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Servant Leadership Notes to a School Paper

An approach to leadership called servant leadership focuses on developing employees to their fullest potential in the areas of task effectiveness, community stewardship, self-motivation, and future leadership capabilities (Shekari, 2011, p. 55).

Servant leadership is an emerging model of leadership characterized by its emphasis on strong follower-centric, altruistic, moral/ethical, and spiritual values (Shekari, 2011, p. 55).

Every leader should have a ‘servant’s heart’, show care and concern for others and be mentor minded, that is, have the desire and concern to build and develop others, even at his or her own expense (Shekari, 2011, p. 55).

Leaders bring out or suppress the tendencies of organizational members to behave in an ethical or unethical fashion (Reed , 2011, p. 416).

Servant leadership may be an effective means to creating ethical organizational climate and ethical culture that can moderate relationships ‘‘between an individual’s moral reasoning level and ethical/unethical behavior’’ (Reed , 2011, p. 421).

Servant leadership influences these relationships in that it was found to relate to lesser levels of job stress, higher levels of job satisfaction, and greater organizational commitment (Jones, 2012, p. 23).

Current examination of servant leadership does not differ significantly from views of servant leaders from thousands of years ago and throughout history (Jones, 2012, p. 26).

Primary aspects of servant leader behavior are empowerment, accountability, standing back, humility, and stewardship, leaving authenticity, courage, and forgiveness as secondary aspects (Dierendonck , 2011, p. 265).

In ethical leadership, however, the emphasis is more on directive and normative behavior, whereas servant leadership has a stronger focus on the developmental aspect of the followers. (Dierendonck , 2011, p. 257).

Servant leaders do not crave for the lime light and constant acknowledgement from others for their work (Doraiswamy, 2012, p. 180).

Thus servant leadership could help bring about a change in the working environment wherein people are listened to, allowed to take risks without fear, have a support or mentor during times of crises and do not compete in an unhealthy manner with one another (Doraiswamy, 2012, p. 181).

The act of listening is perhaps the most important facet of servant leadership (Kohle, 2012, p. 54).

Unlike some other types of leaders, servant leaders persuade their followers rather than force them into making decisions (Kohle, 2012, p. 54).

Servant leadership is easy for people with high self-esteem. Such people have no problem giving credit to others (Vinod, 2011, p. 457).

Judging and evaluating people erodes their self-esteem; servant leadership builds self-esteem and encourages individual growth while obtaining the organization s objectives (Vinod, 2011, p. 457).

Trust in leader refers to subordinates’ perceptions and beliefs of leaders’ ethical behaviors (e.g., honesty and integrity), and leader support refers to their perceptions of leaders’ helping behaviors (e.g. providing employees with suggestions to improve their job performance and supporting employee development) (Chung, 2010, p. 4).

Servant-leadership style is considered a natural model in the public sector because leaders in public organizations are thought to have stronger intentions to serve than counterparts in private companies (Chung, 2010, p. 3).

The idea of servant leadership sharply contrasts with the modern, linear, hierarchical, top-down organizational structure of power and control (Houglum, 2012, p. 33).

This concept is radically different than most of the “classical” forms of leadership espoused by numerous organizations, which focus on power, status, coercion, rank, short-term gains, and often use followers as a means to an end (Houglum, 2012, p. 34).

Servant leadership can provide a successful alternative to other leadership styles such as autocratic, performance-maintenance, transactional, or transformational (Melchar, 2010, p. 84).

In order for an individual to be considered a good leader, he or she must be trusted to be knowledgeable and competent about the business―this aspect was the most highly rated by the employees (Melchar, 2010, p. 84).

Servant leadership has also been described as a virtuous theory, a virtue being a qualitative characteristic that is part of one’s character (Jaramillo, 2009, p. 261).

Because servant leaders go “the extra mile” for the betterment of their followers, perhaps salespeople who benefit from this type of leadership feel compelled to reciprocate and act similarly toward their customers (Jaramillo, 2009, p. 269).

Jesus served so much that he gave his life; he was crucified and died on the cross (Patrick, 2012, p. 2).

Leaders relate well with their people yet they do more than relate with people, they give their service; they serve (Patrick, 2012, p. 8)

Great leaders such as Confucius believed that examples are far superior to mere words (Patrick, 2012, p. 7).

The servant leadership philosophy addresses both the leader's and the followers' roles, suggesting that meeting the needs of followers and encouraging the input of followers in the decision-making process will allow leaders to overcome the challenges faced by modem organizations (Savage-Austin, 2011, p. 49).

The goal of the servant leader is to strengthen others and to encourage a collective approach to fulfilling organizational objectives (Savage-Austin , 2011, p. 50).

While servant-leadership theory was developed in the United States based on American research, it does not appear that it is a model that is only applicable to the American leader or even one that is necessarily best suited to the American workplace (Hannay, 2009, p. 9).

It would appear that a culture rating low to moderate on the masculinity characteristic would provide an environment most conducive to the success of the servant-leader (Hannay, 2009, p. 7).

College athletes who identified their coach as having a servant leadership style were more confident, were better able to cope with adversity, were more coachable, concentrated better, handled pressure better, and were freer from worry than athletes with non-servant leader style coaches (Rieke, 2008, p. 236).

Servant leader coaches win more than their non-servant leader counterparts (Rieke, 2008, p. 236).

Many coaches believe that an autocratic coaching style is a necessity in order to instill mental toughness and promote the growth of mental skill in their athletes (Rieke, 2008, p. 235).

It appears to lie, paradoxically, with the coach’s ability to produce an environment, which emphasizes trust and inclusion, humility, and service (Rieke, 2008, p. 236).


Chung, J., Chan, S., Kyle, G., & Petrick, J. (2010). Servant leadership and procedural justice in the U.S. National Park Service: the antecedents of job satisfaction. Journal of Park & Recreation Administration, 28(3), 1-15.

Dierendonck, D., & Nuijten, I. (2011, September). The servant leadership survey: development and validation of a multidimensional measure. Journal of Business & Psychology, 26(3), 249-267.

Doraiswamy, I. (2012, May). Servant or leader? Who will stand up please? International Journal of Business & Social Science, 3(9), 178-182.

Hannay, M. (2009, February). The cross-cultural leader: the application of servant leadership theory in the international context. Journal of International Business & Cultural Studies, 1, 1-12.

Houglum, D. (2012). Myth-busters: traditional and emergent leadership. Emergence: complexity & organization, 14(2), 25-39.

Jaramillo, F., Grisaffe, D., Chonko, L., & Roberts, J. (2009). Examining the impact of servant leadership on sales force performance. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management, 29(3), 257-275.

Jones, D. (2012). Does servant leadership lead to greater customer focus and employee satisfaction? Business Studies Journal, 4(2), 21-35.

Kohle, P. (2012). Advising as servant leadership: investigating the relationship. NACADA Jouranl, 32(1), 53-62.

Melchar, D., & Bosco, S. (2010). Achieving high organization performance through servant leadership. Journal of Business Inquiry, 9(1), 74-88.

Patrick, K. (2012, March). Success in leadership is in giving. Global Education Journal, 1, 1-10.

Reed, L., Vidaver-Cohen, D., & Colwell, S. (2011, July). A new scale to measure executive servant leadership: development, analysis, and implications for research. Journal of Business Ethics, 101(3), 415-434.

Rieke, M., & Hammermeister, J., & Chase, M. (2008, June). Servant leadership in sport: a new paradigm for effective coach behavior. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 3(2), 227-239.

Savage-Austin, A., & Honeycutt, A. (2011, January). Servant leadership: a phenomenological study of practices, experiences, organizational effectiveness, and barriers. Journal of Business & Economics Research, 9(1), 49-54.

Shekari, H., & Nikooparvar, M. (2011, January). Promoting leadership effectiveness in organizations: a case study on the involved factors of servant leadership. International Journal of Business Administration, 3(1), 54-65.

Vinod, S. (2011, March). Servant leadership: a unique art of leadership! Interdisciplinary Journal of Contemporary Research in Business, 2(11), 456-467.

Blanchard, K. & Hodges, P. (2006). Lead like Jesus: Lessons from the greatest leadership role model of all time. United States: W. Publishing Group.

Duby, D. G. (2009). The Greatest commandment: The foundation for Biblical servant leadership. Liberty University.

Fischer, K. (Creator). Liberty University (Poster). (2010). Presentation: Biblical leadership [Video].

Greenleaf, R. K. (1996). On becoming a servant leader. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.