Brief History of Servant Leadership - Essay Example

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University of Richmond
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Servant leadership was developed between 1904 and 1990 but first published in 1970 by Robert Greenleaf as outlined in the article. As stated by (Dierendonck, 2011, p.1231, para.2), the concept of servant leadership is founded on the idea that a leader is a servant. It means going past personal interest for the good of the company. The ideas of Greenleaf are coined to The Journey to the East by Herman Hesse, which narrates a story of a mythical journey of travelers accompanied by servants. Servant leadership is guided by the creation of opportunities to help the team members develop. The general concept is serving the followers by creating a strong relationship with the firm (Dierendonck, 2011, p.1230, para.1)

Incorporation of Leader-Member Exchange theory into servant leadership

Leader-Member Exchange is the connection that is developed between leaders and followers. As such, leaders categorize followers, and they become a part of in-group or the out-group based on their efficiency in working with the leader (Northouse, 2015, p.163, para. 2). Both followers and leaders experience a relationship, which is motivated by serving. LMX concept offers some motivational aspects to servant leadership. At the core of a servant leader and a follower is the belief of the leader in the intrinsic value for team members and what matters is recognizing, appreciating, and realizing the ability of each person and their capabilities to learn (Northouse, 2015, p.164, para. 2). LMX aids in understanding the inherent relation between a servant-leader and the follower, which features with mutual trust, respect, and duties (Dierendonck, 2011, p. 1246, para.3).

Incorporation of a leader to sever in servant-leadership

Dierendonck (2011, p.1247, para.2) indicates that the inspiration to serve is consolidated as a pre-essential into the hireling authority serve and inspiration to serve together with motivation of leading is the establishment of servant leadership concept.

The incorporation of a leader to server leadership is consistent with the personality of servant leadership. Leaders are chosen by features like integrity, competence or empathy (Dierendonck, 2011, p.1248, para.3).

In conclusion, servant leadership was developed by Robert Greenleaf based on the idea of leaders being servants. Servant leaders aspire to create opportunities that help in the growth of team members. Leader-Member Concept is incorporated in servant leadership through the inherent connection that leaders share with their followers that are characterized with respect and integrity. Servant leaders serve with the idea of establishing a leadership that is consistent with their attributes.


Dierendonck, D. v. (2011). Servant Leadership: A Review and Synthesis. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1228-1261. doi:10.1177/0149206310380462.

Northouse, P. G. (2016). Leadership Theory and Practice (7th ed.). SAGE Publications, Inc.

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