Just like giving a plant the right nutrients to grow, transformational leadership (of which service leadership is part of) helps those involved flourish.
While reviewing this page about different leadership theories, it occurred to me that this list was laid out in chronological order as a matter of practicality, but that it also reflected an evolution of thought. Starting with the most limited view of leadership, the Great Man Theory (being male-centric and genetically based) and working our way down the list, we can see that with each new theory, more consideration is given to behaviors, circumstances and relationships. Ending with Transformational Leadership Theory, this is the only theory that focuses on both the leader and the follower. It is the only theory that uses words like ‘inspire,’ ‘trust’ and ‘flexible.’
Indeed, in these times we are in need of leadership that is inspiring, trusting and flexible. Servant leadership falls within the transformational category, since by serving others, we are serving ourselves and transforming both parties for the better. This type of leadership emphasizes an exchange within the setting of interpersonal relationships, where leaders are focused on creating a culture of safety and security—conditions that are ripe for bringing out the best qualities in others.
It is important to consider different ways of doing things and different ways to approach leadership. Do different types of leadership work better for different goals? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.