Servant leaders in western culture practice various leadership qualities such as healing and commitment to the people, empathy, foresight, awareness, persuasion, building community, conceptualization, and stewardship. In Christianity, the servant leadership principles are based on dedication, care, humility, and love (Ingram, 2016).
There are similarities and differences between servant leadership and other perspectives of service and leadership. Just like servant leadership, affiliative leadership aims at creating harmony in the work environment by building emotional bonds. Affiliative and servant leaders empathize and connect with their workers, and ensure that the workers join. Affiliative leaders should employ the persuasion quality of servant leaders to persuade the workers by giving them logical reasons behind the task (Salehzadeh, 2017).
Autocratic and bureaucratic leaders make decisions on their own or with a small, trusted team, and they expect employees to follow those decisions without questioning. Employees are constantly supervised to ensure they adhere to the set of rules and regulations (Salehzadeh, 2017). On the other hand, servant leaders allow employees to take part in decision making and encourage them to set their personal and professional goals high. The leaders have confidence that the employees will achieve those goals.
Servant leaders promote respect for multiculturalism and diversity within organizations in various ways. For instance, in Yuma Community Food Bank, where I worked as a volunteer, leaders employ servant leadership skills, which promote diversity in the company. They have built a solid foundation by establishing diversity within various teams and leading by example for others to follow. They have set the company goals, mission, and vision statement, which bind the diverse groups in the company. Servant leaders engage the teams in healthy competition, which promotes creativity and creates ownership for the benefit of the company. They also share decision making power with their employees by empowering the teams to make decisions by themselves to support their diverse thinking. The company leaders acknowledge the success of the diverse groups, which motivates them to incorporate more diverse thinking and creativity to meet the goals of the company.
Taking a servant’s roles can make a person a leader. Communication involves effective talking and listening, but many leaders talk more than they listen (Sendjaya, 2016). In Yuma Community Food Bank, servant leaders listen carefully and intently to their staff and respond to the information they get. By doing this, they take the role of listening, which is mostly considered as a servant role. They deeply understand and empathize with their subjects and recognize and accept that they are unique and have different points of view.
Servant leadership requires a servant leader to be committed to the growth of people since individuals have a more excellent value that exceeds the value of the work they do (Sendjaya, 2016). Servant leaders in Yuma Community Food Bank are committed to the professional and personal growth of all individuals under their control. They work for their people by paying more attention to the customers and not towards the leadership. The leaders prioritize the well being and welfare of their subjects.
Service in Yuma Community Food Bank builds character, integrity, and inspires professional growth in different ways. Servant leaders build the employees’ characters by engaging them in the decision making process and trusting their judgment. They believe in their employees’ capabilities hence instilling self-confidence within the workers. The leaders consistently motivated us to set our personal and professional goals high, and they had confidence that we would accomplish those goals. This inspires professional growth as the employees strive to achieve higher goals and believe they can even achieve more.
Servant leaders in the organization set examples that demonstrate integrity by expressing what they feel (genuineness) and what they believe (honesty). They don’t lie, exaggerate, misrepresent, or hide their thoughts as they keep up with their commitments. This helps to build integrity among the employees and other stakeholders as they admire the character strength of their leaders’ integrity and follow their examples.
Ingram, O. C. (2016). Servant leadership as a leadership model. Journal of Management Science and Business Intelligence, 1(1), 21-26.
Sendjaya, S. (2016). Personal and organizational excellence through servant leadership. Springer International Pu.
Salehzadeh, R. (2017). Which types of leadership styles do followers prefer? A decision tree approach. International Journal of Educational Management.
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