Servant Leadership: An Ideal Engine for the Companies to Drive On Essay

Introduction

The history of human civilization is in fact an account of the outcome of various leaderships ventures across the globe, where they helped in making or breaking the society, and this process would go on till the last day of the humans on earth and even beyond, if one considers the possibility of nesting in outer space in the future! This state of affairs speaks the significance of leadership in human lives, and thus the questions like “what makes a leader” or “what could be the ideal model of leadership” keep on floating and earn special attention in the times of change, as is the case of this era of globalization, when the mantle of leadership are being don by the corporate managers, who are now at the helm of the collective developmental process of the civilization under stiff competitive environment and who are assigned to align the power of the human conglomerate towards building a cohesive and cogent workforce to achieve company targets amid dynamic environment. This band of leadership thus requires more than what served good for their predecessors; and the leadership issue has become a subject of constant research and development. Therefore this paper explores, compares and contrasts four models of leadership based on four theories, viz., Trait, Behavioral, Contingency and Transformational theory, before reaching its own conclusion.

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Background of Leadership

Before reaching for the models, one has to bring in the basic components of leadership in the discussion, because that would provide the much-needed entailment of the nuances of those specific models. The basic elements of leadership are

1.      Effective Communication: Leadership is all about influencing people, obtaining their obedience and directing their in the chosen direction (Leadership, 2008), and for that matter, leaders cannot do without effectively communicating with their followers.

2.      Vision: It’s the ability to survey the forest rather than a tree – the leader should be able to see, draw and frame and finally unearth the big picture. Vision is the invisible ladder for the leaders to climb up to the hill of success!

3.      Application: While effective communication and quality vision happen to be the leaders’ car and its engine, then its wheel should be named as application, as it is the ability to apply the ideas effectively eventually makes a leader coming of age.

Researchers’ Views.There are many definitions of leadership as a whole, where their proponents stressed on its one or other elements, or some resorted to big paragraphs in their attempt to cover as much areas as they can think of. As for example, if leadership gurus like Stephen Covey counts leadership is all about “direction and goal” in his book “Principle-centered Leadership” (Covey, 1992), then John Maxwell views it as a “set of principles, which can be learned and applied” in his book “21 irrefutable Laws of Leadership” (Das, 2006). If that is not enough, Paul D. Houston and Stephen L. Sokolow pesents an eight-point of charter of leadership like below:

1.  Intention: The leaders should be able to clearly state their intentions behind their actions, which would be logical and morally acceptable to all of their followers.

2. Attention: Leaders should be attentive to the needs and benefits of their followers, and for that matter, they must possess the ability to visualize and create such benefits.

3. Unique Qualities: Leaders should be able to prove their superiority in some spheres of life, be it natural talent or acquired skill – it is this difference in ability that enhances the scope of leadership practice..

4. Sense of Gratitude: Commands are for the action, but reverence should be the guiding force for that command, as that would always remind the leaders about their special role in the society as leaders, besides lifting their interpersonal communication skills to a good height and making room in their hearts to appreciate others’ contribution.

5. Usage of Real-life Lessons: The leaders should be able to learn from life and share that experience with their followers. The power of this practice can be understood from the practice of great leaders like Lord Buddha or Holy Christ, who had created tremendous impact on the minds of their followers through simple stories that carried strong messages.

6. Holistic Viewpoint: All endeavors of the leaders should stem out of this perspective, as the leaders’ actions are expected to bring all the good things for the society

7. Openness: Transparency is an important element to become better leaders, where Leaders should utilize the scope of masterminding or brain-storming through such attitude and derive more force to hone and implement their ideas.

8. Trust: This happens to be the platform of the leaders. Trust remains to be the core reason needed for the leadership skill, as observed by Houston (2006), while suggesting that the leaders should apply trust to harp on the progressive idea on how to lead a certain group.

Researchers like Kouzes and Posner on the other hand want to be more specific about leadership qualities and thus they narrow down the list to a five-point program in their book “The Leadership Challenge”, where the points go like below:

1. Model the Way: Leaders should be role models for other members of the group. For that matter, they have to have certain inspiring characteristics.

2. Inspire a Shared Vision: Leaders should be able to act like a spark plug, which would unite the entire workforce behind them, each holding same dream in their heart and same resolve to realize that dream.

3. Challenge the Process: This refers to the flexibility of the leaders, on the contrary it asks for the necessary courage to take the right step at the right moment, even if that looks revolutionary under the traditional belief and practice.

4. Enable Others to Act: It is the leaders’ responsibility to make every follower feel equally important towards achieving the collective goal, this in a way, a process of enabling the followers to act in their way, where the leaders feel convinced about the efficacy of such act.

5. Encourage the Heart: Leaders ought to encourage their members through making them realize of their worth to the group, and for that matter, they should be able to rouse the positive emotion in their followers. That would empower them to perform better not only for the organization’s sake but for their own benefit as well (Kouzes, 2002).

The above broad based ideas eventually boiled down to various theories and models of leadership, where it can be well assumed that all such theories and models follow the old adage like necessity is the mother of invention. Companies are no less like humans, where each has its unique qualities and needs stemming out of constantly evolving environment of trade and commerce.

Theories and Models

In general, the contemporary leadership literature can be classified into four categories like below.
Trait theories
Behavioral theories
Contingency theories
Transformational theories.
For the ease of understanding, this essay discusses according to the order they came into being.

1900-s: “Great Man” Theories: These were confined in finding the qualities of the elite class only, The aura of elite culture governed such study of leadership.
1930-s: “Group Theory”: With the popularization of democracy, researchers  started dreaming about great leaders emerging out of the mass.
1940-50-s: “Trait Theory”: The proponents of this theory believed that leaders are born, not made, as they identified some common traits among good leaders, though failing to explain why some people in spite of having all or many such traits, could not become leaders.
1950-60-s: “Behavior Theory”: The void in earlier theories sparked fresh research on the behavioral process of the leaders, and in no time it opposed the trait theory by declaring that leaders can be made. It gave birth to the belief that inculcation of certain behavioral traits in people can elevate them to the rank of leaders. This theory had virtually democratized the issue of leadership and ushered a new horizon of finding the ways to instill leadership elements in people.
1960-70-s: “Contingency/Situational Theory”: The hype of behavioral theory died down when its proponents realized that human behavioral process is actually a dynamic subject as it has to match with the demand of the situation. This realization had prompted the researchers to assess and formulate the lists of probable situations, but to their dismay such lists failed to deliver, as they now realized that situations too are no less dynamic than behavioral traits. Thus, attempts to create leaders with the help of lists of situations with decision-trees or wheel diagrams proved abortive.
1980 onwards: Excellence Theories: The loopholes in those ideas generated a fresh outlook that focused on the end product of leadership, which is, “right thing”. Since then, the hunt is on for the magic formula of quality leadership that would be applicable irrespective of situations, i.e., it would be able to meet the dynamisms of both social and trade scene. Accordingly, the existing leaders are now being evaluated in the light of their degree of success, where the study attempts to cover every little detail of the leaders. (Transformational, 2007).
Observation. Judging the nature of evolution of theories, some trends can be observed –

1. The more deep humans delved into the subject, the more angles of concern they gathered.

2. With the development of technology and lifestyle besides the advent of globalization, the issue of right leadership is becoming complex day by day, where its connotations running against ethics, or turning revolutionary against the perceived concept of prioritizing the national or regional interest.

3. Such situations are influencing the researchers to focus more on the functional qualities of leadership – thereby attempting to narrow down the field to arrest the essential components in a given situation and the integrate them to find new models of leadership.

Trait Theory. John Gardener had prepared a list of traits (placed below) through which he wanted to underpin the essential components that he claimed as inherent qualities of a leader.
Physical vitality and stamina
Intelligence and action-oriented judgment
Eagerness to accept responsibility
Task competence
Understanding of followers and their needs
Skill in dealing with people
Need for achievement
Capacity to motivate people
Courage and resolution
Trustworthiness
Decisiveness
Self-confidence
Assertiveness
Adaptability
(Gardener, 1989)

One can easily see here that the list tried to settle the leadership issue within a fixed range of traits with the idea that inheriting such traits would make a leader competent in every sphere of leadership, be it a battlefield or a business sector. It completely ignores the impact of situation, which later has proved to be an integral issue with the making of a leader. However, in a more recent study shows that it might be possible to link some of the personality traits to achieve success in certain situations (Wright, 1996). Description of some of researchers’ works would explain it further.

Behavior Theory. Lewin et al (1938) worked on the formulation of transactional behavior style by reviewing the personality traits in autocratic, democratic ; laissez-faire style of leadership. In the process they observed two progressive facets of democratic leadership; one, consultative style (seeking ideas though keeping the decision-making with self) and two, participative style (allowing employees to have a say in the decision).

This perhaps inspired Fleishman (1945) to design a much-needed questionnaire (Leader Behavior Description Questionnair, known as LBDQ-XII), though it was tilted towards transactional leadership behavior than transformational and was devoid of Will-to-Power/Will-to-Serve proposition. His questionnaire is also known as two-factor model.

Katz et al (1950) came out with an improvised version of the survey questionnaire for organizations, where the focus was placed on production and employees within the ambit of transactional leadership. The inference of Katz et al also provided a clue towards successful leadership, as they observed that employee-centric leadership usually leads towards high productivity.

Flanagan (1951) emphasized on ‘critical incidents’, close to the mold of trait researchers, where it would collect inputs from subordinates to boss regarding their perception of effective and ineffective leader behavior. Thus things were taking shape gradually, as Merton (1957) emphasized on the significance of various roles leaders have to play and argued about the possibility of a set of role-specific forms of behavior that can be used as a ‘role set’. This finding highlighted the possibility to attain flexibility in leaders – where they can move on to transactional leadership to transformational leadership by tweaking their set-roles (Boje, 2000). Accordingly Tannenbaum ; Schmidt (1958) worked on the qualitative journey of leadership that moves on from autocratic pattern to democratic pattern – in a way presenting another avatar of transactional leadership.

Thus, transactional model with some dose of flexibility seemed to be the solution for leadership for a quite some time, before the researchers discovering its much touted Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) theory running roughshod with the misuse of the power of leaders and their satellites, besides drawing flak for applying extrinsic rewards arbitrarily. Researchers like Mintzberg (1973) then viewed managerial roles from a different perspective, where he identified the elements like interpersonal communication, information sharing and decision-making as the bones and flesh of leadership. Accordingly he stressed on the development of persuasive powers of the leaders by naming them as three roles of an ideal leader.

1.      Interpersonal roles: Figurehead, Leader and Liaison

2.      Information roles: Monitor, Disseminator and spokesman

3.      Decision roles: Entrepreneur, Disturbance Handler, Resource allocator and Negotiator.

Process Theory. If what a leader should do happened to be the main concern of the 20th century, 21st century geared up to find ways and means to create leaders. Howell ; Costeley (2001) ascertained that it is fairly possible to inject leadership behaviors in common people, who too would be able to recognize situations and apply their acquired knowledge in handling them. Accordingly  Howell ; Costeley presented a compact list of leadership types that fit into various behavioral processes and situations.
1.      Supportive leaders  (for considerate and mass oriented leaders).

2.      Directive leaders (for repetitive works)

3.      Participative leaders (for collaborative decision making process)

4.      Reward and punishment leaders (transactional leaders)

5.      Charismatic leaders (those who want to be a social icon)

6.      Boundary spanning (network) leaders (those who love networking)

7.      Builders of social exchange (those who love social networking) (Boje, 2000).

Trait vs. Process Leadership. With this list Howell ; Costeley shifted the focus from fixed idea of traits to a more dynamic situation, where they invited anyone to learn and become a leader. Thus the leadership issue gained new wind where the contemporary management felt relieved with this idea.
Classical Leadership. This still refers to the mass leaders who are regarded as larger than life by virtue of their proven track of capability. There is a marginal  division between classical and charismatic leadership,  where the later attracts the follower more with his/her personal appeal than the quality of leadership – however, there can be the reverse effect too – the leader’s quality might attribute to his/her charisma. Leaders like Alexander, Napoleon, Hitler, Joan of Arc or M.K. Gandhi belong to this category, irrespective of their success or failure and with respect to their ability to mobilize huge number of people towards their chosen direction.
However, success of Gandhi or failure of Hitler raises some points like below:

1. There are two groups of quality mass movers, where one group applies universal vision and the other wants to establish the mono-cultural concept (confining within the development of a particular group/race or region).

2. Most of these leaders made their own way – Gandhi opted to lead people from out side the establishment, Hitler made his own rule or Holy Christ was never after political power.

While the first point is still a potent factor in leadership, the second point has lost its relevance under the present context, as the leadership issue has been democratized to such a degree that there is place for every able leader in every field, especially in the field of trade and commerce.

Present Scene: Mass Leaders Giving in to Corporate Leaders
Accordingly it’s now the time of the corporate bigwigs to present new leaders for the society, whose contributions would be scalable in terms of company’s prosperity. Today there is no scope for modern management leaders to operate from outside the administration. As Doyle and Smith puts it:

“Being outside the formal power structure, but within an organization, can be an advantage – a classic example of this is Gandhi. He enjoyed more freedom of movement, the chance of focusing on the issue of social emancipation” (Doyle & Smith, 2001).

This shift of paradigm understandably has put the issue of leadership under new scanners, where the social scientists are leaving no points in their relentless quest to find out an all-purpose winning formula of leadership. As a result, there is now plethora of leadership models accompanied by critical descriptions – which in a way can even confuse the leadership aspirants – as to which model they should follow, or there might be a new coinage – “pick and choose” leadership theory!

Situational Leadership. Fred Fiedler’s “Contingency Model of Leadership” “emphasizes the relationship between leader characteristics and the situation” (Howell et al., 2001). This model refers to a flexible leadership that is capable of adopting different leadership styles according situation. Bloomed in 1960-s, the concept of situational leadership was shaped by Ken Blanchard, the management guru and author of “One Minute Manager” series of books, along with Paul Hersey (Famous, 1999). They took the amount of direction and support as the guiding force of this leadership where they stand like below:
1.      Directing: Through one-way communication, leaders analyze, determine and define the roles and tasks of the followers, and monitor the outcome.

2.      Coaching: In addition to the above, leaders allow followers to air their ideas and suggestions before making the decision all by him/herself.

3.      Supporting: Leaders pass on routine decisions to the followers in spite of their presence.

4.      Delegating: Leaders further release their control over the followers by letting them decide about when they need to involve the leader.

Understandably, this model depends much on the quality of followers rather than the leader, where the followers would believe that “success is not achieved totally by leadership alone” (Yaverbaum, 2004). As Blanchard and Hersey pointed out, here the leader’s style of functioning should be in appropriation with the ability and commitment of the follower. They created two primary models to merge into one:

LEADERSHIP STYLE

Supporting

(S3)
Coaching

(S2)
Delegating

(S4)
Directing

(S1)

D4
High Competence

High Commitment
Followers are experienced and confident with their ability to perform better – Even may be more equipped than the leader
D3
High Competence

Variable Commitment
Though equipped yet lacking in confidence or in motivation to deliver as deserved.
D2
Some Competence

Low Commitment
The follower’s skill level requires help, support and guidance – follower is somewhat willing to learn.
D1
Low Competence

Low Commitment
Lacks both skills and will to learn, no motivation or confidence is observed

DEVELOPMENT LEVEL

(Based on Famous Models, 1999)

The two models, representing leadership style (S1-S4) and development level (D1-D4) let anyone to act according to the situation. As for example, if the Leader asks a follower belonging to Category D4 and adopts S1 style (Directing), then it would be a mismatch, as it would be the same if leader adopts S4 pattern in the dealing with a follower belonging to D1. On the contrary, if the leader adopts S4 to D4 or S1 to D1, the outcome would be the best out of the situation.This model has the scope of elevating a follower from D1 to D4, and subsequently be in the position of a leader him/herself.

Participative Leadership. Participative leadership involves team members in making decisions to add more creativity to solve complex problems (McCrimmon, 2007). One of the most acclaimed researchers of participative leadership, Yukl earmarks four decision procedures that carries a leader from autocratic state of decision making to a collaborative state that includes delegation in the end. The journey of participative leadership thus stands like below:
1.      Autocratic decision: This can be considered as the nascent stage of the process, where the leaders start with non-participative mode and take decisions on their own.

2.      Consultation: Leaders develop openness and consult with the followers, weigh them and exploit them, yet taking the decisions on their own.

3.      Joint decision: Leaders democratize the process of decision further, where collective discussion, brainstorming, decision formulation culminates into decision, where leaders settle them as members of the decision-making committee.

4.      Delegation: Here the leaders turn totally democratic by empowering the individual or group to make decisions, of which the leader may or may not suggest any addition or alteration (Yukl, 1998).

The positive points of participative leadership can be jotted down like below:

1.      Enhancement of the quality of the decisions through masterminding or brainstorming.

2.      Enhancement of the self-esteem of the followers.

3.      Followers’ enculturation of decision-making process.

4.      Sharpening the followers’ skills of decision-making.

5.      Enhancing commitment of the followers.

6.      Facilitating conflict resolution.

7.      Contribute to team building.

Yet participative leadership has its pitfalls, though it surpasses trait or transactional leadership in terms of flexibility, because the quality of this process depends on several factors, like leaders’ intention, followers’ quality, etc. If the leaders delegate the job of decision making to their followers to evade responsibility or to cover own inadequacy, then that would drive the entire concept into nuts! However, under normal and progressive circumstances, another good feature of participative leadership is observed that it facilitates the grooming of future leaders (Yukl, 1998, pp 138-139).

Transformational Leadership. Transformational leadership involves ethics and sets long-term goals (Northouse, 1997). Understandably, this leadership aims to transform the followers. The term ‘transformational leadership’ came into being when J.V. Downton coined it for the first time in is book ‘Rebel Leadership: Commitment and Charisma in a Revolutionary Process’ in 1973, which was later introduced as a concept by James MacGregor Burns in his book ‘Leadership’ in 1978, who presented its definition –  “it occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality”. Inspired by Abraham Maslow’s famous ‘Theory of Human Needs’, Burns set his perspective of transformational leadership with high level of self-esteem and self-actualization to see an authentic transformational leader. His perception of values, purpose and meaning corroborates that too, as he says, “Essentially the leader’s task is consciousness-raising on a wide plane… The leader’s fundamental act is to induce people to be aware or conscious of what they feel – to feel their true needs so strongly, to refine their values so meaningfully, that they can be moved to purposeful action” (Burns, 1982, pp 20-44).

Armed with ethical and moral connotation, Burns’s model of transformational leadership gained popularity among researches’ circle, as it was the first of its kind which asserted that true leadership does not limit itself by achieving goals under a given frame of environment, but walks extra miles too, to bring in changes among people involved in the process of achieving the goal.

Bernard Bass, a disciple of Burns, improvised the model by observing the impact of transformational leadership on the followers and came up with his inference like below:

1.      It increases the followers’ perception regarding the importance of the task and its value.

2.      It raises the sense of the significance of collaborative living and helps the followers to focus more on achieving the organizational goal rather than focusing on individual goals.

3.      Accordingly, the followers active their higher-order needs.

It would be pertinent to mention Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of  Need to explain the nature of transformational leadership,  because no one can deny the deep relationship among need, motivation and leadership – where leadership is totally dependent on need and motivation of its followers.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.  Maslow (1908-1970)[1] outlines the human needs that fuels the motivation, and he divides the human needs into five broad based categories like below:

1. Physiological Needs: Air, water, food and Sleep – these are the basic needs of humans and they need to fulfill them before arriving at the next level of need like Safety need.

2. Safety Needs: Humans need safety in both living and in workplace, and a secured state provides them much needed mental space and time to pursue another vital need like Social Need.

3. Social Needs: Humans are social animal, and socialization, or enhanced interpersonal communication are the elements that fulfill their social needs, which in turn paves the way for the next need, that is Esteem Need.

4. Esteem Needs: To fulfill this need, humans turn their focus on self-esteem that involves recognition and social status to enjoy self-respect or sense of achievement.  This creates the platform to pursue the self-realization process.

5. Self-actualization: Human life is ideally poised to pursue this need, where it engages itself in the quest of knowing the self – deciphering its finer details and eventually basking in the happiness of discovering the meaning of life from many perspective (Maslow’s, 2008).

Transformational leadership exploits the elements of four leadership qualities like

1.      Personal charisma, magnetism or influence of the leader.

2.      Leaders’ ability to motivate the followers with convincing logic and articulation, guided by knowledge and creativity.

3.      Two-way intellectual connectivity between leaders and followers.

4.      Individual contact with each of the followers.

Such an assembly line puts transformational leadership ahead of its counterparts like trait, charismatic or transactional leadership. The difference between transactional leadership and transformational leadership can easily be seen by using Maslow’s model as yardstick – while transactional leadership relies only on tangible reward to earn motivation from its followers (catering to the lower order of needs), transformational leadership aims to take its followers to the higher form of understanding and thus rewarding them with intangible, yet most desirable items like self-realization and happiness. In this case material or tangible reward becomes just a byproduct of the main, deserving goal. Thus it would not be unjustified if someone counts transactional leadership as just a frugal part of transformational leadership and hence cannot be compared.

If the recognized characteristics of leadership are kept into a box then that might look like below, from where one can create three dimensions of leadership.

Figure – 1

 The XYZ in the Box Model of Leadership based on “The Leadership Box” (Boje, 2000).

Here the X Dimension runs from transactional to transformational leadership, according to the observation of Burns (1978) and Bass (1985), while Y Dimension represents Nietzchean Will to Power theory, that speaks about power-hunger of the leaders that involves Darwin’s natural selection, where the “will to transform the inherited advantages from generation to generation too has a bearing on the leadership” (Boje, 2000).

Z Dimension deals with the nature of leadership voice, where it ranges from monophonic (single voice) to polyphonic (adding others’ voices, signaling participative leadership) voice. This was the observation of Kirkeby, a professor in management philosophy and the author of the book, “Management Philosophy: A Radical-Normative Perspective”, where he perceived the journey of leadership voices somewhat like below:

1st Voice: Monologue – one voice speaks for all and too all.
2nd Voice:

Leadership voice turns into dialogue as leader listens to others’ voice too.
3rd Voice: It refers to inner voice (conscience), what Adam Smith, the cult figure in sociology, described as “internalized spectator.

4th Voice: It doesn’t even require sound. Embedded with realization, it is much like spiritual listening or turning into nature!

The journey of voice clearly shows that there is more in leadership that goes beyond the transactional plane to one of all pervasive realm of realization. However, the search of best possible leadership model doesn’t end with transformational leadership, as a newer attempt to improvise this leadership has generated another leadership model, which is known as “Servant Leadership”.

Servant Leadership. Total devotion to service is the hallmark of servant leadership, where the leaders dedicate themselves towards the chosen cause that would involve the development of the followers as its integral part. Here the focus of the leader remains fixed and untainted with its primary aim to serve others (Greenleaf, 1977). One great example of such leadership remains in the life and work of Holy Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:25-28) as Christ ushered total change from the core of his followers through serving wholeheartedly to them. No wonder then, why modern management is increasingly bending on servant leadership as a proven solution for all situations.

Researchers like Stone and others (2004), maintain that servant leaders can be termed as Type S leaders under the framework where servant leadership is considered as Theory S and is distinctly different from three other theories viz., X, Y and Z as earmarked by McGregor (1967). The briefest description of them looks like as below:

Theory X: Considers workers lazy and thus need to be monitored and governed.

Theory Y:  Considers workers as self-motivated and responsible and have deep interest in their work.

Theory Z: Applies both the ideas as and when necessary.

Theory S: Takes care of leadership motivation and ensures the creation of a bridge of trust between the leader and the workers, where the workers respond to the situation with a belief that the leader is actually trying to empower them.

It is this gross difference in outlook and execution makes servant leadership as the most revered model among all four basic categories, as here the leader becomes a selfless catalyst for change. Servant leadership is guided by the spiritual knowledge and sense of ethical axioms, which goes beyond the material transaction of the world and seeks to take its followers towards the road of infinite joy and happiness, which is the ultimate desire of humans and which is unattainable only with material satisfaction. Servant leaders try to change their followers from the core, where the said change is the best possible solution under the circumstance, and they are not driven by any other personal desire to gain out of their act. In a way, servant contains a wholehearted attitude of devotion placed before governance, and accordingly servant leaders’ instructions turn into guidance for their followers and eventually stand as spiritual sparks for the followers to start again with a fresh mind.

The famous Maslow’s model too depends heavily on this kind of leadership, as its ultimate goal, “self-actualization”, look a possibility through the prism of it.

A quick glance on the comparative study of Winston and Hartsfield on various ideas regarding servant leadership could speak of its vastness and superiority over other leadership styles.

Page & Wong (2000)
Patterson (2003)
Russell & Stone (2002)
Sendjaya (2002)
Winston (2003)
Authentic
Agapao
Appreciation of others
Authentic self
Agapao
Caring for others
Altruism
Credibility
Empowerment
Altruism
Decision-making
Empowerment
Empowerment
Equality
Commitment to the leader
Goal-setting
Humility
Influence
Mentoring
Service
Integrity
Service
Integrity
Role modeling
Service to the leader
Leading
Service to the follower
Internal self-change
Self-awareness
Trust
Leading
Trust
Modeling
Self-perception

Modeling
Vision
Persuasion
Trust

Team-building

Pioneering
Vision

Visioning

Service

Trust

Adopted from Winston, B. and Hartsfield, M. (2004)

The working pattern of transactional and transformational/servant leadership can be depicted through the diagram like below:

While transactional leadership concentrates only on a frugal part of the followers’ world, transactional/servant leadership covers all of them.

Therefore, the essence of the servant leadership can thus be realized through the following powerful set of words:

However, each of these words deserves some explanation under the context.

1. Moral Love: This forms the core of the servant leadership, as  Winston (2002) says, “moral love compels the leaders to consider their employees in a holistic manner, taking into account their needs, wants and desires.

2. Humility: It is the top degree of modesty that engulfs a human (Hare1996).

.3 Altruism: It’s about total concern about others’ well being (Patterson, 2003). Kaplan adds to this idea by saying that such emotional awareness should be bereft of any thought involving one’s own well being, besides containing tendencies of personal sacrifice”(Kaplan, 2000).

4. Self-awareness: Leaders should be able to recognize their feelings and to distinguish between them, besides being able to determine the cause working behind it. (Baron, 2004).

5. Authenticity: It is the power to know and understand one’s values (Kouzes ; Posner, 2002), and from the broader perspective it includes sub-dimensions of humility, security, integrity, vulnerability, and accountability” (Sendjaya and Sarros, 2002).

6. Integrity: It is the integrity between thought and action, where the leaders’ thoughts would be directed towards doing good for the world. As Wright would say, “Integrity denotes the alignment of our voice and touch, the consistent living out of our character intentionally and openly, seeking to become the person we purpose to be” (Wright, 2004).

7. Trust:  This trait/quality/spirit of the leaders reveals their “honesty and openness, which is consistent with values” (Kouzes and Posner, 2003, Yukl, 2002), where leaders “communicate clearly and with all seriousness to fulfill their promises” (Kouzes and Posner, 2003).

8. Empowerment: This is the most vital element of servant leadership that makes it look totally different from other styles of leadership – because it sees all followers as prospective servant leaders and acts towards realizing that view.  So much so, the proponents of it feel that it is the “responsibility of the leaders to help their followers to become servant leaders themselves” (Stanley and Clinton, 1992).

9. Service: All of the above points can be considered as tools for the leaders to excel in this faculty, as the drive to serve has to be the primary engine of this kind of leader. As Greenleaf would put it, “The servant-leader is a servant first” (Greenleaf, 1977).

It would be pertinent here to compare servant leadership with others.

Servant Leaders
Other Leaders
MOTIVE
Use their power to develop the followers
Use their power to control the followers
PREFERENCES
Prefer inspirational and transformational power as means to influence and transform the followers
Prefer position, political and coercive powers as means to rule with total authority and control the followers
MECHANISM
Less stress on control and more focus on influencing the followers.
Maximum stress on control and less attention on influencing the followers
ORIENTATION
Relation-oriented. Sensitive to individual and situational needs with the urge to serve.
Power-oriented. Sensitive to any loss of power. Taskmasters and directional.
SKILL
Need a total set of positive inner qualities besides interpersonal skill.
Need to garner total loyalty and to enforce obedience and conformity from followers.
ATTITUDES TOWARDS VULNERABILITY
Risk-takers by being vulnerable by trusting and empowering the followers.
Refrains from taking such risks.
ATTITUDES TOWARDS HUMILITY
Rises to the connotation, servant leadership by serving all the way
Busy in feeding their ego.
Adopted from Wong, (2003), which have been prepared from a large base of literature (e.g. Lewin, 1951; Fleishman & Harris, 1962; Likert, 1961; McMahon, 1976; Stogdill & Coons, 1957; Yukl, 2002), which compares task-oriented, directive and autocratic leadership and people-oriented, relational and empowering types of leadership, the platform of servant leadership.

Discussion

Considering the review and the study of the above, the following points can cover the issue of leadership:

1. Everyone has one or the other the trait of leadership, irrespective of their background and most of them, if not all, can rise to the rank of a leader.

            2. Leadership traits can be identified and cultivated/manifested.

3. Leadership is a dynamic subject and the leaders need to update them.

4. Leadership commands more than transactional ability.

5. Great leaders respect everything and they are expected to communicate effectively with everyone or everything of this earth even without uttering a single word.

Leadership qualities

However, it would not be irrelevant if one at this point turns towards the classical approaches to management and think how servant leadership fits in to its three wings like Scientific Management, Administrative Principles and Bureaucratic Organization. One can tag in the doyens of the respective group as well, to gather their idea for the purpose of evaluation. For instance, one can take Frederick Taylor for Scientific Management, Henry Fayol and Mary Parker Follet for Administrative Principles and Max Weber for Bureaucratic Organization. Thus snapshots of their ideas would surely help to evaluate the scope of servant leadership under the present context.

Scientific Management: Taylor: Developing rules of motion, standardization of work implements, ensuring proper working conditions for every job, proper selection of workers, providing proper training and proper incentives, providing work-support through careful planning and providing support to remove workplace obstacles.

Administrative Principles: Henri Fayol:

1.Foresight, organization, command, coordination and control.

Administrative Principles: Mary Parker Follett: Utilization of groups, organizations, helping out all, binding all by integrating the interests of all, arousing the sense of ownership by creating the sense of collective responsibility, enhancing the awareness of systems thinking, enhancing the awareness of the sense that all company activities are directed towards social benefit.

Bureaucratic Organization: Max Weber: Maintaining rationality, applying logic and principles.

Accordingly, foundations in the behavioral or human resource approaches to management can be divided into four segments like below:

Foundations in the behavioral or human resource approaches to management

Studies of Hawthorne thus focused on economic incentives and physical conditions that can have bearings on output, besides checking factors that can enhance productivity, like Group atmosphere, Participative Supervision, Employee attitudes or Interpersonal Relations and accordingly observed the following results:

1.      No consistent relationship can be substantiated.

2.      Outcomes are influenced by psychological factors.

3.      Productivity is basically influenced by social and human concerns.

4.      Therefore personal attention on individual brings out the best in people.

Next, Maslow’s hierarchy of need can be summarized in this fashion:

1.      Deficit Principle points to the fact that a satisfied need looses its sting as a motivator.

2.      Progression Principle points to the fact that a need turns motivator from the moment of fulfilling the preceding low-level need.

3.      Above principles die down at self-actualization level.

McGregor’s Theory X & Y arrives at following points:

1.      In the case of X with unwilling workers, managers make workers dependent and reluctant.

2.      In the case of Y with willing workers, managers create a positive situation for workers to respond favorably and thereby achieving high performance.

Argyris’s Adult Personality theory points at

1.      Classical management principles (read conventional practice of leadership) and practices hinder worker maturation.

2.      Management practices should make room for mature personality by raising task responsibility, task variety and by using participative decision-making.

Now it can be seen that servant leadership contains all the elements that can cater to this pack of needs, as it walks extra miles by virtue of self-sacrifice of the leader who rises above the rest with selfless service, which in turn eradicates the following disadvantages:

1.      Ego crises

2.      Favoritism

3.      Politics

4.      Miscommunication

5.      Misunderstanding

6.      Lack of Motivation (where conventional leaders fail to realize personal goals)

7.      Lack of Application

On the other hand, it can enhance overall productivity and provide tremendous boost to the organization by enhancing/creating the following scopes:

1.      Participative decision-making

2.      Making room for growth of every follower

3.      Imbibing sense of belonging and thus collective responsibility

4.      Raised level of interpersonal communication

5.      Making everyone attuned to provide their best, thus creating an automated state of motion

6.      Cumulative focus enhancing the scope of envisioning and preparing for future situations

7.      Shifted focus from individual gain to one of collective gain on material plane with the belief of attaining self-actualization

8.      Achieving as a team and serving as a hub of social development.

Conclusion
Though the basic qualities of leadership like Competence, Consistency, Loyalty and Openness remain constant, servant leadership seems to be best platform to exploit all of them to their fullest potential. Therefore, leaders settling for servant leadership model under the present context stand to remain at good stead, as it contain no hidden agenda, has no hassles of compromising to the situation, and instead provides a rock-solid foundation to the leaders. The learning curve of this study ends with this realization that servant leadership perhaps aligns with all the goodness of humans, besides carrying a magic safety net for its pursuers, who would never be plagued by any dilemma or confusion to carry on with their work. Therefore, Servant leadership is the best way to follow or to groom oneself under its halo.

Ends

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[1] A devoted Social Scientist who researched extensively to create a workable pattern and placement of various human needs, where he traced clues in monkeys!