[31], Some argue that servant leadership is still going through the process of being accepted as a leadership theory because of Greenleaf's belief that Servant Leadership is a way of life rather than a systematized technique with a specific outline. 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 [10] in the Leadership Quarterly. 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. One major extension was Larry Spear's 10 characteristics of the Servant Leader. In other words, this begins with a rooted ambition to be leader or personal ambitions of a leader. [30] Servant leaders also make a safe emotional work environment for employees by making acceptance a major goal. Servant leadership: A critique of Robert Greenleaf’s concept of leadership. [31] Some employees may have personalities and/or characteristics that may lead to them doing or saying things to their leader that is unacceptable. "[7], In Journey to the East, the main character, named Leo, is a servant just like all the others. They are entirely different from other traditional types of leaders who work and aim to achieve the goal of the company. All the servants work well together, until one day when Leo disappears. Numerous research studies have focused on such relationships between theories. 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[11] as well as Liden, Wayne, Zhao, and Henderson,[11] and the first publications using Ehrhart's (2004) measure. Our final theory to explore is servant leadership, which originated in the writings of Robert Greenleaf. The second premise of servant leadership is "I am the leader because I serve". The following 12 characteristics of Servant-Leadership have been identified by Larry Spears, CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. SHARE: 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. Eventually, the served are driven to possess the traits of a servant leader as well, continuing the spread of the leadership style.[3]. [1] Greenleaf first put his idea of servant leadership to use in an organizational sense while he was working as an executive at AT&T. [14], 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. No confirmatory analysis was performed, no criterion was posited to establish validity, and convergent/divergent validity was not established.[14]. However, Sendjaya and Sarros research work did not propose a testable framework nor did this work distinguish between this and other leadership styles. (1999). A Servant Leader shares power, puts the needs of the employees first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. [28] 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. Only through the act of serving does the leader lead other people to be what they are capable of. 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. It is merely an adjunct to these theories, and is mostly useful for deciding on whether or not somebody should become a leader in the first place. Hence Greenleaf's idea of what a servant leader should be. As a servant leader, you're a "servant first" – you focus on the needs of others, especially team members, before you consider your own. Servant leadership predominately draws on two social theories to explain how it influences follower behavior: Social Learning and Social Exchange Theory. [29] However, studies have shown that Servant Leadership's "bottom-up" style, or prioritizing the needs of the employees first, causes employees to be more engaged in their work in that they feel like they have social support from their leader as well as their colleagues. Greenleaf was inspired by the menial servant Leo in Herman Hesse’s novel, The Journey to the East, who contrarily insists that ‘he who wishes to live long must serve, but he who wishes to rule does not live long.’ Servant-leaders are cross-boundary in their DNA. Common … In addition to some early definitions and distinct characteristics of Servant Leaders, researchers and leadership experts have used research to add on to these. 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. Akuchie examined a single Bible passage related to servant leadership, just like the one mentioned in the opening of the essay. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Servant leadership is based on a simple concept: that as an employee, a worker is present to serve the organization. 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. We value your privacy and will never share your email with anyone else. 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. Research shows that management style is a main factor in sales person turnover. Thoughts on servant leadership and further definitions. [21][22] Similarly, Black scholars have pointed out how notions of servants as being subjugated and mistreated is largely absent from servant leadership discourse. [27] 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. [27] This outcome is expected because of the Servant Leader's main concern being the well being of their employees. However, this conceptualization made by these researchers did not differ from leadership theories such as transformational leadership. (2012). [14], Servant leadership predominately draws on two social theories to explain how it influences follower behavior: Social Learning and Social Exchange Theory. In essence, servant leadership comprises of the following: (1) someone or something other than the leader, (2) one-on-one interactions between leaders and followers, and (3) an overarching concern towards the wellbeing of the wider organizational stakeholders and the larger community. A servant leadership puts the follower first in order to assist them in their career growth. Servant leaders who picked up the broken glass. Robert K. Greenleaf first popularized the phrase "servant leadership" in "The Servant as Leader", an essay published in 1970. [2] The employees also stay at the organization so that they can see and learn more from their employer. © 2020 - David Burkus | Site by Out:think | Drop me a line: david@davidburkus.com, [otmg_register redirect="https://davidburkus.com/2010/04/servant-leadership-theory/" button_text="Sign Me Up!"]. Sendjaya, Eva, Butar-Butar, Robin and Castles' (2019) [18] 6-item composite of the Servant Leadership Behavior Scale (SLBS-6) which uniquely contributes a spiritual dimension, a distinguishing feature that makes servant leadership a truly holistic leadership approach relative to other positive leadership approaches. In short, servant leadership principles emphasize facilitation and helping employees grow and harness their maximum potential, empowering both individual team members and the company to be successful. However, its effectiveness in organizations is still being debated. [23], Researchers Farling, Stone, and Winston noted the lack of empirical evidence for servant leadership. Furthermore, People often refer to servant leadership theory as weak because of the involvement of staff in problem-solving. 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. 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. [26] Studies have also shown that leadership as a whole has an effect on employee's psychological health. [10], Various critiques of servant leadership have been made. Instead… [31] Lastly, Servant Leaders are able to manage the behaviors of their employees by being forgiving. These ten characteristics are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of others, and building community. [26] Likewise, Servant Leaders managing the work environment and things such as "rewards, deadlines, work allocation and performance evaluations"[26] 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. In that essay, Greenleaf emphasized that the servant leader is first and foremost a servant. Marina, B. M., & Fonteneau, D. Y. 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. 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. 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. [1] Servant Leadership being practiced is said to decrease emotional exhaustion, which is the leading cause of employee burnout. Bradley, Y. Researcher Polleys distinguished servant leadership from three predominant leadership paradigms: The Trait, Behavioral, and Contingency approaches to leadership. These are by no means exhaustive. Here are 10 characteristics and traits that distinguishes a servant leader from the more traditional ones. They do not choose between opposing values. There are a million of these… [20] 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. [4] 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. Unlike every other leadership theory servant leadership stresses the importance of empowering followers by relinquishing control (Northouse, 2016). 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). [15] 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. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible. From the "I serve" mentality come two premises: The first premise signifies the act of altruism. As in all theories of exemplary leadership, servant leaders grow the leadership capacity of followers – leaving them better off and better able to lead in the future. The servant leader will work hard to assess the current challenges, promote a vision of the future, engage the team, other managers and superiors. It is one of many ways to make an effective leader. Similarly, researcher Akuchie explored the religious and spiritual articulations of the servant leadership construct. The act of leadership is in the context of serving others and to serve others. He views them as being critical to the development of servant-leaders. Greenleaf maintained, "The servant leader is servant first." [15] The inclusion of spirituality faithfully reflects Greenleaf's (1977) initial, and Graham's (1991) theorizing, that servant leadership relies of spiritual insights and humility as its source of influence. [1] Further research also confirms that servant leaders lead others to go beyond the call of duty. As defined before, a servant leader's goal is to build upon the skills of their employees and make them better people. [25] This decreased emotional exhaustion also leads to stronger marital relationships. Leadership experts such as Bolman, Deal, Covey, Fullan, Sergiovanni, and Heifitz also reference these characteristics as essential components of effective leadership. Valid and reliable measurement instruments grounded in theory are essential to move the field of servant leadership forward. This consisted of behavioral (vision, service) and relational (influence, credibility, trust) components. However, the modern movement was born in a 1970 essay by Robert K. Greenleaf. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, Vol. 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.[24]. Journal of Pan African Studies, 5(2), 67–83. Since this leadership style came about, a number of different organizations have adopted this style as their way of leadership. [1] Servant leadership inverts the norm, which puts the customer service associates as a main priority. 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. 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. They argued that this leadership principle was so important to Christianity that it was captured by all four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). In this essay, Greenleaf explains how and why he came up with the idea of servant leadership, as well as defining a servant leader. 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