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Leadership Styles: Examining Why Servant Leadership Transcends the Other Styles in an Organization


There are certain values that encompasses an organization.  Every company is a brand.  That is why in this literature review servant leadership is examined and how it surpasses other styles within an organization.  Throughout the years, leadership has been tied to status.  It is often equated that the best leaders will produce the best results.  In fact, leadership is not just about results but it is knowing how to do something consistently every time in any given situation or circumstance.  When successful leaders are discussed certain behaviors, attitudes, and styles are tied to them. Research has shown that leadership is tied to the quality of work as well as an organization’s culture.  Leaders can be categorized into several groups: servant leader, transformational and transactional as well as autocratic.  Moreover, “this paper aims to explore the available literature on servant leadership with a view to establish a servant leader’s role in instilling and facilitating positive organizational behaviour in the workplace.  Moreover, the purpose is also to determine whether the positive organizational behaviour inculcated among the employees through a servant leader helps in reducing their turnover intentions” (Dutta & Khatr, 2017, p. 62).  Leadership styles creates learning opportunities for both the leader, their subordinates as well as the organization.

Keywords: leaders, behaviors, attitudes

Determining the various leadership styles


The term leadership is always evolving.  Leadership is often seen as authoritative.  The success of any organization will determine the type of leader that is in place.  Leadership according to Dubrin (2019), “is the ability to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve organizational goals.  Other definitions of leadership is a process in which an individual influences a group of individuals to achieve a common goal.  The art of influencing people by persuasion or example to follow a line of action” (p. 2).  Leadership is often associated with authority or the power to do something that someone else is not authorized to do.  It is the attitudes and behaviors that shapes the various leadership and managerial styles.

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Peter F. Drucker who started the concept of outsourcing stated that “leadership is not magnetic personality, that can just as well be a glib tongue.  It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery.  Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to higher sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations” (Lind & Danskin, 2016, para. 8).  Research has shown that leadership and the quality of work is tied to culture.  The leader is the one who will determine the type of culture within any organization.  A leader’s job is not easy but they have learned the art of managing time, people, and situations.  The type of leader whether will determine what type of changes will occur within an organization.  Leaders have to establish a supportive and open environment.

Literature Review

Servant Leader

In this literature review a servant leader is examined.  A servant leader cares about the people, is approachable, trusted and values the opinions of their leaders.  What makes this type of person a servant is the way he acts and think.  This type of leader puts their team first.  Servant leaders care about the people.  It is the trust that servant leaders bring to their subordinates that separates them from other leadership styles.  Servant leaders lead by example.  According to Dutta and Khatri (2017), “a servant leader focuses on ethical and modest use of power, nurtures trusting and genuine relationship with followers and lays foundation for a supportive as well as positive work environment (Wong and Davey, 2007).  Simply speaking, a servant leader shifts attention from processes and outcomes to people” (para. 5).  Moreover, servant leaders do not talk brashly but listens to their subordinates.

“Servant leaders can do more than listen to their staff they can encourage them.  Indeed, in many ways’ encouragement is the hallmark expression of a servant leader, and it is a tremendously powerful tool, experts say. Whatever the type of interaction with staff, servant leaders are consistent in showing encouragement and humility with an egalitarian attitude. Trust is both a defining characteristic and defining outcome of servant leadership, says Stephen M.R. Covey, former CEO of the Covey Leadership Center and author of The Speed of Trust” (Tarallo, 2018, para. 10, 30).

For Christians, the best example of a servant leader is Jesus who stated, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28, NIV).  If an individual always rolls up their shirt they will never lose their sleeves.

Transformational and Transactional Leadership Theory

This literature review will examine which leadership style has the greatest impact in an  organization.  According to Dubrin (2019), stated “transformational leadership focuses on what the leader accomplishes, yet it still pays attention to the leader’s personal characteristics and his or her relationship with group members.  In contrast, the transactional leader focuses on more routine transactions, rewarding group members for meeting standards (contingent reinforcement)

research has shown that the transactional leaders is one who

Leaders who invest in their subordinates are distinct.  It is not too often where one can see that type of leader within an organization.  The transformational and transactional leadership theory, which is also referred to as the full range leadership theory (Avolio, 1999) or the multifactor leadership theory (Tejeda et al., 2001) is among the theories that have received the greatest attention from various researchers in various fields over the last decade. Transformational theory is one of the types of leadership that was initially developed by Burns (1978).  Transformational leaders may encourage their subordinates to develop their full potential and to transcend their individual aspirations for the good of organization.  According to Bass & Riggio (2006), they viewed transformational leadership as a leader who stimulate and inspire followers to both achieve extraordinary outcomes and, in the process, develop their own leadership capacity.  Transformational leadership is described as the ability to motivate and to encourage intellectual stimulation through inspiration (Avolio et al., 2004; Dvir et al., 2002). Transformational leaders inspire followers to exert effort beyond self-interest in favor of collective group accomplishment (Berson & Avolio, 2004).  This is supported by several researches that were conducted by Bono & Judge (2003), where they found that transformational leader practices influence the followers to achieve goals, as well as increase confidence, commitment and job performance.

Effectiveness of Transformational and Transactional

In terms of leadership effectiveness, transactional leadership is held to be somewhat less successful than transformational leadership because of the simple and impersonal nature of the leader-follower link and the lack of leader effect on the follower.  However, Den Hartog, Koopman& Van Muijen, (1997) argued that although the transactional leader may motivate subordinates to perform as expected, the transformational leader has the capacity to stir subordinates to levels of performance exceeding expectation. The impacts of transformational leadership are positively magnified by relations support, as the latter boosts employee confidence and serves as a good role model for nudging employees toward a creative work frontier (Millissa F.Y. Cheung, 2011).

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For Transformational leaders, they encourage their followers by influencing their beliefs, values, attitudes and behavior.  Transformational leaders motivate their followers in such a way that it goes beyond the rewards and exchanges. Transformational leadership theories give evidence, that when a leader employs transformational leadership style, it results in the emotional attachment of the followers or employees towards the leader” (Asrar-ul-Haqa & Kuchinke, 2016, p. 56).

Autocratic Leader

This type of leader, “the autocratic leadership style is best used in situations where control is necessary, often where there is little margin for error.  When conditions are dangerous, rigid rules can keep people out of harm’s way.  Many times, the subordinate staff is inexperienced or unfamiliar with the type of work and heavy oversight is necessary.  Rigid organizations often use this style.  It has been known to be very paternalistic, and in highly-professional, independent minded teams, it can lead to resentment and strained morale.  Good fits for Autocratic Leadership: Military, Manufacturing, and Construction” (Leadership Styles: Autocratic Leadership, Leadership Toolbox).


For instance, the “typical autocratic behaviors include telling people what to do?  On the other hand, some of the primary characteristics of autocratic leadership include: Little or no input from group members; Leaders make almost all of the decisions; Group leaders dictate all the work methods and processes; Group members are rarely trusted with decisions or important tasks; Work tends to be highly structured and very rigid; Creativity and out-of-the box thinking tend to be discouraged; Rules are important and tend to be clearly outlined and communicated (Cherry, 2019, para. 3).


In conclusion, it is the attitudes and beliefs is what defines a leader.  In today’s complex, ever-changing environment, leaders with integrity, vision, and commitment offer timeless assets to any organization.  But today, the best leaders also lead through influence, make decisions quickly and stay on top of the big picture (Stephenson, 2011, para. 15).  Leadership characteristics and styles vary within any organization.  Depending upon the culture and department will determine the type of leader an employee has to adapt too.  Martinuzzi (2019), stated this willingness to get out of one’s comfort zone, and learn continuously as a way of adapting to changed surroundings, marks a key difference between successful and unsuccessful leaders (para. 4).


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