From my own research there is a variety of advantages of the servant leader in a classroom setting. I decided to write this blog in response to my work for my MA in digital Pedagogy. One main module was on Mentoring and Leadership and this is my response to Robert Greenleaf’s understanding of servant leadership followed by my own philosophy on leadership. This is important in relation to promoting our understanding of our own communication and social skills which need to be passed onto our students.
Advantages of Servant Leadership
‘While servant leadership is a timeless concept, the phrase “servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970.’
- It requires a lot of work. It is not to be mistaken with a free reign style leader who chooses to allow the servants to run their own show. The Servant leader represents the delegate better. Providing the work for the people, instructing them and working with them to ensure they achieve their ultimate goal. The delegate style certainly differs to that of the authoritarian leader who illustrates complete control and instructs the servants as what to do without question or hesitation.’
- We are working for the people, and therefore me must ensure that the people receive the best service possible and in the case of teaching, the pupils will be equipped with the ability and confidence to guide them through their future endeavours. ‘The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served.’
iii. From the teacher’s perspective in the Australian interpretation of Greenleaf. The teacher saw the great benefit for the students in the long run. It encourages them to think for themselves and it sees the teacher providing the student with the tools for the future as it encourages them to keep focused and encourage their confidence and understanding of the future.
Examining the idea of servant leadership on the web, it is apparently becoming one of the fastest growing trends in modern management. It is described as being the best for other folk. A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. With that being said, the advantages are certainly evident from numerous reports. however its disadvantages illustrate a different perspective on the concept of servant leadership. Chris Edmunds described servant leadership as ‘I define servant leadership as a person’s dedication to helping others be their best selves at home, work, and in their community. Anyone can serve–and lead–from any position or role in a family, workplace, or community.’
Disadvantages of Servant Leadership
From my research of Servant Leadership I saw many flaws involved in the concept too.
- The first main issue we can see from the servant leader is the excessive amount of work required for creating the lesson and the lack of progress actually made on the course material. We can see from the perspective of the students in the two different perspectives in the Australian report of Greenleaf that although pupils get deeper understanding of certain topic, it takes up a lot more time and the process is incredibly slower and
- Time consumption, with the excessive work for both the leader and servant what is left afterwards is questionable. It is not a one man job, nor a two man job, instead it requires the dedication of all of the communities members in order to be a success.
iii. The idea of the servant leader seems difficult to adopt in an already established community. Having it replace the already in place order would be the most difficult concept. In order to introduce the servant leadership into a classroom or any walk of life it would require to demolish the previous setting and setting up a completely new one altogether in order to run with any success. Changing methods halfway through a already established system can cause confusion and disarray. Ergo the best way to install a new method of servant leadership judging from the Australian report would be start from the ground up.
iii. For a business environment, it involves the manager providing the work to the employees with all of the work and the manager working as part of the support team, by doing research, running errands and getting supplies. This may result in demotivation for a variety of reasons. First off if the manager is providing support instead of illustrating what needs to be done surely meeting deadlines because far more difficult and pretty much means the leader is absent. In the popular TV show the Apprentice, there is a project manager assigned in order to distribute the job and after watching the show, if the manager worked as a supporter instead the work would take far longer to complete because it would lack initial direction.
My own Philosophy on Leadership:
I thought long and hard on what exactly my own philosophies on leadership are. After much self debate I came to very simple concepts on what a leader needs to be. I can further argue that not all positions of leaders require the same attitude, but instead different positions require different approaches. In reality leadership is the same word, the level responsibility may differ, the ultimate task remains the same.
Key Leaders – Inspirations
Martin Luther King is one of the greatest leaders of the 20th century. He at a time where America was strongly speaking out against communism and their treatment of East Berlin. King in response challenged the US segregation laws most notably found in the south in states such as Alabama. King, spoke out against this injustice in a non violent way. He contained many features which made him a good leader including motivation, organisation and above all else, hard working. King represents an ideal leader, a leader that many people can aspire to be whether it was because of his ability to rally people or his overall dedication to his cause.
Hard work, the most basic, yet most vital trait of a leader in my opinion. I often find that those who command the most respect not only by the people being led, but also by peers and superiors. Hard work is what gets us to where we want to go. It enables us to achieve our goals and succeed in our endeavours. The vitality of which has driven me to become the teacher that I am. Most pupils will always appreciate the hard work and dedication that a teacher will put in because they know it is for their best interests at heart.
Many leaders over the centuries mostly have one underlining common trait and that is their hard work and dedication to their belief, regardless of the kind of leader they turned out to be. Having said that, people do not walk into the position they work for. I personally do not believe that people are born leaders. To some the concept of being a leader may be easier for them than it is for others, however, if we feel a necessity or a drive we are capable of achieving our goals as a leader if our vision is realistic and appropriate for the society or group that we lead.
A leader must think and feel emotions of the people they are leading and ensure they achieve the goals of both themselves and they people they lead. People can accomplish much when inspired by a purpose beyond themselves and that is exactly what we can see from key figures throughout history.
A good communicator; this trait is of vital importance for a leader. What work can be done without communication? What work can be done without a leader. This involves many things including an ability to both speak and using proper phraseology in order to ensure. It is vital to not only get across our point to the people we work for or who work for us but also for enabling ourselves to listen and understand the goals of those working with us. Being a good communicator is all about development and experience, it is something comes over time. No one is born a communicator and as J.K. Rowling once said, ‘the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you.’ Communication illustrates the will to cooperate and share and are the main characteristics of a community.
The Delegator has to realise that, in the words of Ronald Reagan, a leader is only as good as the people he serves. The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.’ We need to ensure that the people we are working for or with achieve their goals and furthermore enable us to achieve our own through our role as the leader. The reason I chose this quote because it really falls back on my own philosophy that the world is a reflection of you
To conclude, the definition of leadership is the action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this. We gain an insight on our own world by observing and focusing what goes on around you. A leader can be anyone, size doesn’t matter, appearance does not matter. What does matter is having a will and determination to ensure that the greater good is achieved for all and not just one.
The Leader’s work is never done as long as they are in that role, because to paraphrase, we can please all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but we can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Greenleaf, Robert K. Servant Leadership: A Journey into the Nature of Legitimate Power and Greatness. New York: Paulist, 1977. Print.
Greenleaf, Robert K. The Servant as Leader. Indianapolis, IN: Robert K. Greenleaf Center, 1991. Print.
“Leadership Practices That Directly Influence Teachers’ Emotions.” The Edvocate. Web. 20 Dec. 2015.
Scharen, Roger Wayne. Leadership for the Local Church: Or, What Is Servant Leadership? 1999. Print.