A leader’s job is not to leverage their followers, but to create leverage for their followers. How does a leader find out what their followers need to be successful and provide those things to them? Only by being a true “Servant Leadership” This is a question that has baffled many scholars throughout history. One such answer could be Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership emphasizes that leaders be attentive to the concerns and needs of their followers, as well as empathize and nurture them. Servant leaders put their followers first, empowered them and help them to develop into their full personal capabilities (Northouse, 2019). In this blog I discuss servant leadership and what it consists of. As well as give a great examples of it.
Many scholars throughout history have tried to define servant leadership from many different perspectives. The most consistent notion within servant leadership is one wants to serve first (Northouse, 2016). Afterwards, an individual then makes a conscious decision to aspire to lead. This kind of leadership is very unlike most leadership styles incurs a more authoritative or dictating manner of leadership. Sacrificing one’s self for another is not the typical trait that many people think a great leader is to have. This concern for a follower, is what set’s servant leadership aside from other styles of leadership.
Servant leaders have ten unique characteristics which helps it stand out among other leaders. These ten characteristics are listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, and building community (Northouse,2016). A servant leader’s behavior and character molds and forms by those characteristics. It helps a specific leader perform feats such as listening first and talk second, having empathy by seeing the world from another person’s view point, caring about the well–being of their followers, having a desire to develop communities, and undertaking the leadership position in a very responsible manner. These distinctive acts are what help identify a servant leader.
One of the world’s greatest examples of servant leadership is Mother Teresa. Mother Teresa was a nun and a missionary whose life was dedicated to serving the least of God’s breathern as the Bible describes in the Last Judgement Mathew 25:31 “Then the King will say to those on his right hand, Come, blessed of my Father, take possession of the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me to eat; I was thirsty and you gave me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; naked and you covered me; sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me. (Idayus, 2016)
Mother Teresa was the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, which is a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the sick and poor. During the 1950’s and 1960’s Mother Teresa established a leper colony, an orphanage, a nursing home, a family clinic as well as some Mobile Health Clinics. Mother Teresa was very passionate about teaching and education of children, and in 1944, became the school principal at Saint Mary’s High School. She consistently sought to alleviate young girl’s poverty through means of education and strove to lead them to a life devoted to Christ. One of her known written prayers was “Give me the strength to be ever the light of their lives, so that I may lead them to you”. (Biography, 2019) Even throughout her extensive travels Mother Teresa became increasingly well known for her amazing work, such as caring for children, eldering and even during times of hospice. In the year 1979, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Mother Teresa for her extensive humanitarian work. (Idayus, 2016) Overall Mother Teresa lived by her very own words as she emphasized. “You and we together are going to do something beautiful for God. We shall do something for our brothers — the sick and hungry, unloved and uncared for, helpless and lonely — but who like us love and like to be love.,”(Idayus, 2016)
In conclusion, we have discussed what servant leadership is and what characteristics of servant leadership looks like. In the beginning of history mankind has often wondered, what is the best type of leader. I believe the best leaders, are not only diligent at accomplishing goals, but visionist. They are great humanitarians to everyone on a personal level.
“Mother Teresa.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 26 Aug. 2019, https://www.biography.com/religious-figure/mother-teresa.
Idayus. “Mother Teresa a True Servant-Leader: The Statesman Columnist.” The Straits Times, 5 Sept. 2016, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/south-asia/mother-teresa-a-true-servant-leader-the-statesman-columnist.
Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications