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1. Greenleaf holds “a servant leader is a servant first” one who want to serve than to lead. I concur with Greenleaf’s thesis. As Greenleaf states, a servant-first leader puts the priorities and needs of other first. It is only when a leader understands the needs and aspirations of his or her followers that he or she can develop a shared vision and can mobilize people to achieve the shared vision. Using the servant-first leadership style, a leader can actively plan to serve subordinates first that improving their job commitment and satisfaction. A servant-first leader leads by example, integrity and from behind the team thus giving followers or employees opportunities to excel and innovate. According to Covey (2004), servant leadership deviates from traditional leadership styles that emphasize the domination of subordinates and telling them what to do rather than empowering and inspiring them to perform. A servant leader acts proactively to show subordinates the way and inspire followers or subordinates to follow. The inspiration and modeling provided by the servant leader lead to collective efforts thus facilitates the achievement of goals within the stipulated quality, time, and resources.
2. Greenleaf (26) suggests that modern leaders should replace the traditional hierarchical model with primus inter pares (first among equal). I believe this suggestion is right and well-timed. In the modern organization environment, “strong” and “lone” leaders are facing numerous challenges. To be at the top of the pyramid is often corrupting, and a self-protective image of omniscience often evolves characterized with filtered and wrapped communication (Montgomery, 2011). In an attempt to control subordinates, leaders using the hierarchical model often micro-manages employees. The hierarchical model supports the notion that those in higher leadership position are superior, more knowledgeable and intelligent thus more valuable to an organization. It does not enhance employees’ satisfaction and enjoyment thus leading to high employees’ turnover. First among equal leaders do not see themselves as “all-powerful” managers or supervisors. They acknowledge that while they have a critical decision-making role, the role does not inherently make them superior. I am yet to witness the First-among-equals leadership style. Previously I worked in an institution that supported the hierarchical model where decisions and communication were centralized in the executive. Subordinates had little influence on the decision-making process and often supervisors were revered. The model did not provide a flexible environment for subordinates to innovate and often they have to follow the rigid process procedures and mandatory protocols.
3. The critical role of great leaders who inspire organizations or businesses to greatness and success is evidence in several examples. One of the classical examples is the leadership of the late Steve Jobs from inspired the rise of Apple, Inc to international glory. Steve Jobs dream of building a technology empire began in 1980s and despite him leaving Apple Inc for sometimes, he returned to inspire the company to great success. His leadership can be termed as that with a clear vision and a passion for the company and its employees. As one of the founders of Apple Inc, Jobs had a great dream. The dream inspired him to search talent, promote innovation and offer leadership.
Montgomery W (2011). Dynamics of leadership in public service. Theory and practices. Taylor & Francis Publishers, USA.
Robert K. Greenleaf. The Servant as Leader.
Stephen Covey (2004). The 8th habit: From effectiveness to greatness. Simon & Schuster, Inc, New York.
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