Term Paper: Leadership Theory Is a Complex

Pages: 8 (2566 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Unlike the Priest, the teacher does not preach religion, but mathematics, history, science, and English. The entire structure of compulsory education from the administration of the school district all the way down to the loan teacher is set up in as a Servant-Leadership hierarchy. The goal of the organization is to educate children and within that goal, the best way to do this is the continued use of Servant Leadership theories.

Servant-Leadership can be thought of as a gentle form of leadership when implemented in a religious organization, or a rather harsh form of leadership when it is implemented by the military. Regardless of how it is used, Servant-Leadership has two simple requirements. First, the person must start out as a servant; and second, the person must continue to serve even when in a leadership position.

It is easy to see how each of these theories has a personal effect on my life. There are definitely elements of each style which have found their way into the different aspects of my life.

For many years, I have worked at a retail store. The structure of the store is very clear. There are clerks on the floor with managers for each of the three departments. Some clerks are required to help people find items in the store, whereas others work the cash registers. Above the floor managers there are buyers and accountants each of which have their own manager. Then there is a Store Manager who manages all of the different elements. He manages everyone from those who work in the warehouse to those who work on the floor. Above the store manager are the owners and they have authority over every aspect of the store.

This hierarchy is built on a Situational Leadership model. It is very clear how people are promoted and why people are not.

The Store Manager started out on the floor. At first he simply worked, helping customers. Then he was promoted to the cash register. From their he moved around to a few different departments and got a taste of each part of the store. Soon after he was promoted to one of the floor manager positions. He continued to work his way up until he became Store Manager.

As this young man climbed the ladder of success he moved up both scales described earlier. He slowly moved up the maturity scale as he also moved up the R. scale. His ability to handle the tasks which he was provided allowed him to gain the ability to climb to the top.

At the other end of the scales, there are to this day those who will never move beyond the R1 stage and the Directing Stage. As the literature states, these people become more embittered by the day. The paradox of the situation is that the more hostile they become the less likely it is that they will see promotion.

During the summer over the last few years, I have had the opportunity to lead children in Day Camp activities. In this position I am a Servant-Leader.

When I first came to the camp, I was placed in a position wherein I had little responsibility over the children. This is probably not a bad idea as kids can sometimes be difficult to deal with. For the first season, I worked primarily in the background, helping organize activities over the phone and with parents. I made up permission slips and bought food for different functions. The kids knew who I was, but I was in the background.

In the second season, I worked with a leader as an assistant leader. I was involved in trips to the zoo and to the swimming pool. I assisted in hikes and bike outings. I learned how to discipline the children effectively and how to manage a large group of them.

It wasn't until the third season that I was provided with the opportunity to lead a group of kids on my own. My first trip with a group of kids alone was to a museum. On the whole the trip was a success. All the kids came home and none were left behind.

Essentially I was initiated in much the same way as other Servant-Leaders are initiated. I started at the bottom, as a servant first and worked my way to the top of this particular organization. However, even in the top position I was required to remain a servant first. I was required to serve the needs of these children above all else.

I believe that were I working for the day camp and became focused on personal gain, I would lose my position. If I did something that would better serve me than the children - taking the kids to an R. rated movie for example - I would no longer be a servant and when the leader in a Servant-Leader style position, decides to serve himself first he should lose his position as leader.

Leadership theories are important to study and understand. If one were to go into an organization and implement the wrong type of theory for that particular group, there would be major problems. Ultimately, the person who implemented the wrong leadership style would probably be forced out.

Situational Leadership and Servant-Leadership are two opposing forces in the world of leadership theory. Situational Leadership is probably best implemented in an organization which is focused on production such as a factory, an office, or any other type of business. Servant-Leadership on the other hand should focus on groups which are made up of volunteers. Churches and charities, non-profit artistic groups such as small theatre companies, and the military are often set up using this formula. It is important to look at any group that one might have a leadership role in an choose the most appropriate leadership style. If the style does fit, leadership in the group will be effective and the goals of the group will more likely be met.


Hersey, P., & Blanchard, K. (1969) Management of Organizational Behavior. New York: Pearson Education.

Blanchard, Kenneth. Situational Leadership. Retrieved March 3, 2003, from Organizational Development Portal. Website: http://www.odportal.com/leadership/fastlearner/situational.htm

Situational Leadership. Retrieved March 4, 2003, from Teal Institute. Website: http: / / www.teal.org.uk/situation.htm

Spears, Larry. What is Servant-Leadership? Retrieved March 4, 2003, from the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership. Website: http://www.greenleaf.org/leadership/servant-leadership/What-is-Servant-Leadership.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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