I will start defining Servant Leadership according to the concept found on the official website of the Center for Servant Leadership: “Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.”
Now let’s go to some of the characteristics because, as you can see, the definition does not go into details, it only seems to suggest that the only thing you need is Servant Leadership to solve issues.
The site explaines that this type of leadership focuses on the communities and the people in them, unlike traditional leadership which focuses more on individualism, highlighting the fact that servant leadership is about sharing.
Robert Greenleaf explains… “This is my thesis: caring for persons, the more able and the less able serving each other, is the rock upon which a good society is built. Whereas, until recently, caring was largely person to person, now most of it is mediated through institutions – often large, complex, powerful, impersonal; not always competent; sometimes corrupt. If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater creative opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major institutions by new regenerative forces operating within them.”
With this text I am not really clear if with servant leadership we serve others or institutions. Or is it that, under the premise of “serving others”, what happens really is that it is all about what is in benefit of the corporations.
There are different perspectives about this and, in an article in Forbes Maganzine intitulated Why isn’t Servant Leadership more prevalent?, the author, James Hesket, comments on the fact that the concept is old and that it appears that servant leaders are one of the best. My opinion is that we all must understand that we are not only servant leaders, but other types as well depending on the situation. We must not just be comfort on know one way of doing things, but to know other ways too.
Another article I read talks about the problems of Servant Leadership. The article specifies that this type of leadership can lead to lack of authority, demotivation, and promotion of a limited vision.
I am not going to go into details as to why there are problems with Servant Leadership but, after this reflection I ask you, what do you think? Do you consider yourself a servant leader? Are you really helping others by helping them or helping yourself with the premise of helping others? The philosopher Immanuel Kant may be helpful to clarify that.
By Fernando Aguilar @fjaguilarr