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Corporate Leadership Journey : From Servant Leadership to Spiritual leadership

By:Shurlly Tiwari- Faculty HR
The corporate world is moving at fast pace, and so as the styles of leadership also needs to change fast .there are several styles of leadership that we have encountered in the past but one of the most effective and talked about styles was Servant Leadership.

A servant leader is a leader whose focus is only on the follower’s upliftment, and the achievement of organizational objectives is a subordinate outcome. The extent to which the leader is able to shift the primary focus of leadership from the organization to the follower is the distinguishing factor in classifying leaders.
Servant leaders built three values among its team of followers Trust, Appreciation and Empowerment. Fundamentally, leader values may be the underlying factors that separate servant leaders from all other leadership types.
The basic idea behind servant leadership is “service of mankind”, a common thread among these approaches is the internal conviction that the servant leader is the servant of the higher being or the power. In summary, classical literature suggests that the distinguishing elements of servant leadership are its primary intent (what the servant leader does) and self-concept (who the servant leader is), which implies that servant leadership is not only about ‘doing’ the acts of service but also ‘being’ a servant (Sendjaya and Sarros, 2002).
 Servant leaders portray a resolute conviction and strong character by taking on not only the role of a servant, but also the nature of a servant, which is demonstrated by their total commitment to serve other people ( Jaworski, 1997). Extant review of the literature identified more than 20 themes pertinent to servant leadership, which can be categorized into six different dimensions of servant leadership behaviour: Voluntary Subordination, Authentic Self, Covenantal Relationship, Responsible Morality, Transcendental Spirituality, and Transforming Influence. It mostly follow the Christian theology.

Voluntary Subordination. The literature suggests that central to servant leadership is a willingness to take up opportunities to serve others whenever there is a legitimate need regardless of the nature of the service, the person served, or the mood of the servant leader (Blanchard and Hodges, 2003; Foster, 1989; Marshall, 1991; Wilkes, 1998).

Authentic Self.  Servant leaders are very humble and they believe in working silently , behind the scene , they are extremely secure leaders and the best of their behaviour is Fearlessness, their work becomes there identity. Since their leadership flows out of ‘being’, servant leaders are capable of leading authentically (Autry, 2001; De Pree, 1989), as manifested in their consistent display of humility (McGee-Cooper and Looper, 2001; Swindoll, 1981), integrity (Russell and Stone, 2002; Wong and Page, 2003), accountability (Block, 1993; Marshall, 1991), security (Palmer, 1998), and vulnerability (Batten, 1998; De Pree, 1997; Patterson, 2004).

Covenantal relationship (formal agreement):
Servant leaders engage with and accept others for who they are, not for how they make servant leaders feel (Greenleaf, 1977). This unqualified acceptance enables other people to experiment, grow, and be creative without fear (Daft and Lengel, 2000). Unlike most leaders who protect status symbols as a means of establishing distance between themselves and their followers, servant leaders treat all people with radical equality, engaging with others as equal partners in the organization (Marshall, 1991). The Covenant-based relationship, which is an intensely personal bond marked by shared values, open-ended commitment, mutual trust, and
concern for the welfare of the other party. Such leaders develop a unique trust with its followers, which goes beyond the call of duty.

Responsible Morality. Since the exercise of authority and power always entails ethical challenges in every leader-follower relationship (Bass and Steidlmeier, 1999; Hollander, 1995), servant leaders also ensure that both the ends they seek and the means they employ are morally legitimized, thoughtfully reasoned, and ethically justified (Sendjaya, 2005). This ethical predisposition is likely when we consider that servant leaders appeal to higher ideals, moral values, and the higher-order needs of followers ( Yukl, 1990, p. 210). Furthermore, Graham (1991) argued that servant leadership employs relational power which facilitates good moral dialogue between leaders and followers.
Trans dental Spirituality: It is thus defined as behaviours of the leader which manifest an inner conviction that something or someone beyond self and the material world exists and makes life complete and meaningful.

Transforming Influence: Greenleaf (1977) argued that servant leadership is demonstrated whenever those served by servant leaders are positively transformed in multiple dimensions (e.g. emotionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually) into servant leaders themselves. This view is shared by Graham (1991) who maintained that servant leadership is contagious.
Few researches have also mentioned that servant leaders are better visionaries and the way that they adopt for the leadership methods are also impactful. In most of the cases the followers of the servant leaders, also show the same kind of leadership.

A causal theory of spiritual leadership is developed within an intrinsic motivation model that incorporates vision, hope/faith, and altruistic (sefless) love, theories of workplace spirituality, and spiritual survival. The purpose of spiritual leadership is to create vision and value congruence across the strategic, empowered team and individual levels and, ultimately, to foster higher levels of organizational commitment and productivity.
Qualities of a spiritual leader:
Altruistic love
Hope and faith
Broad appeal to the stakeholders

Endurance, perseverance
Defines the destination and journey
Stretch goals
Reflects high ideals
Expectation of rewards and victory
Encourage hope and faith
Empathy, honesty
Do not stick to the outcome
Establish high standard  of excellence
Patience , courage , trust and loyalty

Do what it takes
Emerging literature suggests that spiritual leadership and servant leadership are conceptually related (e.g. Fairholm, 1997; Giacalone and Jurkiewicz, 2003; Mitroff and Denton, 1999). Fry (2003, p. 708) provided a clear articulation of the relationship between the two constructs, claiming that ‘the servant leader brings together service and meaning – the leader is attuned to basic spiritual values and, in serving them serves others including colleagues, the organization, and society’. Similar to spiritual leadership, servant leadership responds to the needs of individuals whose lives in today’s modern workplace are often characterized by disconnectedness, compartmentalization, and disorientation (Fairholm, 1997; Mitroff and Denton, 1999), by restoring a sense of wholeness (Conger, 1994; Hicks, 2002) and fostering a ‘holistic, integrated life’(Fairholm, 1997, p. 31). Servant leaders are also attuned to the idea of calling in seeking to make a difference in the lives of others through service, from which one derives the meaning and purpose of life (Fry, 2003; Maddock and Fulton, 1998). This calling involves a sense of interconnectedness between the internal self and the external world (Fairholm, 1997; Mitroff and Denton, 1999; Palmer, 1998; Stamp, 1991; Vaill, 1998), the awareness of which enables servant leaders to engage in meaningful and intrinsically motivating work. Transforming Influence.

In my opinion , both servant leadership as well as the Spiritual leadership are very good in maintaining the culture and developing the people spiritually work Culture and Development empoyees pay an important role in the growth of the organisation.

Both kinds of leadership are helpful in reducing stress among the employees , which indirectly helps in building Organisation Citizenship Behaviour (OCB) among employees . And researches   have proved that OCB helps in decreasing the attrition rates of the organisations.    
1   Defining and Measuring Servant Leadership Behaviour in Organizations , Journal of Management Studies 45:2 March 2008
2   Toward a theory of spiritual leadership Louis W. Fry* Tarleton State University-Central Texas, 1901 South Clear Creek Road, Killeen, TX 76549, USA
3      Spirituality and Servant Leader Behavior
4    Investigating the risk of spiritual leadership – Anna cregard, Halmstad University.
5   Spritual Leadership by : (Fairholm, 1997; Mitroff and Denton, 1999; Palmer, 1998; Stamp, 1991; Vaill, 1998