The Servant Leadership Movement: How Might Universal Leadership Behaviors Serve Millennials in Asia?

The Servant Leadership Movement: How Might Universal Leadership Behaviors Serve Millennials in Asia?

Maria Pressentin (L&OD Professional Services, Asia Pacific, The Ken Blanchard Companies®, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 40
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-8088-1.ch005

Abstract

Uncommon to other well-known leadership models, servant leadership explicitly states that the leader serves as steward by focusing the needs of the follower, whilst growing the followers' autonomy. Consequentially, followers increase in capabilities and collaboration, strengthen the leader-follower relationships through partnership, generating decisions that can withstand challenges and sustain organizational success. The purpose of this chapter is to convey the applicability of this universal leadership model, illustrating how it would support culturally diverse case studies. Research has already stated that servant leadership is beneficial to Millennials. Little literature has focused on how to operationalize it for the younger generation. Barbuto Jr. and Gottfredson mentioned the vital necessity to train Millennials in servant leadership behaviors. This chapter highlights how servant leadership might be applied based on Van Dierendonck's and Van Dierendonck and Nuijten's research on Millennials in Asia.
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A Brief Discussion: Leadership Theories Compared

Robert Greenleaf (1977) is the father of servant leadership concept. Greenleaf’s original thesis on servant leadership was focused on the mindset that the leader’s core motive is to serve to achieve others’ betterment, answering to their needs, help others succeed in their aspirations, grow more autonomous, and eventually be servant leaders themselves. The motivation of this leadership style was essentially to focus on serving, rather than leading, placing the needs of others before own, which is quite the opposite of what organizational management are selected to do, as they are chosen for their capability to give orders. Greenleaf’s servant leadership motivation describes an ultraistic and pioneering model for those the leader serves to follow. Scholars have criticized some modern day examples of servant leadership in organizations on its sincerity vs. tactic to manipulate and encourage reciprocity geared to organizational benefit. Nevertheless, multiple scholars have deeply analyzed the morale behind servant leadership, while they compared several aspects to a steward, someone willing to be accountable to care for a group or community’s entrusted needs and affairs, as is someone with deeper spiritual awareness, willing to act selflessly for others. The servant leader is a strong character leader, who has self-confidence in his identity, asserts strong principles and beliefs, and is willing to self-sacrifice (Sendjaya & Sarros, 2002).

Servant leadership has been compared and contrasted with other leadership style features and concepts, such as the charismatic leader and transformational leadership. Some authors have argued that servant leadership has gone beyond transformational leadership in two domains: Recognizing the needs of the followers and taking care of the social responsibility, especially of the underdogs. In analyzing further research necessities, Sendjaya and Sarros (2002) suggest looking into measuring this leadership model, as well as further comparative studies, in achieving results vs. other leadership models.

Winston and Fields (2015) set up to research two key points on servant leadership: The first was to understand how servant leadership is formed and spread; secondly, what actions and behaviors are considered into the toolbox of servant leadership.

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