Servant leadership occurs when the leader believes and reflects that belief onto their followers to help make them successful. The leader is fully engaged and has a desire to give their full attention to the follower. When I think of servant leaders in my lifetime, I think of my high school track and field coach. I do not have a lot of role models in my life and I can always think of bad managers, but there was one leader in my life that made a difference in who I am.
In the Servant Leadership Model, there is “three antecedent, or existing, conditions have an impact on servant leadership: context and culture, leader attributes, and follower receptivity” (Northouse, 2016, p. 231). With context and culture, it helps show how the nature of the leader is carried out. In high school, I had a track and field coach that helped guide me not only through my throwing events, but through high school as well. As a high school coach, he was not there for the money, or the competition. He applied to work at a high school because he genuinely cared about his students.
With leader attributes, “Individuals bring their own traits and ideas about leading to leadership situations” (Northouse, 2016, p. 232). I was in track and field for almost all of high school. By senior year, my coach and I became very close. I discussed college, and future plans with him. I remember the advice he gave me was, “pick a career that makes you feel complete.” My coach had a desire for helping students. He was very confident, self-motivated, and had a lot of emotional intelligence. He cared if I was having a bad day. If my performance was lacking in track and field, I remember he would always give me a pep talk, and listen to whatever was going on.
“Follower receptivity concerns the question “Do all followers show a desire for servant leadership?”” (Northouse, 2016, p. 233). As some would say no because they do not want to know their leader on that level, I surely connected more with my leader, and it affected my performance. I felt that his leadership was something that I connected with, and a lot of others did too. Out of all the coaches, all the students wanted to work with him because he was not all for just the competition, he wanted to make you a better performer, and athlete.
Servant Leader Behaviors are the main focus of the model. Leaders need to develop these behaviors “in order to provide service to followers and help them grow” (PSU, Lesson 11: Servant Leadership, 2020, p. 1). The servant behaviors are: conceptualizing, emotional healing, putting followers first, helping followers succeed, behaving ethically, and creating value for the community. My coach really emphasized emotional healing, and creating value for the community. “Emotional healing involves being sensitive to the personal concerns and well-being of others. It includes recognizing problems and being willing to take the time to address them” (Northouse, 2016, p. 234). My coach was able to notice if I was lacking in my performance. He would take the time and talk to me about what was going on at home, or in school. He created value in the community by being a coach that pushed his students to be the best they could be. On top of being the coach, he was also our English teacher. He was able to give us advice, give us our education, and give us a reason to try our best.
Outcomes are the end result of servant leadership. It involves follower performance and growth, organizational performance, and societal impact. “the central goal of servant leadership is to create healthy organizations that nurture individual growth, strengthen organizational performance, and, in the end, produce a positive impact on society” (Northouse, 2016, p. 237). I can say my track and field coach had a positive impact on me. I learned I had determination and the confidence to complete my goals. He taught me to never give up when things get hard. I relate this now to my college education. I may not see him everyday now, and be able to talk to him like I used too, but I am able to use the things he taught me to get through this chapter of my life.
Northouse, P.G. (2016). Leadership: Theory and Practice. Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
Pennsylvania State World Campus. Lesson 11: Servant Leadership. 2020.