Servant Leadership

Topics: Leadership, Management, Servant leadership Pages: 12 (3795 words) Published: September 5, 2012
Servant Leadership and its Impact on Employee Development and Performance Management Wayne England
Sullivan University
MGT 713 – Individual & Group Behavior in Organizations Dr. Teresa Daniel

With the retirement of the baby boomer generation approaching, companies are finding a need to replace many upper management positions. American businesses have taken a common approach to promote within and to mold and create junior level employees into the leaders that they want them to be. With this innovative approach, companies must understand and develop a strategic plan to create an effective performance management system that will enable companies to effective develop junior employees.

“Among the various types of leadership styles, a growing and successful style is servant leadership” (Greenleaf, 1991). Servant leadership has resulted in positive success for the many companies that have adapted the traits and characteristics that they teach. There is an abundance of research that has been conducted on servant leadership and how companies can effectively use this type of leadership to affect change. Robert Greenleaf pioneered an abundance of research on the topic of servant leadership and has completed multiple research on the topic. The purpose of this research proposal is to examine the different types of approaches of leadership used in employee development and the impacts that they have on their organizations. A qualitative research project will then be conducted on servant leadership and its effect on employee development and performance management comparing and contrasting the benefits of this approach with others. Background

In order for the economy to improve and for business to increase, companies need to have employees that can believe in their organizational leadership. “Trust is the foundation of leadership.” (Maxwell, 1998, p. 65). Followers care much less about what their leaders know, until they know that they care about them. Although many leaders display characteristics of a charismatic or transformational leader, servant leadership ties in many of the same characteristics while maintaining the subordinate as the most important. Ken Blanchard, who was a pioneer for leadership training, describes servant leaders as “humble people who don’t think less of themselves, they just think about themselves less. They don’t deny their power; they just realize it passes through them, not from them” (Blanchard, 2007). Gaining an in-depth knowledge of the followers of servant leadership is the main principal. As Maxwell states, “Effective leaders recognize it takes sincere effort and compassion to reach someone’s heart and you must touch their heart before you ask them for a hand” (Maxwell, 1998). Before a leader can win someone over, they must be able to gain their support. Being able to build strong relationships between a company’s leaders and followers is the foundation to erupt from this economic downturn.

In an economy where many employers are trying to grow and groom their leaders within, employee development and performance management is an issue that must change with the economy. Extensive research has been conducted on companies such as Southwest Airlines that have adopted the characteristics of Servant Leadership. The conclusions show that compared to other companies that are utilizing other forms of leadership, employees are happier and turnover rates are much lower. A gap in research is how specifically, this leadership approach has positively affected performance management and how it can be used for employee development. Literature Review

History of Servant Leadership
There has been a variety of research conducted on leadership, but many researchers agree that no other style of leadership has as much history as servant leadership. Robert Greenleaf is a well-known essayist and researcher that became the forefather of servant leadership because of the various research...
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