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Servant Leadership

Servant leadership was first written about within the writings of Robert K. Geenleaf (Northouse, 2013, p. 219). According to Avolio, Walumbwa, and Weber (2009), the characteristics of a servant leader including: the ability to listen to the needs of others, having empathy, awareness, persuasion, stewardship, and building community (Avolio, Walumbwa, & Weber, 2009). Like authentic leadership, servant leadership includes either implicit or explicit identification of the role of leader self-awareness (Avolio & Gardner, 2005). A servant leader is considered a leader who behaves ethically and will motivate followers without having ulterior motives to first satisfy their personal desires. This type of leader prioritizes the needs of their followers and is more concerned about the success and wellbeing of others. Servant leaders are humble leaders who desire to stimulate strong relationships with their followers by encouragement. This servant approach creates a positive work environment and value for the organization (Sendjaya, & Sarros, 2002; Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014; Northouse, 2013, p. 248). Leaders who provide emotional support to followers that desire to reach their full potential, can be seen as role models. Servant leaders are linked to followers’ outcomes including organizational attitudes, and performance. Servant leaders are respected and admired for their integrity, trust, and concern for others. Core requirements of a servant leader are empathy and behaving ethically (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014).

The desire of a servant leader is not only to take on the role of a servant, but to also take on the nature of a servant. A servant leader will seek to grow and transform their followers (Sendjaya, & Sarros, 2002). As a servant leader provides guidance and direction for their followers, they create what is known as a serving culture. A serving culture can be defined as a group that focuses on behaviors that produce benefits for others. A store manager that engages in being a servant leader is an example of a serving culture. As a servant leader, the manager promotes a culture that inspires to help members and learn the behavioral expectations. The store manager will be an example for the employees, and the employees will learn how to serve others as they follow and admire the manager’s leadership. An employee, follower, or member of the serving culture, must feel cared for, respected, trusted, and supported by the leader. If the leadership is effective, it will enhance the follower’s identification. As employees identify with their store managers leadership, they will identify with the store. If the identification with the store is high, the employees will value the organization and feel a sense of unity with their coworkers. This bond will inspire strong work ethics and better performance (Liden, Wayne, Liao, & Meuser, 2014).

Conclusion of Leadership Theories

My four latest blog post (authentic leadership, situational leadership, servant leadership, leader member exchange) have evaluated the nature of leadership styles and their theories. Servant leadership theory has suggested that servant leaders are leaders who naturally have a desire to serve first and aspire others to lead. Leader-member exchange theories suggest that a mutual exchange between leader and follower can produce loyal and committed relationships. Authentic leadership has promoted the notion that leaders should be self-aware, honest, and transparent. A Situational leader theory suggests that leadership roles vary, and each unique situation needs a unique solution. In order to inspire, innovative, and produce creativity within an organization, leaders should be aware and mindful of their followers’ perception of them. Each of these theories focuses on building trust through a mutually beneficial relationship between leaders and followers.


Credits for blogs

Avolio, B., & Gardner, W. (2005). Authentic leadership development: getting to the root of positive forms of leadership. The Leadership Quarterly, 16, 315-338. doi:10.1016/j.leaqua.2005.03.001

Avolio, B. J., Walumbwa, F. O., & Weber, T. J. (2009). Leadership: current theories , research, and future directions. Annual Review of Psychology, 60, 421–449.  doi:10.1177/0149206310393520

Cubero, C. G. (2007). Situational leadership and persons with disabilities. Work29(4), 351-356. Retrieved from

Fred O. Walumbwa, Bruce J. Avolio, William L. Gardner, Tara S. Wernsing, and Suzanne J. Peterson. (2008). Authentic Leadership: Development and Validation of a Theory-Based Measure†. Journal of Management. doi:10.1177/0149206307308913

Graeff, C. L. (1997). Evolution of situational leadership theory: A critical review. The Leadership Quarterly, 8(2), 153-170. doi:10.1016/S1048-9843(97)90014-X

Graen, G.B. and Uhl-Bien, M. (1995). Relationship-Based Approach to Leadership: Development and Leader-Member Exchange (LMX) Theory of Leadership over 25 Years: Applying a Multi-Level Multi-Domain Perspective. Leadership Quarterly, 6, 219-247. doi: 10.1016/1048-9843(95)90036-5

Hassanzadeh, J. F. (2014). Leader-member Exchange and Creative Work Involvement: The Importance of Knowledge Sharing. Iranian Journal Of Management Studies7(2), 391-412. Retrieved from

Klenke, K. (2007). Authentic leadership: A self, leader, and spiritual identity perspective. International Journal of Leadership Studies, 3(1), 68-97. Retrieved from

Liden, R.C., Wayne, S.J., Liao, C., & Meuser, J.D. (2014). Servant leadership and serving culture: Influence on individual and unit performance. Academy of Management Journal, 57, 1434-1452. doi:10.5465/amj.2013.0034

McCleskey, J. A. (2014). Situational, Transformational, and Transactional Leadership and Leadership Development. Journal Of Business Studies Quarterly5(4), 117-130. Retrieved from

Northouse, P.G. (2013). Leadership: Theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Sendjaya, S., & Sarros, J. C. (2002). Servant leadership: Its origin, development, and application in organizations. Journal of Leadership and Organization Studies, 9(2), 57-64. doi: 10.1177/107179190200900205

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