Servant Leadership Practices in a Volunteer-Led Organization

Servant Leadership Practices in a Volunteer-Led Organization

Kristen M. Bowers (Indiana Wesleyan University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5840-0.ch004
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Abstract

Recent research on the leadership behavior of leaders in a large, volunteer-led community service organization uncovered several leadership practices that are consistent with those of servant leadership. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight volunteer leaders whose scores on the Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI) indicated they engaged in the five practices of exemplary leadership: Model the Way, Inspire a Shared Vision, Challenge the Process, Enable Others to Act, and Encourage the Heart. During the course of the interviews, evidence of servant leadership behavior emerged. This chapter identifies the specific leadership behavior described, connects these findings to other research on servant leadership, and provides initial conclusions, implications for practice, and possible avenues for further research.
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Background

The theory of servant leadership, as presented by Greenleaf (2002), embraces a positive, ethical and just focus on the concept of leadership. It considers the possibility that society would be improved if only all leaders would be servants first and leaders second. According to Greenleaf (2002), to be a servant leader an individual must first desire to serve. The aspiration to lead is secondary. Ideally, followers themselves would desire to serve as a result of their experience being led by a servant leader (Greenleaf, 2002). According to Laub (2004), “Servant leadership is not a leadership style that can be used or set aside based on the needs of the situation. Servant Leadership is a mindset, a paradigm, a way of leading” (p. 9).

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