Servant Leadership as it compares to Transformational Leadership Transformational and servant leadership are rooted in the study of charismatic leadership. An early conceptual model of “charismatic leadership” has been closely linked with the work of Max Weber, who described the leader as a charismatic person who exercised power through followers’ identification with and belief in the leader’s personality. Both transformational and servant leadership are both inspirational and moral.
Transformational leadership is defined as having four conceptually distinct elements: charismatic leadership/ idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and individualized consideration (Bass, 1996). Servant leadership has six distinct components: valuing people, developing people, building community, displaying authenticity, providing leadership, sharing leadership (Lab, 1999). These behaviors are listed under the dimension heading in Table 1. Two questions are addressed in this analysis.
The first asks the extent to which the specified leader behaviors overlap in the two models. The second question examines the extent to which each model may be appropriate for clearly distinct contexts. The Seven Habits of Servant Leadership To create a servant workforce, you must put into practice seven guiding principles or ‘habits’ that encourages sensitivity, integrity, and a sense of community within your organization. 1. Be an Active Listener – In the words of Steven Covey, “you must first seek to understand, then to be understood. Problems, whether they are coworker disputes or handling a large spurt of production delays or downsizing your workforce, all require a degree of listening first to what employees need to understand how to effectively deal with and solve the underlying problem. Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication skills and decision-making abilities. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to actively listening to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being and said (and not said) among others.
By listening with intent, followers feel understood and valued, even under pressure, the servant leader demonstrates a sense of empathy and compassion by taking the time to understand what one’s body, spirit, and mind are communicating. . Be Empathic – Do people believe that you will understand what is happening in their lives and how it affects them? Servant leaders can “walk in others’ shoes” and recognize the unique value of each employee. They understand and empathic with others’ circumstances and problems. Leaders who are empathetic have earned confidence from others by understanding whatever situation is being faced.
This characteristic is a skill that comes more naturally to some than others, but it is pertinent for all who aspire to be a servant leader. 3. Establish Trust – Establishing trust is an essential part of being servant leader. Leaders who display sincerity, integrity, and candor in all their actions will inspire trust from followers. In the age of corporate scandals, a Coo’s integrity has been tainted and employees feel less inclined to instinctively trust their leaders, making honesty an even more crucial part of a leader’s character.
For the servant leader, honesty is vital and the ability to establish trust with others fosters a greater sense of openness and truthfulness with followers so that they feel a higher sense of commitment and purpose to the organization they serve. 4. Be Aware – Having the ability to look within strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness to oneself can enable the servant leader to react with greater sensitivity towards others and through one’s own unique journey, leaders can be of greater service to others by helping them grow and seek greater self-awareness among themselves.
Self-awareness also inspires a sense of authenticity in one’s interactions with others, enabling them to feel the leader is sincere and has their best interests at heart. In this way, servant leaders can develop employee loyalty to the firm by focusing on lowers’ individual needs for achievement and growth and demonstrating an acceptance of their individual differences. 5. Be Authentic – Being authentic isn’t always easy in the midst of office politics and role barriers.
The need to get ahead may slant our presentation to others – we feel inhibited to say what is on our mind, and we may compromise our true feelings, stunting ourselves from truly being authentic. Yet, building on the foundations of good leadership, servant leaders have the inner strength to share and convey what is truly in their earth to create an authentic presence in their interactions with others, fostering greater employee allegiance to the organization. 6. Be Persuasive – Servant- leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions.
Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular habit offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups and demonstrates a greater trust among those who work for them. . Be Community-Minded – Servant-leaders commit to the growth of the people working around them and believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers.
As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization. Servant- leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work around them. Having shared values and a shared sense of purpose creates a breeding ground for employees to support one another and fosters a greater ensue of identity within the firm.
Putting the Habits into Practice Servant Leadership is characterized by a belief that leadership development is an ongoing, life-long learning process and making the commitment to continual development of these characteristics enables a good leader to transform into a servant leader. Some characteristics come more naturally to some people than to others. Some people feel the natural desire to serve others or feel a calling to do so, while others, who aspire to being servant leaders, must work more diligently at cultivating this desire.
Servant leaders devote themselves to serving the needs of organization members and focus on meeting the needs of those they lead. By developing employees to bring out the best in them and coaching others to encourage their self-expression, servant leaders strive to facilitate personal growth in all who work with them. For any effective leader, he or she must listen and possess the ability to persuade, conceptualize, grow, and build a strong sense of community, but for the servant leader, these are necessary traits to cultivate, develop, and demonstrate in one’s daily interactions with others.