Leadership can be defined as the process of influence via which a person aids and supports others to achieve specific goals and objectives in a certain organization. This research is an in-depth analysis of two leadership theories namely, transformative and servant leadership according to Peter Northouse.
This theory was first initiated by Bernard M. Bass (1985) and James McGregor (1978) which became popular. The following concepts characterizes transformative theory of leadership.
- Idealized influence, which is the charismatic element where leaders become role models to the followers who in return respond by showing due to their leaders.
- Inspirational motivation to the followers obtained from relevant challenge by the leaders who arouse the team work spirit within themselves.
- Intellectual stimulation. This is an implication stimulating followers to be creative as well as being innovative by approaching problems in new and different ways.
- Individualized consideration. Here, the transformative focuses his attention to followers depending on individual followers dreams for achievement and growth.
This type of leadership was initiated by Robert K Greenleaf among modern organizational theorist. It advocates that leaders should be servant first.
- Service to others. The leader assumes servant position in the interaction with followers, and as a result, authentic and legitimate leadership arise.
- Holistic approach to work. This implies that, work exist for a worker as long as that particular worker, is still in existence.
- Promoting the sense of a community. Here, the community is groups of individuals who correlate with each other individually or as a unit to perform a certain function.
- Sharing power in making the decision. Cultivation of servant leadership in others can promote effective servant leadership. This can be achieved by nurturing participatory, encouraging talented followers and creating empowering environments.
Similarities in Transformative leadership and Servant leadership
As far as the comparison of these two leadership styles are concerned, they try to explain people oriented way of leadership. Their general framework of these two theories incorporates influence, trust, vision, mutual respect, risk delegation, modeling and integrity. It is also necessary to note that, servant leadership and transformative leadership emphasize on appreciation and consideration of individual followers. Development of conceptual matrix in transformative matrix at the theoretical dimensions, it idealized influence and motivation of the fellow worker which correspond to components of servant leadership.( Northouse 1997)
Transformative leadership and servant leadership evolve from higher order leadership paradigms. In both cases, the theoretical framework put much emphasis on the production and high concern for people.
The two leadership styles are neither is superior to each other paradigm inherently nor ant ethical. Instead, the two are similar complimentary but again, totally different concepts.
In both styles, the leaders have a role of influencing workers by serving them as the perfect role models in order to achieve goals and objective of the organization. This is practically evident when a charismatic leader, leads by an example in serving others authentically.
The risk of manipulation and corruption can be found in both leadership theories. This is always a stumbling block to those who are aspiring to be transformative leaders or a servant leader. This is because in two leadership concepts, they some certain amount of possibility to be manipulated.
A servant leader duty is to motivate and recognize greatness in others, and as a result, organizational success is obtained out of that. This is common to transformative leader who inspires and motivates followers by providing meaningful challenge to the workers. In both theories, the spirit of teamwork is achieved through interactive communication. This in turn, creates a bond that shifts values of the leader and followers to a common ground. Transformative and servant leaders seek to help others through the powers vested upon them
Difference between Transformative leadership and Servant leadership
Concerning the difference in transformational leadership and servant leadership, in numerous aspects, they are civil theories. Again, they form a unique separate theoretical structure of leadership mainly because of their primary difference. The distinguished difference between transformational and servant leadership occurs mainly on the leader.
While servant leader focuses on service delivery to the followers, transformational leader has enormous concern in engaging in the followers and support goals and objectives of the organization. The direction in which a leader focuses on makes him or her, becomes servant leader or a transformative leader. This is evident as transformative leaders depend mostly on charismatic potential to persuade followers while servant leaders influence their followers via service delivery. (Northouse 1997)
Servant leaders often pay much attention to the followers. Servant leaders do not have a particular affinity for concrete organization. This is contrary to the transformative leadership which focuses on the end product or the results of the whole process.
One of the main sources of stress in servant leadership comes from the fact that the leader would like to serve. This aim in most cases happens to supersede the goals and objectives of an organization. Servant leader believes in long-term achievement of the organizational goals through facilitated growth, development and well-being of followers and any other people who form part of the organization. On the other hand, transformative leaders struggle to align their individual ambitions with others’ people who form part of the organization.
Another difference in both types of leadership is that, servant leader will use service delivery as means to influence followers while transformative leaders use their charisma to influence their followers.
The motive of a servant leader’s persuasion is to facilitate and motivate stewardship by the followers. Through their service delivery, servant leaders establish the purposes of meaningful work and cater for the required resources. Through this tactic, it becomes a powerful tool to stimulate and influence the behavior of the people concerned. Conversely, transformative leaders rely upon their charismatic capacity. Charisma is identified as an example of personal power. The charisma and enthusiastic nature are use as the powerful ingredients towards motivation of the deemed followers.
Application of transformative leadership and servant leadership key concepts
In most cases, a leader of a certain organization will employ the most appropriate style depending on the situation at hand. There is no ideal transformative leadership or ideal servant leadership in a real life situation.
In transformative leadership, idealized influence implies the leader’s ability to build confidence and appreciation of the leader by the followers. This forms an significant basis for appreciating and initiating radical changes in the organization. Failure to have this vital virtue of confidence, any trials to redirect an organization might lead to revolt or resistance by the followers. By making followers ready to be lead, then already the transformative leader is successful in leading automatically. If a transformative leader performs duties well, then potential followers will believe in the leader and undeniably appreciate the leadership. This virtue of idealized influence represents a leader who sets a good example as a role model to his or her followers. In other words, followers try to imitate what their leader does for the benefit of the organization. The followers imitate the leader who reached the highest level of confidence and appreciation as landmarks for success. Achievement of this virtue ensures that the leader stands a chance of a conducting a radical change which is getting full support from the followers. Trust, honor, appreciation and admiration are all attained as a result of the leader having idealized influence. This makes the leader become an icon of ethical behavior and high moral standards hence followers are compelled to do the right things. This type of transformative leadership ensures that leaders do not use their powers to achieve their personal interest, but use the potential of their followers in order to realize the goals and objective of the organization.
For leadership to be transformative, inspirational motivation is crucial since it is the key element which motivates and inspires followers to behave in a certain appropriate way. When a transformative change is being conducted in an organizational group, it is the leader’s task to motivate followers to follow a new proven idea. It is therefore, important for the leaders to behave in a manner that is motivating and inspiring to the followers. The leader’s duty is to show implicitly show optimism and enthusiasm of the followers, ignite the spirit of teamwork, recognize positive results, put emphasis on aims and stimulate followers.
For an effective servant leadership, it is vital to observe the sense of sharing power in decision making. This can be achieved through cultivating a culture of servant leadership in others. It is through nurturing participatory, promoting talents of followers and encouraging environments that the servant-leader creates a more effective, self motivated workforce and consequently successful organization. Russell (2001) said that leaders enable action by others through power distribution and not conserving power only to themselves. Servant leadership sometimes is seen as an inverted pyramid. This is because the employees and clients, as well as, other stake holders are found at the top while the servant leaders are at the bottom. According to Sarkus, 1996, this leadership is turned inside out. This is because exemplary followers are products of delegated decision making. Servant leadership advocates on delegated organizational structures which are flexible, contrary to the classical pyramid of organization. A general conclusion from behavioral scientist is that servant leadership is forward looking and a post industrial paradigm form of leadership.( Steve Echols 2009)
In servant leadership empowerments involves investing in others with authorization power and entrusting them. Empowerment is a crucial element in successful servant leadership. Servant leaders multiply leaders by encouraging others to take the vital role of leadership. Empowerment calls for the leader to influence followers to pull followers to his side and energize and motivate them. The sole aim of empowerment in servant leadership is to create as much leadership as possible at all levels of leadership in the organization. This empowerment comes at a cost of leaders willing to become teachers.
Teaching is vital because goals, motives and values of followers are altered through this attribute of teaching. Again here the servant leader happens to assume the role of a teacher through maintaining a learning organization with learning outcome well stipulate in the back of his mind. The expected outcomes are teaching principle which is teaching principle so that others can follow them. Servant leaders equip their future leaders with ways to empower them to take the crucial role of leading the others.
Stewardship in servant leadership calls for managing affairs as well as property of the entire organization. This is a position of service and trust. Leaders should incorporate this virtue since it forms part of vital characteristic traits of a successful servant leader. Stewardship entails empowerment in the sense that both the follower and the leader should be excellent stewards. This can be successfully attained through distribution of responsibility and ownership in accordance with individual capabilities and talents. Stewardship is not a mere entitlement but it calls for accountability and honesty by any means possible.
Many people focus on servant leadership as an accepted model for modern organizations. However, this theory is somehow undefined and not fully supported by sufficient extensive research on the same. The attribute that are outlined provide the basis for research regarding the theory and a platform for basic experimentation. Any alteration to be made should be adjusted accordingly when the need arises.
Application of combined transformative and servant leadership
In any ideal organization, problems are bound to arise. Problem solving techniques is dependent on the involved stake holders. The leader has a crucial role of guiding his followers towards getting the right solution to the problem and not, necessarily providing the exact solution. However, it is the leader’s role to figure out the contextual framework of the problem and come up with a possible solution. The leader must show competency in problem solving, and high capability to foresee a problem arising again. Formulation of appropriate methods of solving and preventing recurrent of the problem in the future, is also quite crucial.
Consider a situation where a certain high school is in dire need of renovation is put under registration review. The school is characterized by little support from the parents, weak administration, low enrolment and transient student population. The school is located in an urban neighborhood. Parents initially were not invited to attend school business meetings and this totally disappointed them. Currently, a new principal has been posted to save the sinking ship. This is an excellent example in which the two leadership styles, servant and transformative, can come into play.
It is crucial to identify the supreme leader and other stake holders of the school and individual role of each member of the school. The government through the ministry of education had played an important role in bringing in a new principal to the school. It is the work of the principal using his intellectual capabilities of a leader to bring the school to the expected standards by the government. The principal as a transformative leader is supposed to use the power of idealized influence to build confidence in the teachers, students and parents. This virtue will form a basis for radical change in the school. The students should see the new principal as a role model and in return will try to achieve which is deemed unachievable. To the parents, it is vital that the principal engages them on crucial dialogue to discuss the way forward. In the discussion, the principal can explain to the parents their role and what is expected from each one of them. The teachers, who are crucial curriculum implementers, they should not be left behind. It is the duty and obligation of the principal through the idealized influence to explain to them the goals and objectives of such a school. The principal should give a helping hand in the restoration of the school back on its feet.
Now to achieve all this, the principal must have good communication skills from a servant leader’s point of view. Whenever the principal engages in a constructive dialogue, listening capacity is an important key to a servant leader. Listening is a critical tool for accurate communication and for showing respect to the parents, students and parents. The principal will exhibit his or her listening skills through responding appropriately to the specific problem. Through this, the principal will bring healing to the entire school. Healing in this case means to make whole again.
After listening and engaging in a constructive dialogue, the principal using intellectual stimulation, can initiate change in the school. As a transformative leader, the principal can use intellectual stimulation to stimulate the efforts made by the parents. This stimulation can lead to evolution of new ideas and ways to solve problems. In cases where ideas seem to contradict with those of the leader, the leader should build a group consensus. This is achieved through, persistent, gentle and clear persuasion and not, coercing parents or teachers to comply. This will ensure there is no tension in the running of the school. Parents will not see their principal as a dictator whose commands and wishes should be done without questioning. Instead,the principal should initiate an environment of mutual respect, conduce towards the restoring of the school to its required standard of performance.
The servant leadership style, which sometimes is seen as a bottom up approach, is specifically designed to handle the cultural change in an urban neighborhood institution. This approach coincide with an increase in a positive relationship in parents and students. From this perspective, the principal can show care about the progress of each students which will be evident to parents and students. Through this effort, the parents will respond well at the principal’s transformative leadership which is being practiced. This will be evident when parents and the students remarkably attributed to the change in culture because of the leadership being employed by the principal.
In a real life situation, any leader will not say that he or she is a typical transformative or a servant leader. This is practically true in a school’s contextual frame work. The principal can be the supreme leader in a school setting, but when duty calls, he or she can play the role of a servant. In this kind of at risk school, the principal is expected to lead by the example through personal sacrifices of time, money and any other resources. The principal should set an example of the desire to serve, not for personal interest, but for the success of the institution. This implies that the principal should be visible in leading caring and comforting. To exercise influence in the institution, the principal should establish appropriate visibility power by visibly interacting with the teachers. To do this, the principal will have a full functional administration. The powers will not only be solely vested upon the principal, but well distributed among the teachers. This act of delegation of powers to teachers and unobtrusiveness in monitoring them the overall reaction will be enormous power to work under minimum supervision.
In running an institution, it requires one to be more than just a leader. This is because a leader has the ultimate role to develop mechanisms of an institution that are practical and achievable. Any theory is just but a guideline towards better leadership but not the ultimate. It is through the leader’s insight, one determines which style of administration to employ, at certain instances.
Northouse P.G (1997). Leadership theory and Practice Sage Thousand Oaks CA. Retrieved 17 April 2013, from, /http:// home.ubalt.edu/tmitch/642/Northouse//09_PowerPoint.ppt
Echols Steve (2009). Transformative and Servant leadership. Journals of religious leadership vol. 8,Rertrieved 16 April 2013 from,/http//://arl-jrl.org/Volumes/Echols09.pdf