Servant Leadership: Is the Servant Leadership instrument valid across multiple cultures? | The Oxford Review - OR Briefings

Servant Leadership: Is the Servant Leadership instrument valid across multiple cultures?

Research Briefing

Keywords: leadership, servant leadership, leadership style, psychometric instrument

The idea of servant leadership has been around since Robert Greenleaf introduced it in 1977 in his book, Servant Leadership: a journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness. The concept of servant leadership is based on the idea that the leader should be placing the benefit and welfare of those who follow over the self-interest of the leader. Servant leadership focuses on leadership behaviours that develop and engage with followers and has the interests of those they are leading as the primary focus over and above their own.

More stable than transformational leadership

A whole range of previous studies into the concept of servant leadership show that servant leadership has a significant positive impact on follower well-being, as well as on the effectiveness and performance of both individuals and teams. Further, previous studies have shown that servant leadership has greater levels of predictability of positive follower behaviour than just about every other type of leadership, including transformational leadership. What this means is that leaders who engage with the notion of servant leadership create greater levels of consistency of positive behaviour among followers and in organisations than even transformational leadership styles. This is known as incremental validity. Servant leadership has been shown to have one of the highest levels of incremental validity of all leadership styles.

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