My primary take away is the clarity I have received regarding authentic servant leadership. In particular, the observation by Bass (1985) that leadership styles are on a continuum from laissez-faire to transformational. Stone and Patterson (2005) followed up Bass’ model taking it one step further to include authentic servant leadership (p.11), pointing out that transformational and servant leadership are “higher-order evolutions in leadership paradigms”. (Stone, 2005, p.11) This has provided a way to measure leadership on the continuum and see where an individual, including myself, lands. The research has shown that authentic servant leadership values teamwork, community, ethical behavior as well as caring behavior towards others, making it the best long-term leadership style to practice. (Caldwell, Bischoff, & Karri, 2002, p. 162)
Engstrom (1978) gives six very helpful guidelines for excellent leadership creating a litmus test of sorts to gauge the intentionality I am using in the exercise of my leadership amidst the busyness and demands of leading others. The guidelines provided by Engstrom coupled with the characteristics of the authentic servant leadership model outlined by Northouse (2013) create clear boundaries of where an authentic servant leader operates successfully. (Kindle Locations 4876-4879)
Possibly the greatest understanding I have walked away with is that authentic servant leadership is how Jesus led. Authentic servant leadership behaviors such as modeling the way (Kouzes, 2012), valuing and relating to individuals on a personal level (Irving, 2011, p. 123), and empowering others (Northouse, 2012, Kindle Location 4695) are all shown in the way Jesus led in his three year ministry. If Jesus felt authentic servant leadership was the best way to reach the world, then it is the best way for me to continue to reach the world for him.
Bass, B. M. (1985). LEADERSHIP AND PERFORMANCE BEYOND EXPECTATIONS. New York : London: Free Press.
Caldwell, C., Bischoff, S. J., & Karri, R. (2002). The Four Umpires: A Paradigm for Ethical Leadership. Journal of Business Ethics, 36(1/2), 153–163.
Engstrom, T. W. (1978). The Making of a Christian Leader. Zondervan.
Irving, J. A. (2011). Leadership Reflection: A Model for Effective Servant Leadershiph Practice: A Biblically-Consistent and Research-Based Approach to Leadership. Journal of Biblical Perspectives in Leadership, 3(2), 118–128.
Kouzes, J. M. (2012). The leadership challenge: how to make extraordinary things happen in organizations (5th ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Northouse, P. G. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice (6th ed.). Thousand Oaks: SAGE.
Stone, G., & Patterson, Kathleen. (2005). History of Leadership Focus. Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, (August).