Furthermore The Leadership Quarterly reports that empirical studies of leadership styles only focused on servant leadership 1% of the time. What this means in Sierra Leone is that majority are interested in servant leadership, possibly in even lying of being a servant leader but they know very little about what that means. (http://www.johnballardphd.com/blog/leadership-theories-which-are-most-studied-which-are-most-googled).
There is a danger to being drawn to a concept because it sounds good without understanding what that concept is or what it requires. There are many today in Sierra Leone who espouses the benefits of servant leadership without understanding what the cost to the leader to implement such a style is.
The Focuses Of Servant Leaders: A Caution
Individuals work in organisations and as a result servant-leaders are both followers as well as leaders. The servant-leader serves the government he or she works in as well as the people they lead. Many people in social positions of trust in Sierra Leone deliberately ignore this dual focus of the servant leader and only focus on the leadership of the government or group. If the servant leader does not serve their government well, they will quickly find that they are no longer in a position to be servant leader. In all cases the principles of servant-leadership must be uniformly applied.
What is Servant Leadership?
According to the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, The servant-leader is servant first? It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions. 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. https://www.greenleaf.org/what-is-servant-leadership.
Where Does Servant Leadership Come From?
Servant leadership does not start with a series of leadership behaviours or practices that can be copied. This approach produces a facade of behaviours that the governor staff quickly realises is not genuine.
Servant leadership begins from core beliefs. It is an attitude or philosophy that drives the natural and genuine behaviours of a leader. Without this core, attempting to be a servant leader only leads to disappointment and deteriorating trust.
Servant leadership comes from two fundamental, and seemingly contradictory, attitudes. They are selflessness and strength. The combination of these two attitudes forms a third dimension that becomes the heart of servant-leadership.
The First Fundamental Building Block: Selflessness
Selflessness is defined as? Having no concern for self; showing great concern for and willingness to give unselfishly to others? http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfless.?Selflessness is putting others first and self last. Needless to say we live in a country that does not produce selfless leaders since independence. A psychology of entitlement mentality permeates our society’s thinking so that the majority of people approach a situation to see how they can protect their interests or get more than their share. Situational ethics, the philosophy that indoctrinates students for twelve years of their lives, teaches them to apply values to accomplish their personal goals in the given moment. Genuine selflessness as a result is often looked down upon and even mocked.
The Second Fundamental Building Block: Strength
But selflessness by itself is not sufficient to be servant leader. Strength is required. Servant-leadership does not arise out of weakness. Strength is defined as a legal, logical, or moral force; a strong attribute or inherent asset; a degree of potency of effect or of concentration?http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/strength
The servant-leader obtains strength from their character and from the position they hold. By virtue of these two items, the leader could demand the rights that belong to them; they could demand others obey and follow them. Instead the servant leader willingly steps aside from what they rightfully could claim.
In essence strength is the power to take action. The reason this is critical for a servant leader is that there must be the willingness, the strength, to step down from one’s position and to serve others. A person who is weak in character will not do this.
The Servant Leadership Quality Produced: Sacrifice
When strength and selflessness interact together they form a third attribute that is seen in the actions of servant-leader. That attribute is sacrifice. Sacrifice is basically death to one’s own desires to serve others. When the servant’s leader selflessly steps away from their own desires to serve others, it becomes an act of sacrifice.
The greatest example of servant leadership is Jesus Christ of whom it is written, ?who, being in the form of God (strength), did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation (sacrifice), taking the form of a bondservant (selflessness) and being found in the form of a man, he humbled himself (selflessness), and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (sacrifice)? Philippians 2:6-8.
The attribute that allows the servant leader to sacrifice willingly is humility. Humility is not a sense of self-deprecation. It is not a belief that one is not worthy of the position of leadership or that the leader has no power or authority. It is the belief that others? Needs are more important than the leaders?.
A great example of this equation is Abraham Lincoln. Operating out of the power of the presidency, Lincoln selflessly and with humility took the actions to bring together a team of rivals to help achieve the mission. Personal power and reputation were not important. The mission was to unify a nation but to do so by implementing Lincoln’s beliefs in respecting the dignity of all mankind. (The values he was not willing to compromise or sacrifice). Ultimately, Lincoln sacrificed his health, his popularity (in the moment) and eventually his life to achieve the mission that was set before him
Sacrifice becomes the hallmark of the servant leader. There are many other things that this leader could do with their time and authority that would be much more satisfying and enjoyable. But the servant-leader sacrifices for others.
What Is The Servant-Leader Unwilling To Sacrifice??It is important to notice first what the servant-leader is not willing to compromise or sacrifice. As the servant-leader serves others there will be, from time to time, heavy pressure to compromise or give in on areas that are core to the leader. The leader may teach or explain these areas to those who do not understand but the leader is not winning to compromise them. If the leader were to do so would mean the leader would lose the very reason for assuming the role of the servant-leader in the first place. All areas the servant-leader is unwilling to sacrifice are primarily related to mission and values.
Values? A servant-leader is driven by values. The only thing more important to the leader than the people he or she serves is the values he or she stands for. When conflict arises between the values the leader stands for and the people they serve, the servant-leader always chooses to be true to values. But if the leader does not know what their values are or what they stand for, or if their values are compromised for expediency popularity, or compromise, then servant-leadership cannot exist.
If servant-leadership is attempted without a sense of values, the leader will serve the government’s whims and desires. In essence the leader becomes obedient to the group and its pleasures.