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Servant leadership has been a big concept in leadership development. The way individuals lead is dependent on what they have developed into or how they believe they should lead. Many have the feeling to lead from the front and inspire but many others have the feeling to serve an overall greater idea or purpose. Servant leadership, and the differences between it and other styles of leadership, can be applied to many aspects of the U.S. Army to effectively change and perhaps even improve leadership.

Servant leadership is a leadership style that is very effective on certain occasions and has a broad range of characteristics. What is servant leadership? Servant leadership “is a servant first…and begins with the feeling of wanting to serve” (Greenleaf 6). A servant leader obtains a feeling or desire to serve those around him or her. The power within a group is distributed and all serve a greater purpose and a bigger goal collectively shared. An individual who wants to be a servant leader dedicates his or her time to perfecting the ways to satisfy the needs of others before their own (Greenleaf 6). One must ask themselves what one can do to satisfy those around them and complete the mission. A leader must have the initiative to accept the fact that they are taking a risk and may fail or succeed. They must realize that they need to remain selfless and achieve the goal at the potential loss of their own goals. Although one may strive to serve, one also needs to follow in order to grasp a better idea of how to lead. Servant leader has a unique characteristic in that they distribute power among followers to potentially grow themselves as people and become better followers. One must be able to follow if one leads. If you are a follower, you must be able to hone your skills under the leadership of another so when you take on a leadership role you can overall perform better knowing their mistakes and how to bring new solutions to these issues. Although servant leadership is a leadership style that can be useful in certain situations, it differs from other leadership styles.

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Servant leadership is a style of leadership in which leaders serve on behalf of the followers, which is very different from other styles. Servant leadership is completely different from an individual who leads first since the needs of others are held at the highest priority. Compared to leadership styles such as transformational, in which one looks to inspire and motivate to accomplish the mission, servant leadership seems to be more effective because followers are more involved with the leader as their needs are cared about and placed first. During projects or missions, conflict may arise within the group, among an individual, or during a task. As a servant leader, there should be an automatic response to listen to the conflict and try to solve the issue to help benefit the individual or group rather than themself (Greenleaf). If the same issue occurred with a transactional leader, the individual would correct the action to the way they are either trained or knowledgeable about and then move on (Scandura). Many times, they task other individuals to solve these issues and grant a reward to those who solve the issue. This is an ineffective way of leading because motivation is steered towards reward instead of individual progression and the overall goal of the group or team. Also, with transactional leadership, many issues are dealt with using a generic solution that has been developed out of habit or protocol. Servant leadership allows for creativity to arise in a solution. Since you are serving the people in a leadership position, you can collectively include them in the problem-solving process and come up with a potentially more effective solution than protocol. Not only is servant leadership different from other leadership styles, but it can be applied to the U.S. Army.

The servant leadership style can be applied to leaders in the U.S. Army. As soldiers in the U.S. Army, you swear to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. When you take this oath, you are sworn to serve and protect the people of the United States selflessly. Soldiers are servants to the people of the United States because they are protectors of freedom and perform duties that serve the people of the United States and others within the U.S. Army. As officers in the Army, one must serve the people of the United States but also serve the soldiers underneath them. Officers must complete the mission, but also need to take into account the needs of their soldiers. If soldiers’ needs are not satisfied, they are going to be unmotivated and less likely to participate fully in mission tasks. Officers need to generate an environment for soldiers in which strengths rather than weaknesses are recognized, results are generated and recognized, and leadership listens rather than orders. Within this environment, fellow soldiers are more involved with their tasks and they feel more motivated to complete the task at hand correctly and more efficiently. This environment generates a more satisfying work environment but an overall satisfied soldier. Satisfied soldiers are more willing to continue their careers within the Army. If a solider is tasked with an assignment that reflects one of his or her weaknesses, the task will not be completed effectively and it may cause further issues, but if it is one of his or her strengths the task can be completed effectively. In terms of a team, if each member is tasked with an assignment that they are strong and confident in doing, then the team cohesion is going to be strong and effective. Cohesion is key to the success of a team. Without cohesion, it is hard to accomplish goals under one mindset and complete tasks appropriate to the mission. The Army must be a cohesive team in order to accomplish missions to serve and protect the citizens of the United States. Without servant leadership, the Army would not be able to generate work environments for soldiers to generate success. The success of individual soldiers, teams and units must be guided by leadership that is more involved and more effective such as servant leadership. Servant leadership is a very interesting leadership style and can be applied to leadership within the U.S. Army.

Servant leadership is a very interesting leadership style that generates a different environment for followers, distributes power, and places the needs of others before the self. This is different from other styles because other styles tend to either motivate through reward or try to motivate to complete a task for the benefit of self or the leader. In the Army, this leadership style can be applied to benefit the longevity of soldiers and can also benefit leaders in their success in completing missions. Overall, servant leadership is a very beneficial leadership style and should be used widely to create a better environment and benefit leadership in motivating followers to accomplish the mission.

Reference Page

  1. Greenleaf, Robert K. The Servant as Leader. Robert K. Greenleaf Center, 2008.
  2. Scandura, Terri A. Essentials of Organizational Behavior: An Evidence-Based Approach. 2018.

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