Advantages and Disadvantages of Servant Leadership It is undeniable that servant leadership has permeated through the management practices especially in the 21st century. Spearheaded by Robert K. Greenleaf, this model of leadership has gained ground to be one of the most common leadership models in many organizations. According to Greanleaf, servant leadership emanates from the intrinsic desire to be a servant. In his thinking, servant leadership needs to embrace the idea of serving others first in order to make them more useful, practical, and empowered (Frick 13-20). In return, the employees then become more useful towards the goals and objectives of the organization.
However, implementation of servant leadership has a wide array of challenges. This essay focusses on advantages and disadvantages of servant leadership. One of the primary advantages of servant leadership is its robustness in diverse workplaces. In diverse institutions, servant leadership espouses to attend to each employee in the organization. When every employee in different sectors of the organization is empowered to act in accordance to organizational goals, the result is and effective work output. In contrast, an autocratic form of leadership would otherwise not be able to attend to all employees, leading to unbalanced work output.
Nevertheless, the success of servant leadership in such large organizations primarily depends on the employees’ ability to be nurtured to be leaders themselves. Another important advantage is the possibility of achieving high productivity and capacity among employees. Servant leadership tends to command respect, trust, and loyalty from employees. Therefore, organizations using servant leadership model are able to record more work output because employees feel as an important part of the organization.
Indeed, employees who are nurtured to be leaders in different capacities develop a sense of ownership to the organization as opposed to autocratic, dictatorial, or centralized form of leadership. Servant leadership cultivates high levels of involvement not only in daily operations of the organization but also in decision making. Whereas servant leadership seeks to attend to the needs of employees, the employees in turn feel empowered to attend to the needs of the customers and the organization in general. Furthermore, employees working under servant leadership are given the opportunity to make decisions, provide views and opinions, as well as air their concerns.
This is a great advantage to the organizations as it can be able to tap into the wide variety of ideas from different employees. This is more important as opposed to the one sided ideas found on other centralized forms of leadership. On a different note, servant leadership can be likened to delegation of duties. In this aspect, a servant leader is in a position to empower the employees to meet organizational goals with minimal supervision. Therefore, even in situations when a servant leader may be temporarily not in touch with the employees, the employees can actually act as leaders in their own individual capacities.
This comes in handy in situations where top management is undergoing a paradigm shift or when an organization is changing from one leader to another. However, servant leadership has its challenges as well. One of the primary disadvantages of servant leadership is the energy and time taken to instill servant leadership ideology in the minds of employees. Whereas autocratic form of leadership needs to set rules and make sure they are followed, servant leadership needs to nurture each individual to be a leader in their own capacity.
Training every person to be a leader and to align personal values and beliefs to organizational goals takes time and effort. Therefore, realizing the benefits of servant leadership may take quite significant amount of time. Another disadvantage of servant leadership is the apparent lack of authority. Arguably, employees may see their leaders as weak. The authority that comes with leadership is more often aimed at instilling discipline and order in the organization in the efforts of representing the command of investors.
However, servant leadership seems to lack the “father” or authoritative figure and therefore, the servants might end up not respecting their roles in the organization. Lastly, organizations have an almost similar form of organizational structure whereby leadership comes from the top. In every level in the leadership hierarchy, each person has roles, privileges, and responsibilities. However, servant leadership seems to break down this organizational structure. In conclusion, servant leadership is significantly important in that it empowers employees to be managers in their capacities.
It also provides opportunity to harness ideas from employees and also ensure smooth transitions during top management changes. However, implementing servant leadership takes time, may de-structure managerial structure, and may lead to less work output if not well managed. Works Cited Frick, Don M. Robert K. Greenleaf: A Life of Servant Leadership. San Francisco, Calif: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2004. Print.
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