Identify and Evaluate Leadership Theory
OL 7102, Assignment 6
DuBose, Justin Z.
Dr. Robert Schultz
25 August 2019
Dinh et al. (2014) noted that many leadership theories exist and more continue to emerge and develop. Some of the existing and emerging leadership theories, their theorist, and primary tenets are synthesized in table 1 below.
Leaders transform the expectation and reality of followers
Leaders who serve others make the most effectual leaders
Leaders possess a charisma which is visionary and inspiring
Leaders motivate followers through reward/punishment incentives
Offermann, Kennedy, & Wirtz
Leadership is a conceptualization of leadership traits and behaviors
Gerth & Mills
Leadership is a combination of an individual and their leadership in unique situations
Leadership is contingent upon relational and task-oriented situational demands
Great men bring about great changes in society
Trait Theory of Leadership
Kohs & Irle
Leadership is defined by inherent traits and personality characteristics
Thought processes of a leader must be understood in relation to their situation
Exchange Leadership Theory
A leader is only as effective as the behavior he/she changes in their followers
Bolden & Gosling
Leadership is impactful only a collective and not only and individual scale
Boal & Hooijberg
A “top-down” approach to leadership where an organization is aligned with strategic goals
Zaccaro, Rittman, & Marks
Leadership emerges in team performance and team building
Leadership surfaces in those with altruistic behaviors
Leadership includes self-concept and social identity frameworks
Leaders behave contrary to the well-being of followers and the organization
Avolio et al
Leadership encompasses virtual space and virtual workplaces and communication
Cogliser & Brigham
Leadership emerges in entrepreneurial vision and behaviors
Transformational, Servant, Authentic, & Aesthetic Leadership
Like Dinh et al. (2014), Johnson (2013) noted four normative leadership styles: transformational, servant, authentic, and aesthetic leadership. He noted that transformational leadership is characterized by idealized influence, inspirational motivation, intellectual stimulation, and idealized consideration. He characterized servant leadership as valuing stewardship, a strong sense of obligation, partnership and purpose, and bringing emotional healing to followers. Authentic leaders have a moral and ethical foundation and set high ethical standards. They also align themselves with the values of the organization and empower others to lead and make tough leadership decisions. Finally, Johnson (2013) characterizes aesthetic leaders by noting their emphasis on emotions and scenery and their ability to improvise and be flexible in any situation. They have a deep connection to purpose and look to serve the greater needs around them. While Johnson (2013) noted the strengths of each of these four leadership styles, the style of servant leadership is the most realistic and most compelling for a number of reasons for me as a leader.
In 1977, Greenleaf developed the theory of servant leadership (Landis, 2014). Servant leadership states that leaders who serve others make the most effectual leaders (Landis, 2014). Servant leadership espouses the idea that leaders who genuinely care about the people they lead will generate the greatest level of motivation and dedication throughout all echelons of the organization. Beyer (2012) noted that behavior traits of servant leaders include helping following to succeed and grow, bring emotional healing, empowering followers, and creating value for those within the community and/or organization.
Servant leadership is both realistic and effectual because it establishes trust by genuinely caring for those within the organization. As concluded by Landis (2014), this trust will generate the greatest level of motivation in followers to excel as members of the organization. Due to the building of trust between leader and stakeholder, servant leadership also creates open and honest lines of communication. As employees are encouraged to communicate, their input is invited into the decision-making processes of the organization. Servant leaders will also relationally invest in their employees as a result of their genuine care for their well-being. Servant leaders who demonstrate a care for those within their organization will base such care upon ethical stances and values rooted in compassion and empathy. Washington (2014) concluded that servant leaders are integral in establishing ethical climates, and that establishing ethical climates drives those within the organization to increase their own ethical standards and behavior. Servant leaders establish an organizational climate where employees are not only motivated to perform and behave well, but also to continually increase the standard of their performance and behavior. Leaders are poised to not only tap into stakeholder motivation and personal values, but, more importantly, to increase and expand motivation and personal values by motivating them to take such values to higher levels (Washington, 2014). These reasons highlight for the author that servant leadership is not only the most effectual means of motivating employees to perform in a general sense, but specifically in the not-for-profit sector.
Portrait of Servant Leadership
A portrait and example of servant leadership in the not-for-profit sector with whom I have personal experience is Dr. Scott Borderud. Dr. Borderud is a leader within my organization who serves simultaneously at multiple echelons of leadership. Dr. Borderud serves as a local pastor of a church of approximately 500 congregants as well as the treasurer of our district (three states and approximately one-hundred churches). Previously, I served for three years under Dr. Borderud as an Associate Pastor before departing in 2013 to lead my own congregation.
Dr. Borderud immediately stuck out to me because of his unique leadership behavior and traits which positively impacted my life. Dr. Borderud was a graduate of the Naval Academy and spent time as both a Marine Infantry Officer as well as an Army Chaplain. Consequently, he was thoroughly trained and well-versed in a variety of leadership styles. He always spoke very directly and easily commanded the room in which he was present. However, despite this training and presence, his leadership behavior and traits were consistent with servant leadership.
Dr. Borderud is, in many ways, the embodiment of servant leadership. Washington, Sutton, and Sauser (2014) define servant leadership as a distinct leadership style in which the leader values the good of the follower above their own self-interest. He told me numerous times that while he valued my contributions to the team, that it would be self-serving of him not to acknowledge my strengths and the future potential available. He selflessly took time to develop my skills and talents and went out of his way to expose me to greater opportunities for service and leadership. One instance in which this was evident was when I confronted him about an opportunity to serve on my own as a pastor, and asked him again for guidance and wisdom. He then advocated for me to candidate for the position, which is a large part of the reason why I am in my present position. He selflessly placed my needs – and the needs of others – above his own for the betterment of the organization and the individuals comprising the organization.
Servant Leadership Questionnaire
Johnson (2013) provides a servant leadership questionnaire for consideration by leaders. According to his scale, Dr. Borderud scored a fifteen out of a possible sixteen in altruism and a nineteen out of a possible twenty in organizational development. His highest rated category was persuasive mapping where he scored a perfect twenty out of twenty, followed by organizational development where he scored nineteen out of a possible twenty. In the category of wisdom, he scored eighteen out of a possible twenty. His lowest rated category was emotional healing, where he scored twelve out of a possible twenty points.
Leaders like Dr. Borderud can learn a great deal from conducting these or similar assessments. Firstly, they are beneficial to increasing awareness of those areas in which a leader needs improvement. As all leaders are weak in certain areas, all leaders can benefit from such self-assessment. Secondly, these types of assessments may be given to subordinates for their own input. This helps leaders see and understand themselves from the perspective of those they lead. This is always beneficial to becoming a better leader. Finally, with these assessment tools, leaders can put in place a performance improvement plan (or similar tool) to lay out specific steps to take based upon feedback received from such assessments. Specifically with servant leadership, such steps align perfectly with the desire to better serve those you lead and, thus, lead them better and more persuasively. These reasons make such assessments invaluable to servant leaders.
Beyer, B. (2012). Blending constructs and concepts: Development of emerging theories of organizational leadership and their relationship to leadership practices for social justice. International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 7(3). Retrieved August 25, 2019.
Dinh et al. (2014). Leadership theory and research in the new millennium: Current theoretical trends and changing perspectives. The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 25, 36-62. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
Johnson, C. E. (2013). Meeting the ethical challenges of leadership: Casting light or shadow (5th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: SAGE
Landis, E. A., Hill, D., & Harvey, M. R. (2014). A synthesis of leadership theories and styles. Journal of Management Policy and Practice, 15(2). Retrieved August 25, 2019.
Washington, R. R., Sutton, C. D., & Sauser, J. I. (2014). How distinct is servant leadership theory? Empirical comparisons with competing theories. Journal of Leadership, Accountability and Ethics, 11(1). Retrieved August 25, 2019.
NG, LR, & NCU
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