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Servant Leadership and Followership

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The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast followership and servant leadership. Our topics will be touching their definitions, comparisons, and differences. Both are essential knowledge for Soldiers to progress as a more effective leader. In turn, their organization will be more efficient due to the leader’s and subordinates’ combined efforts. These qualities highly benefit leaders by making them able to think at another perspective. At the same time, this type of leadership is rapidly replacing “the more traditional autocratic and hierarchical models of leadership”. 

According to Robert Greenleaf, servant leadership is defined as “servants first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”  A servant leader’s main focus is empowering his subordinates for the betterment of the organization. They communicate with openness and persuasion instead of demanding obedience from followers. On the other hand, followership refers to the role of a follower. They think of ways on how to better serve their leader to take the burden off their shoulders.

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Without both the leader and followers, neither would exist. This is a concept that is similar to both servant leadership and followership. Leaders are nothing when they have nobody to lead and followers will be lost with nobody to lead them. A relationship between the two is necessary for a smooth operating organization. Each parties also need to be effective listeners and have situational awareness to their surroundings. By being able to listen effectively, leaders and followers can serve each other more efficiently. It encourages the team to be successful as a whole and not by relying just to the leader or subordinates to deliver.

Despite their similarities, servant leadership and followership have their differences. Servant leaders must still maintain their vision despite being more inclusive of subordinates when it comes to decision-making. Likewise, followers should be able to critically think by themselves. They should be able to relieve their leaders of some burden and back up their leader’s decision when asked for their opinion. Servant leaders should also be committed in finding ways to encourage their workers to succeed. For the follower, it is their duty to be an advocate for their peers. As part of their critical thinking, they need to “determine what message to communicate and how to best communicate that message upward.” 

By exercising servant leadership and followership, Soldiers will be more proficient with applying themselves as leaders. A leader is going to be well-rounded when s/he combines the comparisons and differences of both types together. It also prepares the leader once the shift in leadership from the traditional model to the modern one takes place.

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