An innate desire to serve the followers is the hallmark of servant leadership, where the leader gets as close as s/he can to the followers and gathers maximum input that helps him/her to serve better. Here the focus of the leader remains fixed and untainted with its primary aim to serve others (Greenleaf, 1977). One great example of such leadership remains in the life and work of Holy Jesus Christ (Matthew 20:25-28) as Christ ushered total change from the core of their followers through serving wholeheartedly to them.
Going by the observation of Stone and others (2004), servant leaders can be termed as Type S leaders under the framework where servant leadership is considered as Theory S and is distinctly different from three other theories viz. , X, Y and Z as earmarked by McGregor (1967). The briefest description of them looks like as below: Theory X: Considers workers lazy and thus need to be monitored and governed. Theory Y: Considers workers as self-motivated and responsible and have deep interest in their work.
Theory Z: Applies both the ideas as and when necessary. Theory S: Takes care of leadership motivation and ensures the creation of a bridge of trust between the leader and the workers, where the workers respond to the situation with a belief that the leader is actually trying to empower them. It is this gross difference in outlook and execution makes servant leadership as the most revered model among all four basic categories, as here the leader becomes a selfless catalyst for change.
Servant leadership is guided by the spiritual knowledge and sense of ethical axioms, which goes beyond the material transaction of the world and seeks to take its followers towards the road of infinite joy and happiness, which is the ultimate desire of humans and which is unattainable only with material satisfaction. The famous Maslow’s model too depends heavily on this kind of leadership to bloom, as its ultimate goal, “self-actualization”, can never be possible without the intervention of servant leadership. The essence of the servant leadership can thus be realized through the following powerful set of words:
However, each of these words deserves some explanation under the context. Moral Love: According to Winston and Hartsfield’s (2004), it is moral love that plays catalyst in leaders’ minds in focusing on the followers’ needs, wants and desires. Humility: According to Hare (1996), it is the top degree of modesty that engulfs a human. Altruism: It’s about thorough concern about others’ well being (Patterson, 2003). According to Kaplan, such emotional awareness should be bereft of any thought involving one’s own well being, besides containing tendencies of personal sacrifice”(Kaplan, p. 3).
Self-awareness: As Baron puts it, “self awareness is the ability to recognize one’s feelings and to distinguish between them, besides the ability to determine the cause working behind it” (Baron, p. 15). Authenticity: Primarily it is the power to know and understand one’s values (Kouzes ; Posner, 2002), and it can be seen as a “broad dimension, which includes sub-dimensions of humility, security, integrity, vulnerability, and accountability” (Sendjaya and Sarros, 2002, p. 57).