Contrasting Views of Leadership and Their Utility for My Practice

Greengage attributes the inspiration for his idea to the novel ‘Journey to the East’ by Herman Hess (1932), where the central character Leo; servant to a party of travelers, proves ultimately to be the vital member of the group, whose mission fails without him. The servant-leadership theory is based on a model of empowerment and contrasts sharply with models of leadership that are based on power. Instead of concentrating on the acquisition of power and control, servant-leaders focus on helping people to grow and fulfill their potential.

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Greengage states: ‘the servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions’. (Greengage 1 970) The servant-leadership theory advocates the role of leader as serving rather than controlling. By serving the needs of their workforce, clients and communities servant-leaders can harness the full force of an empowered group.

Servant- leadership models promote a sense of community and an holistic approach to ark and, ultimately, society. Steven R Covey, vice chairman of Franklin Covey, the world’s largest management and leadership development organization, described four roles of leadership in his keynote speech to the Greengage Center’s (www. Greengage. Org) 1999 conference (Covey 1999). These are: (i) Setting an Example: Leaders must work hard, contribute and model integrity, humility and the values of servant-leadership. Integrity breeds confidence and generates followers. Ii) Pathfinder: Creating a vision that involves and inspires, and that through empowerment, mobiles the efforts of others. This way, strategic planning is values based and derived from an understanding of people’s needs. This is in stark contrast to power models, which espouse individualistic missions and goals for organizations to be ‘herded’ towards. (iii) Alignment: Aligning the systems and structures of an organization to serve the agreed task and vision. Values need to be ‘institutionalized’ and language and action must be consistent. Iv) Empowerment: This is what Covey describes as the ‘fruit’ of the first three roles: When you have a common vision and value system, and you have put into place trustees and systems reinforcing that vision, when you have institutionalized that kind of moral authority – its like lifeblood feeding the culture, the feelings of people, the norms, the mores – feeding it constantly… You can… Release the enormous human creativity, the human ingenuity, the resourcefulness, the intelligence of people to the accomplishment of those purposes. Everything connects together: the quality of the relationships, the common purpose and values.

You find that people will organize themselves. They’ll manage themselves. People are drawn to doing their own best thing and accomplishing hat worthy purpose, that vision. That’s empowerment! (Covey 1 999) Max Deeper has famously defined leadership as ‘a serious meddling in other people’s lives’ (Deeper 2002). Deeper is concerned with the interdependence of members of organizations and has argued that leadership can’t be just about the individual: When we think about the people with whom we work, people on whom we depend, we can see that without each individual, we are not going to go very far as a group.

By ourselves, we suffer serious limitations. Together we can be something wonderful. (Deeper 1990) Deeper coined the term ‘Fiduciary Leadership’; one of the three things he lives to be vital to servant-leadership. Fiduciary leadership describes a model of leadership based on trust and reliance. With this model, leadership is a set of opportunities and accountabilities bestowed (temporarily) by followers, in the trust of the leader. Central to this concept is the idea that the ‘led’ are consenting to be led and this idea lies at the heart of democratic society.

In the 18th Century Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Anglo-Irish statesman and political philosopher wrote: It is the love of the people; it is their attachment to their government, from the ensue of the deep stake they have in such a glorious institution, which gives you both your army and your navy, and infuses into both that liberal obedience, without which your army would be a base rabble, and your navy nothing but rotten timber. (Burkes 775) With regard to fiduciary leadership Burke said: All persons possessing any portion of power ought to be strongly and awfully impressed with an idea that they act in trust. Burkes 790) And Deeper says: Leadership is not a position… Promotion has never made anyone a leader. Leadership is a fiduciary calling. Inherent in this calling is the knowledge that pope plays a critical part in the lives of followers. Fiduciary leaders design, build and then then serve inclusive communities by liberating human spirit and potential’ (Deeper 2002) Here again, then, the themes of leaders serving and harnessing human potential in organizations that are communities.

Depress second ‘necessity’ vital to servant-leadership is broadening the definition of leadership competence. He describes five areas of competence: Firstly, defining and expressing reality for an organization; second, vision and strategy; third, enabling creative people; fourth, transforming – by learning, asking and changing – and finally, unleashing the potential of all members of an organization. Depress reference to ‘transforming’ is important. Servant-leadership and fiduciary leadership are both examples of Transformational Leadership (Burns 1978).

Transformational leadership is concerned with bringing about progress and accomplishing success through communication, influence and empowerment, as opposed to Transactional approaches, which favor activities such as resource management, and management by policy, procedure and control. Transactional leaders prefer systematic approaches, organizational research, straightforward objectives and tried and tested techniques. They manage efficiently but are in danger of producing mediocrity and suffocating innovation and creativity (Fairchild 1991).

Transformational leaders reject the rigidity of traditionalists, arguing that ideas such as Scientific Management (Taylor, 1910), with their focus on controlling the minute details of the means of production are restrictive , dehumidifying, alienating (Marx, 1959) and, ultimately outdated. Conversely, the transformational model can be criticized as inefficient, wasteful and lacking focus and direction. The third of Depress three necessities for servant-leadership is a clear moral purpose. He argues that leadership requires moral purpose to give it meaning, measures and a worthwhile goal.

Keen on lists, Deeper describes six ‘signs’ of moral purpose. These are: (i) An acceptance of Human Authenticity: Organizations comprise individuals with a ‘cornucopia of gifts and talents’ and not just their ascribed roles or inherent characteristics. (ii) Rights: All are entitled to the right to belong; to ownership; to opportunity; to inclusion; to a covenant relationship as ‘members’ of the organization. Iii) Truth: Consistent, multifaceted honesty is crucial to moral leadership (iv)Vulnerability: An absence of ego and openness to criticism.

Willing to listen to others, to experiment, to make mistakes and to learn from them. (v) Equitable Distribution of Results: Distributing ‘profits’ fairly is a necessary and motivating feature of an organization that demands high levels of contribution from its members. Results or profits can be financial or else less tangible outputs. (vi) Personal Restraint: Vulgar displays of power, wealth and status are offensive and denominating to others. Ultimately, then, the servant-leadership theory regards leadership as a moral calling.

Greenflies leadership theory also has its basis in morality and latterly he concerned himself with the question of managing change in society, citing examples of immoral, senseless and destructive problems in the world. His view was that the system to deliver the necessary change would be the one that works best – in his view servant-leadership: The difference [between leader first and servant-leader] manifests itself in the care taken by the servant first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.

The best test, and the most difficult to administer, is this: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? (Greengage, 1970). To read Greengage and his followers, one might conclude that servant-leaders are essentially ordinary people drawn naturally, perhaps randomly, from the servant ‘classes’. People with philanthropic and selfless natures, who assume leadership positions only to spread their good deeds more widely.

Interfering (Deeper 1993) ‘do-goodies’ best suited to social and charitable enterprises! However servant leadership places as much emphasis on leadership as it does on servitude, even if the servant has to come first. Powerful servant-leaders can be found at the head of many serious, successful, profit making organizations (e. G. Herb Keller, CEO South West Airlines, Jack Lowe, chairman often Industries and Rich McClure, president of Uncaring Inc. All US]) and, most recently, servant-leadership is the leadership philosophy espoused by newly elected President Lee Among-back of South Korea, who has called for servant-leadership as his primary presidential adhering vision (Hymn-gung, 2008): Military leaders or professional politicians will be unable to manage the economy any longer mainly because they were born to wield power, instead of serving citizens. These leaders attempt to rule the country, while managers serve their customers.

As a result, the boss is destined to wane, while servant leaders achieve mutually beneficial goals for the community. (Among-back, 2002) If we look more closely, then, servant-leadership, far from rejecting the idea that some people are natural leaders, actually shares many ideas with ‘trait’ models of leadership. Trait theories date back to the first half of the twentieth century and Weeper’s theory of leadership-charisma (Webber 1947) is a good example.

Trait theorists argue that leaders neither emerge naturally as a result of a personal ‘epiphany, nor are they created by experience or training, but that they are born. Born leaders are the result of natural selection (Darwin 1859). Nicholson (2000) describes how evolutionary psychology has produced ‘alpha-males’: hard wired individuals with natural leadership qualities driven, by high levels of testosterone, to seek an optimal serotonin buzz by taking charge and achieving arsenal success. Grader!

Foremost among these natural leadership qualities is charisma. Charismatic Leadership (House 1977, Burns 1978) concerns itself with the impact of charisma on the leader/follower relationship and the effect of charismatic leadership on the motivation and morale of followers. Charisma is regarded as an innate quality, a charm that compels others to follow. Freud described charisma as an ability to realist compliance from others (Freud 1922). Charismatic leaders are heroic, energetic and driven by dissatisfaction with the status quo.

Although generally en as a transactional model, charismatic leadership, when paired with a moral basis, is far from inconsistent with servant-leadership. In fact, many of the qualities required of the servant-leader such as vision, integrity and empowering others can be regarded as extremely attractive and thus charismatic qualities. Indeed Jesus Christ, cited by many servant-leadership disciples as the ultimate servant-leader, was undoubtedly a charismatic leader.

Discretionary Leadership In contrast to servant-leadership – which, whilst advocating a different moral basis for leadership, retains traditional ideas of hierarchy and organizational trucker – discretionary or ‘shared’ leadership theory recognizes the need for a number of leaders with different viewpoints and responsibilities to coexist and cooperate in organizations. Discretionary leadership has emerged as a model suitable for complex modern day organizations (Kebabs, 2000) with complex environments, contexts, and structures or, as Hunt put it, ‘macro-variables’ (Hunt 1981).

Modern organizations are frequently network based, where the sum of a wide and diverse set of functions and departments combine to form a ‘virtual’ whole. Discretionary leadership places high value on an organizations’ ability to respond effectively to multiple agendas and stakeholders in a variety of situations simultaneously: a challenge that would be impossible to meet with conventional hierarchical organizations where leadership authority is held by a small number of senior managers.

In essence, modern complex organizations need to coordinate the actions of a broad group of employees who adopt leadership behaviors, when and as required, to tackle the issues they face. Discretion would seem to be a two way process with this model: Senior leaders till define the degree of leadership authority that is delegated at their discretion, whilst employees are expected to adopt leadership roles, when necessary, at their discretion. Not completely UN-hierarchical, but certainly less paternal and more organic than traditional models of leadership.

Thus roles are defined in terms of the breadth of their discretion. At one extreme, some employees will have minimal discretion and be expected to carry out their duties in strict accordance with prescribed procedures – a model akin to that of production line workers in a scientific management system (Taylor 910). At the other extreme, the CEO of an organization has ultimate discretion. Between these two extremes it is vital that the quantity and quality of available leadership is commensurate with the needs of the organization.

Discretionary leadership, it is argued, is not only a suitable model for complex network-based organizations, but also the model of leadership that will naturally emerge in response to the pace and pressure of organizational change in the twenty-first century: The nature of role discretionary boundaries is increasingly determined by arsenal views concerning the challenges leaders face and the nature of those with whom they interact…

Thus, the idiosyncratic nature of the organization, the peculiarities of each leader role and the characteristics of each individual occupying such a role, are critical considerations in determining role boundaries and parameters. (Kebabs & Kebabs, 1999) Organizations that require/ generate substantial numbers of discretionary leaders will, by definition, include a multitude of visions and ideologies. Achieving cohesion is the vital key for this group model of leadership to be effective.

This is achieved by those in charge skillfully conducting multiple conversations (or ‘polygene’ – Kebabs, 2005); by discretionary leaders reflectively understanding their roles and relationships and acting responsibly, and by promoting a shared philosophy, core vision and value system. Oozing has described this as the role of the ‘organizational architect’: The focus [for Contemporary leaders] has shifted increasingly to the role of the ‘organizational architect’.

The principal contributing skill of architects is an ability to design and develop organizations; skills that require considerable creative nights and technical knowledge about how to analyses, design and stimulate complex, increasingly isolating, social and communication networks supported by rapidly advancing IT. (Oozing et al. , 2007) With this model, leadership is not simply about goal-oriented control and coordination. Leaders need to properly understand the context in which actions are exercised and the appropriate manipulation of others (Kebabs, 2005).

The modern organization will be flatter, less hierarchical and based more on networks. It will be founded on interdependency, communication and the flow f ideas (supported by ever more sophisticated information technologies) rather than command and control models. With discretionary leadership employees will be incentives to produce value by being fully and intelligently involved in the overall purpose of their organization rather than alienated in the way that Marx (1959) has criticized scientific management (Taylor 1910).

However, discretionary leadership also has its critics. Variations and tensions among workers in leadership roles can lead to negativity, whilst success is highly dependent on cohesion and the quality of interactions; both notoriously hard to intro in network-based organizations: Where discretionary role analysis highlights variation of experience, capability, values, personality, behaviors, and the exercise of choice among the leaders of the organization, tension and conflict become endemic with potentially disastrous implications for individuals and the organization. Finniest and Humpback, 1996) Globalization, fast moving technological development, the increased recognition and value of social capital, multi-faceted demands and accountabilities, and the need to respond simultaneously and effectively to a number of agendas, means hat organizations need different leadership models in the twenty-first century.

Models of leadership that might have been appropriate to the manufacturing industries of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries now seem increasingly inappropriate to the educated, informed, skilled and sophisticated workforce of the present day, whether working in manufacturing or (more probably) in paper-based organizations or the service sector. It can, therefore, be argued that discretionary leadership is the ideal solution for the future, but only in a carefully designed and managed system that maturely accepts the inherent will and ability to lead that is both needed and to be found within many key members of complex organizations.

The utility of these ideas for me The leadership theories that I have chosen to examine might be considered to have much in common and it might seem that more radical alternatives could have been examined in order to better illustrate the contrast between theories. Have however chosen to focus on these models because of their resonance with my own ideas about leadership and their utility for a modern health service. I would also refute the view that servant leadership and discretionary adhering are very similar.

Yes, they are both progressive, placing as they do an emphasis on employee empowerment and the importance of shared values and vision. However, servant leadership takes a rather traditional and paternalistic view of the structure of organizations and those destined to lead them, whilst discretionary leadership is based on a much more sophisticated understanding of the structural configuration of modern organizations. Personally, I have found utility in each of these models.

As service lead for a new specialist mental health service, I am acutely aware of the complexity of odder day organizations as described by Hunt (1981) and Kebabs (2000) in their explorations of discretionary leadership. The multifarious environmental, contextual and structural variables of the NASH epitomes the challenges recognized by advocates of this model. The NASH is also increasingly network based and is certainly the sum of a wide and diverse set of functions.

For my own service, the ability to respond effectively to multiple agendas and stakeholders in a variety of situations simultaneously is vital. Our structure, although not completely without hierarchy, is relatively flat. The largest group f employees in my service are senior, professionally qualified practitioners including nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers and occupational therapists. Each of these practitioners is responsible not only to me but also to their professional bodies and, as such, have a substantial degree of authority devolved to them, and broad freedoms to act and make decisions.

The need to coordinate the actions of this broad group of employees is central to my role as service lead, as is the need for these well-paid individuals to accept and adopt leadership behaviors, when and as required, without undue recourse to management advice or consent. Discretionary leadership theory also recognizes the need for a number of leaders with different viewpoints and responsibilities to coexist and co-operate in organizations.

This is extremely pertinent to modern mental health services, which are both multi-disciplinary and multi-agency. With multi-disciplinary teams, each different discipline ideally brings unique professional skills and ideologies to the service, which are then combined to produce a multi- dimensional ‘whole’ befitting of a service aimed at meeting the holistic needs of diverse individuals. For me, the achievement of cohesion is certainly the vital key to realizing this ideal and Skewbald’s (2005) notion of ‘polygene’ resonates with me.

Similarly, modern mental health services exist as components of broader networks that transcend the traditional boundaries of the NASH. In order to run an effective service I need to manage interfaces with a wide and diverse range of partner agencies and stakeholders that include Gaps and other referrers, social care agencies, specialist providers, the criminal justice system, drug services, community and faith groups, and service users and their careers.

Pollywollydollylogue! Central to the achievement of cohesion in my service has been the promotion of a shared philosophy, vision and value system and Cousin’s (2007) concept of the ‘organizational architect’ appeals to me in this sense, with its emphasis on leaders’ responsibility for designing and developing organizations with shared vision and effective communication networks.

This concept of shared vision is also found in servant-leadership. Covey (1999) emphasized the need for leaders to create a vision that involves and inspires, and that mobiles the efforts of others, and Depress (2002) third necessity for revert-leadership was a clear moral purpose, arguing that leadership requires moral purpose to give it meaning.

It is not surprising that such sentiments should find resonance in the NASH, or any other care sector organization that has its base in social morality, and we are reminded of Bean’s vision for a national health service, available to everyone and free at the point of access, sixty years ago: The collective principle asserts that… No society can legitimately call itself civilized if a sick person is denied medical aid because of lack of means. (Bean 1952) Interestingly, ‘moral purpose’ has played a significant role in influencing the development of my specialist field, Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP), in this country.

The introduction of this new model of mental health service has been extensively driven by a ‘bottom up’ approach that has witnessed the emergence of a ‘social movement’ for mental health reform (Bate et al, 2004): A diverse group of proponents, including statutory and non-statutory agencies, clinicians, service users and career groups who are impatient for service reform and find commonality with the civil rights movement, equal rights for women managers and Gay Pride.

Despite its diversity, this mental health social movement is connected by a shared view that that the suffering associated with the poor outcomes experienced by people with serious mental health problems is unnecessary, and largely a product of inadequate and ineffective services. It is argued that the kind of radical, transformational change required for mental health modernization will not be achieved by top down, programmatic, transactional leadership approaches, but must be complemented by a grass roots desire for bold, sustainable change.

Harnessing this shared sense of moral repose has proved crucial to achieving cohesion in our complex service and is constantly and intentionally reinforced through team meetings, training and supervision. Depress (2002) notion of ‘fiduciary leadership’ also resonates and the sense that my position is one of responsibility and accountability both to and for a group of staff remains important for me. Having emerged from the ‘ranks’, my painfully slow rise to mediocrity might be seen as a good example of Greenness’s model, where individuals accept leadership, with modest reluctance, as a means to better serve others.

In reality, my pathway has been determined by combination of bossiness, laziness and poverty, fueled by a growing sense of moral purpose and by a personal philosophy that ‘it is better to lead, than be led by a w*Neff. Am, however, genuinely drawn to many of the core values of the servant- leader model: I believe that as leader I must work hard, contribute and model the values of the service. I believe that language and action must be consistent and that integrity breeds trust and confidence.

I am keen to drive progress through experimentation and risk-taking but recognize interdependence with work colleagues and that change and improvement will only be delivered by arranging human potential, empowering staff and clients, and by helping people to grow and fulfill their potential. In a service where ‘recovery’ is the product (or ‘profit’) it is vital that everybody’s contribution is acknowledged and people are fairly rewarded.

Inevitably our system rewards some more than others and the recent introduction of ‘Agenda for Change’, the new NASH pay structure, has arguably made this harder. Never the less, I strongly agree with the need for personal restraint (Deeper, 2002) in a system with such a wide range of pay scales. There is nothing more offensive than a highly paid NASH manager in n expensive sports car, no matter how severe their mid-life crisis. Do also recognize the reasonable criticisms of servant-leadership when presented as a purely transformational approach.

Traditional transactional activities such as resource management, policy and procedure are also necessary in a twenty-first century health service and some control remains necessary if outcomes are to be realized efficiently. Balancing these requirements with empowering models is the key, in my view, to enabling innovation and creativity whilst avoiding mediocrity and waste. Finally, as a big, hairy bossy-boots, I would need to declare some sympathy or the trait theorists. I think that I do have some natural in-built leadership qualities, as well as plenty of testosterone, and I enjoy serotonin as much as the next man (or woman)!

Learning Points Foremost among the learning points stemming from this assignment for me was the relevance and usefulness of this subject to my work and this has been explored in the previous section. Also, I was surprised at just how large in both breadth and depth this subject is. Theories on leadership can be traced as far back as the ancient Greeks and Romans, with a massive expansion of interest dating back to the nineteenth century, culminating in a veritable explosion from the middle of the twentieth century onwards.

And leadership theories stem from a wide spectrum of fields including industrial, religious, military, financial, educational, political and organizational. Have learned that no one model fully explains everything or is pertinent to all situations, and that leadership models, like history, are open to interpretation and reflective of the dominant culture of a particular place or time. Theories seem to exist, like most things, on a continuum, with poles that represent unworkable extremes such as dictatorship and anarchy.

In between lie a spectrum of models that will have different levels of utility according to the presenting circumstances. I have reflected that there are times when strong, authoritarian leadership is necessary (such as wartime or when trying to organism a multi-agency conference! ) and there are times when more subtle influence is required.