This weeks topic took us down the path of the Servant Leader Style. On initial reading, I considered this to be more of a concept than a style. That said, it is still something that is to be blended with other styles. A personal leadership style will take the best from all theoretical aspects and apply them appropriately given a situation.
I am now seeing the value of all the leadership styles in context. No doubt there will be a dominant style, similar to your character. Something that you always fall back to in situations of default. Personally, I feel my default style would be Transformational Leadership because this is the sort of work I most enjoy. I love thinking outside the square and driving change. This is the style that is most suitable for that type of work in my opinion.
Several comments came up in my reading on this theory that were questionable in my mind. But first, some of the good parts. Servant Leadership focuses very much on the empowerment of the individual follower, a concept in which I strongly believe. Failing to empower, train and coach people on their way up the organisational chain can leave incompetent fools eventually sitting at the top. Servant Leadership is not a new concept, Lao Tzu (circa 570–490 BCE) wrote about it a long time ago. He suggested that “The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware….. When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it! (( Why Isn’t Servant Leadership More Prevalent? )) Personally, I like visible leaders. That doesn’t mean they have to be running around directing traffic. It’s more enjoyable to be empowering and coaching your team than checking up on them and engaging in micromanagement. Being visible is just saying hello, asking how the kids are or how was your weekend. This is what builds relationships, demonstrates trust in your followers and builds their trust and loyalty to you as a leader.
Over the last week, as a result of working on Assignment 3, it has been noted that Servant Leadership is regarded more as a standard of behaviour as opposed to a separate style. I would tend to agree with this and can think of several examples where leaders have a very recognisable style but also demonstrate servant leadership skills within that style. I held the view of Servant Leadership being a concept more than a style at the beginning of the week and this has been borne out through research.
The ink isn’t even dry on Assignment 2 yet and we are into the final assignment for the subject. This assignment is worth 50% of the total marks and is a 3,000 word personal leadership plan. It is broken into two sections being a 1500 word report analysing the various styles. These are then related back to your personal and professional life. The second part is a table identifying leadership goals along with a SWOT analysis and strategy of how these will be achieved.
I have completed my draft of this assignment now within plenty of time. I will be able to edit it over the next week to fine-tune the principles discussed. The writing of this assignment has crystalised in my mind several of the leadership theories that have been studied. Obviously, it wouldn’t be possible to comment on all leadership theories within the word count stipulated. Because my particular field of interest is Community Leadership and Organisations, I chose to focus on the Situational Leadership model, the Transformational Leadership model and the Servant Leadership model. These are the ones I believe would serve best in the community.
The results have finally been published for this assignment. I am happy with the mark I received as well as the comments. The comments were particularly around my thorough coverage of theory but not relating this strongly to my experience. I take a positive from this in that I’m being recognised for the theoretical knowledge. Although the assignment may not have been as detailed with personal stories and experience as my lecturer would have wished, I have that as lived experience. I am happy to ensure I know the theory better to apply it in future situations.
Another exhilarating week studying leadership. With Assignment 2 graded and Assignment 3 underway, the end is near for this subject. It has been a fascinating journey down a well worn but favourite rabbit hole.