Essay: Servant Leadership

Pages: 3 (918 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Leadership  ·  Buy This Paper

Servant leadership is often associated with the Bible and Jesus Christ, it is totally compatible with most religions and theories of philosophy.

In this essay, this author will use be using "great man" theory and participatory leadership in order to explain inadequacies in Greenleaf's characteristics of servant leadership. While the egalitarian ambitions of the servant leadership approach are laudable, they simply do not work in real situations, especially military and corporate situations. As we shall see in the great man and participatory leadership theories, there is a need to inspire followers to carry out the wishes of the leadership. Great leaders do this through inspiration. The characteristic of humility in servant leadership may be adequate in religious or charitable organizations, but it is not valid in the real world.

A. Great Man and Participatory Leadership vs. Servant Leadership

One of the main issues that Greenleaf has to defend his theory against is that it is too naive to work. Humans are corrupt and can not carry out the high ideals implicit in its precepts Greenleaf & Spears, 2002, 22-24). In the opinion of this author, it is a criticism that Greenleaf does not adequately answer. This is particularly the case in the case of public service leadership theory, where the "great man" theory is often seen as necessary, especially in a crisis. What was formerly a problem with this theory, namely the quasi-mystical aura of the leader, has been broken down and studied. Since then, focus has been placed upon the work of integrating transactional and transformational types of leadership theory into comprehensive models in the pursuit of a more holistic approach to explain what Van Wart (Van Wart, 2003, 215-216). Since then, work like the Van Wart article has helped the "great man" theory lose much of what was seen as unscientific aspects in order to manage and create institutional culture (ibid., 225).

Participatory leadership theory takes this one step further by explaining much about why the followers of leaders participate willingly in bringing about the vision of the leader. Such participative leadership increases the quality of the any decision and increases follower commitment, motivation and satisfaction. While previous work has been done, it was lacking in empirical value. In the study article in the Journal of Organizational Behavior study by Somech, it showed that long-term relationships are more stable, although they function well in the short-term as well (Somech, 2003, 1003). While there was more need indicated for study, it has been shown that participatory cooperation from subordinates is very much contingent upon charisma. This may be possible with servant leadership over time, but there have not been empirical studies of this leadership style.

Most of the exchange of information regarding servant-leadership has been philosophical. Studies such… [END OF PREVIEW]

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