A servant leader leads with the mentality of a servant. Servant leadership begins with the urge to lead which triggers the conscience to aspire to lead. A servant leader has no self gratifying wishes. He carries the interests of the followers at heart. He knows that the task at hand is such huge that he cannot afford to fail. Chances of aborting the vision the servant leader carries arise, but he has the courage to soldier on despite the challenge (Blanchard, 2003). Servant leadership combines both leadership philosophy and practices of leadership. It prides itself in sharing of power as opposed to the traditional way where leadership was concentrated at the top of the pyramid. Servant leadership has the interest of others at heart and helps them exploit their aptitudes fully.
Servant leadership has several attributes on which it operates. The leader who leads as a servant knows that he needs to lead from the front, and that the followers ape what and how he functions. One such attribute is persuasion. A servant leader is dependent on persuasion as opposed to autocratic authority in the decision making process (Greenleaf, 2002). A servant leader employs persuasion to influence his decisions, but does not apply compulsion to ensure conformity.
This aspect of persuasion draws the line between the ancient authoritative model of leadership and servant leadership. The servant leader seeks to enhance and build consensus amongst the team members he works with. The servant leader does not seek to have his way, but rather involves others to ensure that the best decision prevails over the popular one. A well thought out decision that has been debated by all team members eliminates the possibility of trial and error.
Take for instance a construction project whereby there is a strict deadline that has to be met. As the foreman, persuasion as an aspect of servant leadership would be of great aid. I would use my skills to strike a consensus with the hands men to ensure that we collaborate to meet the deadline as stipulated. The impact this would have is that it would enhance confidence on the company that we are working for or the government for more tenders to be awarded to us. This would also ensure that the team concludes the task at hand on time.
Servant leadership is an attribute that has great correlation with religious traits and philosophical theories. The five major religions that represent over eighty percent of the world’s population have a direct correlation with servant leadership. Christianity, which is grounded on Jesus Christ, has the Bible as its reference book (Greenleaf, 2002). Jesus tells his disciples in Mathew 23:11 that the greatest of them all is the one who would serve the rest. This indicates that Christianity is firmly grounded on servant leadership. The master of Christianity leads from the front by telling His followers that they must be humble for them to be accepted as worthy leaders.
However, explanations cannot exhaust the remaining four religions relation with servant leadership. Values drawn from each of them seek to show that servant leadership is a major factor of play for the religions to flourish and their ideologies to be universally accepted by the followers. Such values include forgiveness, peace, gratefulness, parity, gladness, humility, and determination among many others. Each of the five religions is a factor of the said values. However, the Hinduism way of dividing followers into various castes cancels the attribute of equality as a major feature of servant leadership (Richardson, 2007). The highest caste, Brahman, have the privileged to access anything they need including prestigious jobs while the lowest caste, dalits, live like slaves to the higher caste level members.
Philosophical theories have attributes that serve in one way or the other to strengthen leadership by servant hood. A servant leader is friendly, witty, candid, bold, and temperance among others. Philosophy is built on these values among expediency and scientific knowledge which affirm the relationship between philosophy and servant leadership.
Servant leadership is a contemporary type of leadership that is highly regarded in the modern world. Employers seek for the potential employees who are ethical and authentic in their behavior. Servant leaders upholds human dignity, individual accountability and disposition as they seek to live up to the expectation of the team they lead (Blanchard, 2003). The quality and level of relationship between the leader and the follower ultimately determines the level of success to be attained in the said task. A servant leader must seek to strike a balance to ensure that no project suffers improper leadership prospect.
Blanchard, K. (2003). Servant Leader. Edinburgh, Scotland: Thomas Nelson Inc
Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York: Paulist Press.
Richardson, R. E. (2007). Exploring Servant Leadership Theory within the Congregation of the Sisters of the Incarnate Word and Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi, Texas. Michigan: Regent University.