Dear Student of Leadership,
Two leadership styles have emerged in the business world that many esteem to be superior to most others. They have been called “Transformational Leadership” and “Servant Leadership.” Which one is best?
Transformational Leadership inspires and motivates the followers. Transformational Leadership knows and understands the vision of the organization and is able to help others see that same vision. It is this vision that inspires and motivates people. But, as many people learn through experience, it isn’t enough to be motivated. Motivation without resources can quickly turn into despair.
Servant Leadership helps its followers by providing the resources needed to succeed. It anticipates needs and strives to be a participant in the follower’s success. Servant Leadership is tenacious about helping fellow workers succeed, but this leadership style is only effective as long as the leader is around. When the leader leaves, so do the resources.
The ideal leader becomes what I like to call the “Transformational Servant.” This type of leadership inspires and motivates by clearly communicating the energizing vision and purpose of the organization. It follows that up with providing helpful resources. Then, these leaders actually pitch in and work side by side with the followers.
Transformational Servant Leadership is a form of leadership that works both in the here-and-now, as well as in the future. When a leader effectively helps other people see the inspiring vision of the organization, that vision can become a part of the follower. When the follower can clearly see and be energized by the vision on his or her own, they become future Transformational Leaders by learning how to effectively share that vision with others. When they are given the resources they need to succeed, they can actually accomplish their goals if they work at it. They can then become leaders themselves by inspiring others and providing resources. The cycle can go on and on.
When looking for opportunities, I always seek out those who display these leadership qualities. If they don’t have these qualities at a minimum, I usually take my search elsewhere.
You can identify Transformational Servant Leadership by paying attention to how you feel. If leadership energizes, inspires and motivates to you, they probably have the “Transformational Leadership” you are looking for. If they also provide effective and helpful resources and actually participate with you in your journey, then they display “Servant Leadership” qualities.
I encourage you to develop and model these two leadership qualities. They are powerful.