My leadership partially stems from my training in Scouts. During a Scoutmaster’s conference for Scout nearing completion of the Star ranking we were discussing leadership and styles. Preferred leadership style in Scouts is Servant Leadership, however I could not describe it in juxtaposition to other styles of leadership such as dictatorial or democratic. This is my research musings over 30 mintues.

Investopedia’s opinion

A summary of their opinion is as follows:

A servant leader’s role is to be the steward of a group’s resources and to teach other leaders to serve others while still achieving the goals set forth by the business.

Investopedia’s emphasizes movement away from controlling activities towards enablement of individuals to ensure the greater team is able to move forward. Specifically around creating environments where others can grow as leaders and experts, requiring human centric skills for the development of the team.

Investopedia claims this leadership style is poorly suited to fast pace high stakes situations. They appear to take the position the lack of central coordination becomes a point of contention. Based on my experience leading operations and Scouting units states the act opposite. When members of a group build a web of trusted relationships they are able to autonomously execute to resolve the issue while communicating effectively.

Robert Greenleaf appears to the origin of the Servant Leadership style postulating 10 principals of leadership. Sounds like a reasonable next step.

10 Principals of Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership is summarized on slide #3:

Servant leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

Slide #4 identifies the following Principals of Servant Leadership

  • Listening - Hearing receptively to what is said or not said from both the group and self.
  • Empathy - Accepting & recognizing the uniqueness of each individual. Recognizing positive intention even when the consequences are negative.
  • Healing - “potential for healing one’s self and others”. I believe this is talking about the goal of continuous improvement.
  • Awareness - General and self awareness. Acceptance awareness will displace solace and security needs to be derived from inner security.
  • Persuasion - Building consensus through persuasion rather than coercive authority demanding compliance.
  • Conceptualization - Ability to see beyond today’s tasks and see the goals of tomorrow.
  • Foresight - Under the context decisions were made in and the consequences of decisions.
  • Stewardship - I am having trouble understanding this point. Perhaps the organizations are around for the benefit of society.
  • Commitment to Growth - People have intrinsic values beyond workers. Leaders need to develop individuals as a whole: personal, professional, and spiritual.
  • Building Community - Large organizations create a feeling of loss. Building smaller communities gives individuals a voice.

Wrap up

Definitely helped me define more. Ultimately I think reading the book might help me further understand the principals. Perhaps I can get a bit more of the contemporary ideals down before I try so I’m going in with some context.