're a "servant first" – you focus on the needs of others, especially team members, before you consider your own. A Servant Leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. As defined before, a servant leader's goal is to build upon the skills of their employees and make them better people. One major extension was Larry Spear's 10 characteristics of the Servant Leader. Servant-leadership is also an expanding river, and one which carries with it a deep current of meaning and passion. Marina, B. M., & Fonteneau, D. Y. Servant leadership is based on the idea that authority is more important than power, and that focus on empowering and uplifting others instead of personal gain is critical to everyone’s success.  Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, stated in an interview: "Greenleaf credited his reading of Hesse's 1932 book, Journey to the East, as the personal source of inspiration in his coining the term, 'servant-leader' in his 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader.  Thus, studies have shown that Servant Leadership has a positive effect on employee's psychological health in that the less strain on the employee and the more they assimilate at the organization, the better their psychological health. ", In Journey to the East, the main character, named Leo, is a servant just like all the others. Servant leadership requires leaders to place the needs of others over their own self-interests. Bradley, Y. leadership authors and advocates of servant leadership.  With this trait, studies have shown that servant leaders have the ability to influence their employees to achieve their own goals as well as their work goals due to their leaders empowerment, and this plays a major role in their continued success and growth. According to Ginny Boyum, Greenleaf proposed that servant leaders should serve first, make the needs of others their main priority, and find success and "power" in the growth of others; summarily, "A servant can only become a leader if a leader remains a servant". 1 Iss.  Having their employer cater to their needs, in conjunction with supportive co-workers and staff, aids in lowering stress levels, which produces the desire to go home and cater to their family’s needs. Akuchie suggested that the application of this lesson is for daily life. , Before the modern fad for the concept of "leadership" emerged, the autocratic enlightened absolutist King Frederick II ("the Great") of Prussia (r. 1740–1786) famously portrayed himself as "the first servant of the state".. We hope by heeding the advice offered in this review to resolve these problems, the servant leadership research can move forward and continue to offer significant insights to the leadership field over the next 20 years. In this essay, Greenleaf explains how and why he came up with the idea of servant leadership, as well as defining a servant leader.  Studies have also shown that leadership as a whole has an effect on employee's psychological health. 10 key … Greenleaf declares that servant leadership begins with the natural feeling of wanting to serve first. Greenleaf first presented the theory in a 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” However, numerous others theorists have contributed to our understanding of servant leadership. His book The Servant as Leader was published in 1970 and it still forms the basis of the theory to this day. 5, 6, 7, "Challenging and Critiquing Notions of Servant Leadership: Lessons from My Mother", "The Positive Relationship between Servant Leadership and Employees' Psychological Health: A Multi-Method Approach", International Journal of Servant-Leadership, Cairnway Center for Servant Leadership Excellence, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Servant_leadership&oldid=994308748, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2019, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 15 December 2020, at 01:47. 1, 2010, 25-30. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. According to Northouse (2016), servant leadership is unique in its altruistic nature.  Further research also confirms that servant leaders lead others to go beyond the call of duty.  By doing this, Servant Leaders create a safe space where employees are able to be themselves and express how they are feeling, knowing that they can trust their leader to be non judgmental. Servant leadership predominately draws on two social theories to explain how it influences follower behavior: Social Learning and Social Exchange Theory. Servant leadership: A critique of Robert Greenleaf’s concept of leadership. In that same essay, Greenleaf quotes Hillary Clinton's 1969 commencement address. His second major essay, "The Institution as Servant," unequivocally reinforced that point. In contrast, Social Exchange Theory is used to argue that a servant leader's followers are exhibiting positive behaviors due to the reciprocal relationship they develo… This idea completely transformed management theory in the 1970s whereby roles that rely on authority and control are referred to as management and roles that rely on influencing are referred to as leadership.  Because of this, employees begin to act as Servant Leaders themselves, and portray great commitment to the organizations where they see these behaviors and how they affect others around them. Polleys's views aligned with transforming leadership but, once again, made no distinctions among Charismatic, Transformational, and Servant Leadership. Unlike every other leadership theory servant leadership stresses the importance of empowering followers by relinquishing control (Northouse, 2016).  This leads to turnover intention reduction in that the employees "... take pride in what they do and enjoy the company of people they work with". Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. , In their review of the servant leadership literature, Eva, Robin, Sendjaya, van Dierendonk and Liden argued that for research, servant leadership should be defined as "an (1) other-oriented approach to leadership (2) manifested through one-on-one prioritizing of follower individual needs and interests, (3) and outward reorienting of their concern for self towards concern for others within the organization and the larger community.  In simpler terms, servant leaders should seek to be servants first, to care for the needs of all others around them, in order to ensure growth of future leaders. Many researchers and theorists argue that servant leaders can become so focused on the needs of their followers that the needs of the organization suffer as a result. In turn, this nurturing from their employer leads to them returning this same nurturing towards their co-workers and making the work place a suitable environment for the growth of the employees, as well as the production of good quality work to grow the organization.  According to Kashyap and Rangnekar, Servant Leadership molds organizations and builds a positive image for the organization. Instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. , The most important characteristic in being a servant leader, according to Greenleaf, is making one's main priority to serve rather than to lead. Research shows that management style is a main factor in sales person turnover. However, Akuchie did not, in any way, clarify servant leadership as distinct from other forms of leadership or articulate a framework for understanding servant leadership. Therefore, others may perceive leadership dedication to achievement or accomplishment as a threat.  This outcome is expected because of the Servant Leader's main concern being the well being of their employees. interesting to consider servant leadership in comparison with other, more established, leadership models. Servant leadership is a method of development for leaders. However, as demonstrated by Eva, Robin, Sendjaya, van Dierendonck, and Liden's review, research has established servant leadership as a valid construct that is worthwhile researching and implementing. They are entirely different from other traditional types of leaders who work and aim to achieve the goal of the company. No confirmatory analysis was performed, no criterion was posited to establish validity, and convergent/divergent validity was not established.. An organizational justice perspective", "Regulatory focus as a mediator of the influence of initiating structure and servant leadership on employee behavior", "Development of the School Principals' Servant Leadership Behaviors Scale and Evaluation of Servant Leadership Behaviors According to Teachers' Views", "Looking Back to Look Forward: Lessons for Leadership Development", Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction (Atlanta: Cairnway, 2017), chs. The researchers argued that servant leaders have a particular view of themselves as stewards who are entrusted to develop and empower followers to reach their fullest potential. In servant leadership literature, the use of Social Learning Theory argues that servant leaders are influencing their followers, as their followers observe and emulate the leader’s positive behaviors. By the same token, by not having any specific policy implications, servant leadership theory does not expressly reject the transformational, situational or results-focused ideas of leadership. However, they serve to communicate the power and promise this concept offers. What Is Servant Leadership Theory? 1.  Acceptance in this case is the leader being okay with having different personalities, personal views, and values as their employees, and understanding that their employees aren't "perfect".  As stated by its founder, Robert K. Greenleaf, a Servant Leader should be focused on, "Do those served grow as persons? Valid and reliable measurement instruments grounded in theory are essential to move the field of servant leadership forward. If you want to learn even more about the future of remote work and how to lead your team from wherever you are, check out my new book Leading From Anywhere at the links below. Numerous different researchers and leadership experts have created scales and dimensions to differentiate between the levels of Servant Leadership practices as well as evaluate Servant Leadership behaviors. Likewise, Joe Iarocci, author of Servant Leadership in the Workplace, identifies three key priorities (developing people, building a trusting team, achieving results), three key principles (serve first, persuasion, empowerment) and three key practices (listening, delegating, connecting followers to mission) that distinguish servant leadership in the workplace context.. It has been concluded that employee perceptions of servant leadership practices and the support of employers and co-workers has a positive effect on an employee's family life. The year 2008 was a significant year in servant leadership research with the publication of two seminal papers by Sen Sendjaya, James C Sarros, and Joseph C Santora as well as Liden, Wayne, Zhao, and Henderson, and the first publications using Ehrhart's (2004) measure. Spears (as cited by Northouse, 2016) identified ten characteristics of a servant leader. Furthermore, People often refer to servant leadership theory as weak because of the involvement of staff in problem-solving. Empathy. Eventually, the served are driven to possess the traits of a servant leader as well, continuing the spread of the leadership style.. This work was exploratory in nature.  Servant leadership inverts the norm, which puts the customer service associates as a main priority. Numerous research studies have focused on such relationships between theories.  Greenleaf first put his idea of servant leadership to use in an organizational sense while he was working as an executive at AT&T. Proposed by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970, the servant leadership theory defines a form of leadership where the leader’s primary role is to be of service to others first. According to previous research, servant leadership seems to have an effect on the emotional health of the employees because the servant leaders' reliance on "one-on-one communication to understand the abilities, needs, desires, goals, and potential of those individuals" aids in the employees' ability to express themselves in the work place. Greenleaf gave this idea an extensive amount of thought before bringing it to life. One theorist, Larry Spears, outlined ten characteristics of servant leaders by analyzing the writings of Greenleaf.  In addition, Servant Leadership being the foundation of organizations is said to lead to employees having positive experiences and satisfaction in the work place, which in turn leads to " a transfer of positive experiences from the work role to the family role". Similar to other leadership experts, Spears believed that Servant Leaders should have these 10 traits: empathy, listening, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community. Thoughts on servant leadership and further definitions.  Moreover, employees feeling that their needs are made a priority in the work place, as well as the feeling of being satisfied with their interactions at work on a daily basis, has an impact on their family's experience with them as they shift from the work role to the family role. , Greenleaf's definition left much room for speculation because it lacks specifics. Journal of Christian Education, 42(2), 43–54. The servant leader will work hard to assess the current challenges, promote a vision of the future, engage the team, other managers and superiors. Researcher Polleys distinguished servant leadership from three predominant leadership paradigms: The Trait, Behavioral, and Contingency approaches to leadership. Behaving Ethically. In fact, we have witnessed an unparalleled explosion of interest and practice of servant-leadership … , Servant leadership entered the arena of research in 1998 with the publication of the first peer-reviewed servant leadership scale, and since then, over 270 peer reviewed articles have been published across 122 academic journals. Among these five dimensions, altruistic calling is most aligned with ethics. Servant leaders get results for their organization through whole-hearted attention to their followers and followers’ needs. Servant leadership is handled throughout the literature by many different dimensions. The leader should be a servant first, leading from a desire to better serve others and not to attain more power. 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