Robert Green Leaf coined the phrase ‘Servant Leadership.’ Servant leadership model is something that is not really new in today’s world. The Chinese ruler Lao-Tzu was said to be one of the earliest servant leaders living between 570 and 490 B.C. Tao Te Ching says that the highest type of rulership is one whose existence is barely known to the subjects. The Indian book on political science ‘Arthashastra,’ authored by Chanakya says a king is someone who is not to please himself but his subjects, and that a king is a paid leader enjoying the resources of the state and the subjects. The servant leadership model has been seen in a number of religious texts and is independent of any specific religion or tradition. It is also evident in Christianity and is highlighted in the Gospel of Mark, and Jesus is quoted to have said, “Whoever wants to become great among you, must be your servant; and whoever wants to be the first must be servant of all (Mark 10: 42-45).” Even Islam says “the leader of a people is their servant.”
While the servant leadership model seemed to have transcended through ages, the modern term was coined by Robert K. Green Leaf in his essay ‘The Servant as Leader.’ Green Leaf opines that a leader must have a natural feeling of wanting to serve first, which leads to the aspiration of leading. This is different from a person who wants to be a leader first and then wanting to serve. The leader first and the servant first are two extreme ends of a spectrum, and there are many shades and blends in between.
The concept of transformational leadership describes how leaders persuade followers to set aside selfish pursuits and work toward a collective purpose. Transformational leadership transforms the way followers perceive and consider themselves from being isolated individuals and having become part of a larger group.
There is a rapid change and increased competition in the business arena due to a plethora of factors including globalization. This rapid change eventually has resulted in organizations demanding innovation and superior performance from its employees. The capability to improve and innovate continuously is something that very few organizations possess. With an unpredictable economy in existence currently, it is highly significant for leaders to make best use of their abilities and creativity levels and improve their performance and eventually motivate and influence those following them.
Indeed, research about transformational leadership is overflowing giving emphasis on the ideal situation between leadership and management. Under this topic, attributes and principles of transformational leaders are highlighted including their relevance on tomorrow’s strategic environment.
Transformational theories focus on the associations and rapport that gets created amidst leaders and their followers. Kaiser et al state that transformational leaders motivate and encourage their followers by helping them in understanding the significance of increased advantage of accomplishing the assigned task. They also stated that transformational leaders focus more on the group performance i.e. the performance of every individual in the group, while also wanting every individual to accomplish their individual targets. Leaders with this style often have high ethical and moral standards.
Especially, transformational leadership is of extremely interesting because it describes the ways in which I believe leaders should influence and motivate the followers, encourage them to not have any kind of selfish interests and work toward a mutual and overall goal . “Through a combination of vision, appealing group goals, high standards, intellectual stimulation, role modeling, and relationships, transformational leaders are believed to inspire and enhance the performance of their followers .”
Transformational leadership changes the way followers consider their own self, in the manner of not being isolated individuals any longer and them becoming associates of a larger group. Transformational leaders lay increased stress upon the identical characteristics of the group members, and emphasize the mutual goals, the values shared by the group, as well as the common interests . When followers perceive themselves as being part of a larger group that has collective goals, they become more inclined towards endorsing the collective values and objectives of the group, and this increases the motivational levels of individual group members, consequently resulting in increased contribution to the overall and collective good.
Times are shifting and so are the views about leadership behavior. Considering the existing demand for increased ethical, people-focused style of management, leadership that is inspired by the ideas based on the servant leadership theory are the need of the hour for modern day organizations .
Leadership is regarded as the most crucial and important element in terms of initiation and implementation of the transformation of any organization. Numerous studies and researches reveal that the complete leadership models and standards are to be altered if leaders intend to create a kind of constructive impact and encouragement on the whole organization and its workforce. There is an intense need for leaders focusing more on change as well as who manage the transformation processes within organizations because it is the leaders who accentuate the importance of creating a clear vision and eventually encourage and inspire their followers to pursue the set vision thereby offering a strong force of motivation and bringing about the needed change in the followers.
According to Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, at present innovation and employee well-being are given high priority and so leadership that is concerned with ethical and caring behavior becomes of great importance. Leadership recently has been suggested as a key factor for productive workforce as well as thriving organizations; “during the past few years, leadership studies have clearly moved away from a strong focus on transformational leadership toward a stronger emphasis the interaction between leader and follower as key elements .”
It is claimed that leaders who unite their individual levels of motivation with their leadership style along with an intense need to serve, essentially display servant leadership. “According to van Dierendonck, servant leadership is demonstrated by empowering and developing people; by expressing humility, authenticity, interpersonal acceptance, and stewardship; and by providing direction.”
Leadership in the Era of Globalization
For clearly understanding the meaning of transformational leadership, it is necessary for one to understand the roles and responsibilities of a transformational leader. Transformation leaders are essentially value shapers, highly creative, and pathfinders. They interpret the purpose of the organization and creatively mold the culture of the organization in such a manner that organizations mark an innovative impact in the business arena.
Situational leaders are determined and consistent and they possess a vision which is so gripping that they are cognizant of their expectations from each and every step they take. They are convinced and confident about the kinds of culture that the organization needs to possess in order accomplish the purpose. The culture that the situational leaders tend to imbibe within the organization is based on the beliefs and values of the organization.
Situational leadership goes beyond the standard models of leadership that primarily highlights aspects like corrective action, reciprocal exchanges and prizes only in situations where group members display exceptional performance. Situational leadership is essentially about the belief and confidence that exists amidst leaders and their followers. Situational leaders provide the much needed space and liberty to their subordinates in order to ensure that they perform exceptionally thus growing up the career ladder. To be precise, situational leadership deals more with developmental and constructive leadership style of both the organization and every single employee of the organization .
Generally, transformational leadership can be defined as a process of inducing followers to represent specific business’ values and act on certain objectives. In the era of globalization, transformational leaders need to be highly appealing and worthwhile to the values of followers. At all times, it is necessary for them to have the greatest impact in order to fully motivate followers to perform productively and satisfy the expectation of the business. Through this process, transformational leadership can be considered as important element in raising the level of ethical aspirations and human conduct. In fact, leaders could only influence followers effectively if they could reach shared sense of priority and know the things that are worth doing well. In the field of business, transformational leadership could result to greater profit and market domination. Transformational leadership is something that modern leaders should have in order to gain an appealing agreement based on the values of followers. Under this leadership, every time the leaders see themselves in win-lose agreement they always try to convert it into win-win situation.
Transformational Leadership has essentially evolved from preceding forms of leadership and comprises of elements like charisma, situational and transactional forms of leadership. Precisely, there are 4Is that constitute the transformational leadership. The first I is Idealized Influence, the second I is Inspirational Motivation, Intellectual Stimulation is the third I and Individualized consideration is the last one. In the following paragraphs, each of these components is explained in little detail.
Idealized influence is the extent to which the transformational leader behaves in way that is venerated and recognized by the members of the team or the subordinates. Leaders following this style display conviction and they always stand up for the cause as and when required and also appeal to their subordinates more emotionally. This style of leadership is more about the leaders who have a clear set of values and it is increasingly about them exhibiting such values in every single action, thus behaving like a role model for the followers. This style of leadership necessitates an unpretentious faith to exist amidst the leader and the followers and only such kind of a genuine faith paves way to extreme levels of social and moral foundation.
Inspirational motivation is the degree to which the leader articulates a flawless vision to his followers in an appealing and inspiring way. Leaders having this kind of characteristic challenge their followers with extraordinary standards, communicate positivity about future organizational objectives, and offer meaning for each task to be performed. Followers of this type of leaders are expected to have a strong sense of determination if they are to be inspired and motivated to perform. It is also very vital that this visionary mannerism of leadership is strengthened by communication skills that primarily allow the leader to express the vision with extreme levels of diligence and authority in a persuasive way to their followers.
Intellectual Stimulation is the third I and one of the four important components of Transformational leadership. This trait is defined as the extent to which the leader experiments with assumptions, and readiness to take risk through soliciting ideas from the followers. Leaders possessing this trait are believed to inspire and boost creativity in their followers. The vision of these leaders offers the necessary structure to the followers for them to understand their association with the leader, the organization, their team members and the organizational goal that is to be accomplished ultimately. Once the followers are clear of the structure and are endowed with the necessary freedom, their creativity would become apparent in their performance.
The last component of the transformational leadership is individualized consideration which can be explained as the extent to which the leader takes care of the needs and expectations of each of his followers and takes the role of a mentor and coach by carefully listening to the follower’s needs and concerns. This trait also embraces the necessity for the leader to respect and appreciate individual contributions and achievements of all the members of the team as this would not only educates the future leaders, but also satisfies the individual self-actualization and self-fulfillment needs. Ultimately, all these would certainly drive the followers to perform better and helps them in growing and achieving more in the organization.
This initiative could bring more tangible outcomes in the business such as organizational excellence and exemplary performances. In order to establish a transformational leadership, leaders and followers need to maintain an idealized influence or genuine trust among themselves. There must be charisma and trust for both leader and follower that is built on ethical foundation and solid moral. Another attributes is inspirational motivation whereas leaders need to know how to provide challenges with their followers for greater shared undertaking and goal. Intellectual stimulation assists the followers to generate more efficient and practical solutions to any existing problem. The vision of a leader should work as a framework to all followers providing big picture on how both of them could effectively overcome any problems along the way. Finally, leaders must have individual consideration especially in treating each follower as individual such as in term of mentoring and coaching. This approach helps new generation leaders to fulfill the individual needs of their followers for self-fulfillment, self-actualization, and self-worth. Normally, these attributes encourage followers to have further growth and achievement.
The end result of effective transformational leadership is performances outdo the organizational expectations. As with any concept or notion to leadership or any other field for that matter, strengths and weaknesses come without question. Northouse , in his book Leadership: Theory and Practice, has listed the following strengths and weaknesses of the transformational leadership.
This theory is widely researched with reference to famous and renowned leaders. This particular leadership is believed to influence associates at all levels of the organization very effectively and besides it is known to be strongly highlighting the needs and values of the associates at each and every level. The main weakness of this theory of leadership is that it includes too many components that are broad in nature and which in essence perceive leadership to be a personality trait rather than view it as a learnable skill. Transformational leadership is not necessarily a personality trait or skill that is possessed by just a few fortunate individuals. Managers can be trained upon becoming transformational leaders with the help of significant positive suggestions for their organization. Managers can be trained to become transformational leaders through individual coaching sessions and also offering them workshops.
Great Leaders have always known to have clear vision and a sense of right direction for their organization. Being futuristic is very important in order to institute trust in the followers. In any given circumstance, it is very apparent that leaders are honest and if the followers or any single member of the team fails to have trust and confidence in his leader, then such individual(s) or followers fail to get inspired and motivated towards accomplishing the vision and goal of their leader. Leaders need to act steadily with their values and vision and also make their followers cognizant of the same. While there is no perfect style of leadership that fits all situations, an ideal leader must be able to rapidly change, tack, and style to suit situations and the mood of the team that is being led keeping in focus constantly achievement of team goals. This becomes the key issue. While there might be criticism that this is chameleon like behavior, the future where business demands are going to be dynamic and constantly changing in a highly volatile global business environment, further research must aide leaders in rapidly adapting to the demanding business situations.
There is a rapid and increasing interest in the field of transformational leadership globally as organizations are realizing the benefits that their organization can gain by using this technique. The need for leaders to completely recognize and appraise the competencies required to become a successful transformational leader is gaining rapid and high importance these days as a result of the rapid changes in the global marketplace in terms of innovation and long-term success. Transformational leadership is a very crucial role to be played by effective managers because it is the leadership effectiveness which will determine the success of the organization. Through transformational leadership, there is greater awareness on what is important and good in elevating followers’ needs for self-actualization and achievement. Indeed, it has capacity to move followers to go beyond their personal self-interests just to deliver what is good for the organization or group. When this leadership is achieved, both leaders and followers will be more satisfied emotionally about their jobs. Furthermore, transformational leaders usually have strong connection with their followers and both of their energies are focused in achieving maximum results with less oversight.
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