Leadership greatly impacts the effectiveness of an organization. Some of the best leaders demonstrate flexibility and exhibit different leadership styles based on the context of the situation. Often, leaders assume different leadership styles in their personal and professional lives. Three styles common in any organization include transactional, transformational, and servant leadership.
The transactional leader assumes the role of a manager. Their efforts are centered on organization and production (Pepper, 2010). Furthermore, the focus is not placed on the good of the worker, but the level of organizational effectiveness. The transactional leadership model emphasizes the role of punishment and an exchange of incentives for efforts. The rewards are typically extrinsic. Think of the transactional leader as the typical manager whose main focus is ensuring that every cog is in place.
A transformational leader is one who empowers, inspires, and invites others to join him in committing to a shared vision (Lezotte & Snyder, 2011). The characteristics of a transformational leader include high levels of enthusiasm, celebrating successes of others, and encouraging creativity (Leonard, 2008). The rewards are intrinsic. Think of the transformational leader as a cheerleader. He or she supports you and encourages you to take responsible risks to better yourself and the organization.
Servant leadership begins with the desire to serve others and the aspirations to lead (Greenleaf, 2008). In addition, servant leadership involves shared decision-making and helping others to be the best they can be. According to Spears and Lawrence (2002), “Servant leadership is about getting people to a higher level by leading at a higher level” (p. xi). Rather than being served, it focuses on serving others (Ebener & O’ Connell, 2010). Furthermore, the servant leader model requires the leader to work to surpass his interests for the good of the whole organization. Servant leaders act with humility, celebrate the successes of others, and empower others to make decisions for their good and that of the organization (Ebener & O’Connell). A servant leader exhibits the characteristics of (a) listening to others; (b) showing empathy; (c) healing; (d) being aware of others’ needs; (e) building consensus; (f) using foresight; (g) being a positive model; (g) committing to the positive growth of the organization and its members; (h) building a community (Spears, 2004). Think of the servant leader as a coach who is on the sidelines. The servant leader is not in it for the glory; he or she is more concerned about the good of the organization and its people.
Think about the leader in your own building and his or her typical actions. Under which style of leadership does this leader’s characteristics fall? Which type of leader do you think you act most like in your personal and/or professional life?
—-Stephanie Scott http://effectivek12schools.com—-
Ebener, D. & O’Connell, D. (2010). How might servant leadership work? Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 20(3), 315-335. Retrieved from http://www.servantleadershipmodels.com/Nonprofit_Mgt_and_Leadership_article.pdf
Greenleaf, R. (2008). The servant as leader. Westfield, IN: The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.
Leonard, A. (2008). What’s your leadership style? Campus Activities Programming, 41(2), 20-23. Retrieved from Education Research Complete database.
Lezotte, L. & Snyder, K. (2011). What effective schools do: Re-envisioning the correlates. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Pepper, K. (2010). Effective principals skillfully balance leadership styles to facilitate student success: A focus for the reauthorization of ESEA. Planning and Changing, 41(1/2), 42-56. Retrieved from http://planningandchanging.illinoisstate.edu/recentarticles/volume41.shtml
Spears, L. & Lawrence M. (2002). Focus on leadership: Servant leadership for the twenty-first century. New York: NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.