- August 16, 2012
- Posted by: essay
- Category: Free essays
One of the famous leadership theories, namely of Servant Leadership was developed by Greenleaf. His research he started from the idea that in reality servant can be a leader. He wrote about this “As it was the idea lay dormant for 11 years during which I came to believe that we in this country were in a leadership crisis and that I should do what I could about it.” (Greenleaf, 2003). As time passed the author managed to make a book out of an essay, from which the theory of the Servant Leadership roots. The process of servant ”“leader transformation according to Greenleaf starts from a person becoming a servant first with a natural feeling that he wants to serve. Later he starts to strive for becoming a leader. From the very beginning this could sound senseless, because servant has been never associated with a leading position. However the more detailed explanation of the author contributes to perception of this notion from the other side; servant ”“ leadership presumes that a real leader should serve other people, being focused on positive results for them and on organization’s values. Greenleaf stated, that trustees””board members””are the “prime movers in institutional regeneration” when they accept full responsibility for the fate of the organization, ask the right “big picture” questions that lead to clear institutional goals and strategic plans, and employ staff answerable only to the board (Frick, 2004).
Thus Greenleaf was the pioneer of a new approach towards leadership theories, as many other researchers supported and developed his views. Due to the fact, that this leadership theory is built on the basis of collaboration, trust and ethical application of power means, on the fact, that a person is to serve the community he is living in and should make decisions aimed at positive outcomes for others around him, it was even put in close connection to religion ”“ “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45) (Frick, 2004). Nowadays, the attitude to Greenleaf’s ideas is not simple, because most of the modern leaders prefer to base their power on control, rather then mutual agreements and to be more concentrated on achievement of the goals, which would contribute to fulfillment of their personal career expectations rather then solving public problems and serving needs of his followers. Maybe the approach of Greenleaf to leadership description is in a way idealized, but on the other hand leading position can no be held only on the basis of pure control and manipulation, a leader is followed, when he is respected and appreciated, if he is not followed ”“ he risks loosing his leader’s position. Thus, it seems necessary to study and to analyze this approach, if not in details, then at least for its basic arguments and reasons.
In any small group or huge organization or a society as a whole there are always people, who are able to generate ideas, are ready to take responsibility and to take important decisions, those, whose ideas are considered by the rest and often followed, those, who are able to convince and to lead ”“ saying in one word- leaders. This structure probably exists as long as people exist and is not going to change as it seems. Person’s position in the society was studied from various perspectives and this is evident, that there is a need for leaders everywhere. Certainly roles and models of the leaders are changing with time. Many years ago for example the image of a real leader was related to conquests and ruling power. Nowadays, the tendency towards balanced regulation and common benefits for leaders and society is developing. Ability to bear responsibility and finding consensus are now more appreciated than physical strength or ability to subdue. This is clear that all the modern leaders have various aims and various levels of preparation for achievement of these goals, but we cannot imagine a company without top management or a state without political forces, directing the major development of the country. Because of this today it becomes vitally important to encourage and support new leadership understanding (Gardner, 2006). The notion of the leader, as it was already mentioned, became now much wider and more challenging ”“ individualism cannot any more be considered as ruling point of society development. There is a growing need of well-balanced order in the society and a deserving leader is to combine the knowledge of all leadership theories and positions, is to be able to act adequately in a critical situation and serve the interests of his followers.
In this paper we already discussed some approaches to leadership along with the importance of training leaders for the future on the basis of various modern models and theories. Leadership is a many-sided notion and thus should be studies from various perspectives. We won’t be able to discuss here all the theories developed for a more precise description of a leader, but we will stop at some most widely used and unified: emotional intelligence, authentic leadership and trait theory.
Emotional Intelligence (EI), often measured as an Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), describes an ability, capacity, or skill to perceive, assess, and manage the emotions of one’s self, of others, and of groups” (Wernsing, 2007). Due to the fact that this approach is quite new and is still under research, the definition of emotional intelligence is also rather flexible and can be changed. The roots of this theory are found in of the Darwin’s works ”“ discussing the importance of emotional expression for survival and second adaptation (Wernsing, 2007). In 1920s Thorndike, came to the conclusion that social intelligence is one of the key points for understanding and managing others. Along with various definitions for EI, a number of models have been developed, they include: Ability-based EI models; Mixed models of EI; Trait EI model (Wernsing, 2007).
Theory of authentic leadership can in a way confront that of servant leadership, because its major basis is the ability of the leader to feel so well in his “skin” that he doesn’t even need to please other members of the society. Such leaders are said to have abilities to gather people and motivate them; in other words authentic leadership is defined like “a process that draws from both positive psychological capacities and a highly developed organizational context, which results in both greater self-awareness and self-regulated positive behaviors on the part of leaders and associates, fostering positive self-development” (Spears, 2005). Authentic leaders are able to trace and analyze the skills and methods used by other successful personalities and transform them into their own forms of leadership.
They derive their motivation not from their social position or status, but from their own values and beliefs.
Trait theory of leadership is close to authentic leadership, as it also declares the presence of certain leadership characteristics as traits of a personality, which are to be revealed through special research and studies. There is a number of leadership traits, pointed out by various researchers, however five can be singled out as most common and most important: intelligence, self-confidence, determination, integrity and sociability (Spears, 2005). This means, that a person is likely to become a successful leader only under condition, that he possesses all these traits.
One of the week points of this theory is actually the primer concern with leader’s traits and not with the role of the leader’s followers and the situations itself.
To this section we can conclude that there is a great number of versatile approaches to the notion of leadership as one of the important components for building the social order and successful social organization. If we were to work out another approach, we would try to combine all the most important components of other leadership theories, including: personal characters traits, ability to set and achieve goals, to take decisions and to bear responsibility for this decisions, consideration of social interests and serving them first of all, even if along with aiming at personal professional achievements. The more detailed characteristic should be to our opinion related to the concrete situation of the leadership – political or business, social or domestic and so on.