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Topics: Career Development, Leadership, New Practitioners
Are Servant Leaders Born or Made?
I purpose the same question that Claar, V. V., Jackson, L., & TenHaken, V. asked in their 2016 article, “Are Servant Leaders Born or Made?”
Authentic servant leadership is based on the premise of serving others and putting others’ interests before personal interests. If this premise is true, then many will be unable to practice servant leadership due to a lack of the prerequisite attributes of a servant leader (Greenleaf, 1977).
Consider the possibility that servant leadership practices and attitudes may be formed and developed in those to whom servant leadership does not come naturally. If so, then servant leadership may potentially be utilized by those who are not natural servant leaders in one of two ways.
First, it is possible that one may grow into an authentic servant leader through the ongoing practice of the habits of servant leaders. If so, this is a powerful idea.
Second, it seems possible that a skillful manager may potentially draw from the quiver of authentic servant leadership on a situational basis.
What do you believe, Are Servant Leaders Born or Made?
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It is a little bit hard. Both are important, I think.
Anyway, most of the times, you can change yourself by training and ... .
Personally, I believe Leadership is born within a person and nurtured with experience over time.
John -

Behaviors can be learned - either authentically or via the "fake it till you make it" approach. However, with any soft skill there will be folks who are naturally better at it than others who have to work hard at it.

As an example, one requirement of servant-leadership is empathy. Some people are naturally more empathetic than others but anyone (who is committed to doing so and is not a sociopath) can increase their empathy through mindfulness, coaching, and practice.

Kiron
John,

my take on this is that we all are indeed leaders, everybody.

Leaders show themselves in demanding situations and we see that many humans raise to the challenge once they are exposed to it.
If we accept this, it becomes mandatory to prepare ourselves for those demanding situations, and I believe this can be done by continually developing our wisdom.
What wisdom means for me you can read here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wisdom-what...-thomas-walenta

Some of us are equipped with mainly physical features that enable us to lead more easily, like a dark voice or over average height, from birth.

As to our brain features, only 25% of the brain develops inside the mother's womb and 75% grow exposed to external influences, hence supports our being social animals, and leaders. Even after maturity around 20 years of age, our brain is very flexible to changes.

So, yes, some leadership features we are born with, more are developed unconsciously during childhood and adolescence, and some we are developing consciously in foresight (e.g. thru training) and in response to disruptions (called learning).

Thomas
...
1 reply by Sam Stevens
Mar 30, 2022 11:30 AM
Sam Stevens
...
Hey Thomas, it's likely you're a leader and more than likely a natural-born leader.

Did you know natural-born servants are not only wired to serve, but actually have an ability and desire to only make decisions based on what has been directed (by the leaders)? They also detest sole responsibility while leaders thrive in it.

Not everyone is a leader because not everyone needs what leaders need, though us leaders see the potential for people playing their parts toward a goal, we must first realize what parts actually exist.

Brain development/comprehension of traits is different in a context of leadership (though leadership is so subjectively defined). Certainly we are impacted by our environment and thus the items that can change through choice/will/preference/comfort/values, etc.

But if indeed there are biological traits that are unchangeable, that we had since birth, then there could be a different acknowledgement of leaders and servants.

A leader who serves is the character of the leader that can not compromise their leadership (and wouldn't want to). Likewise a servant who leads should not compromise their servanthood (and wouldn't want to).

And when it is realized that they are leaders or servants based on emotional biology rather than willpower or laziness (depending on who is perceiving their actions), it may be best to let that person blaze their trails according to their needs rather than the utility of their needs socially/vocationally.
Excellent comments so far.

I believe that Pareto principle could be applied here. 80% of the characteristics of a servant leader are inherent to the individual (he is born with them) whilst the remaining 20% can be developed via training & learning.
Mar 23, 2022 5:24 AM
Replying to Thomas Walenta
...
John,

my take on this is that we all are indeed leaders, everybody.

Leaders show themselves in demanding situations and we see that many humans raise to the challenge once they are exposed to it.
If we accept this, it becomes mandatory to prepare ourselves for those demanding situations, and I believe this can be done by continually developing our wisdom.
What wisdom means for me you can read here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/wisdom-what...-thomas-walenta

Some of us are equipped with mainly physical features that enable us to lead more easily, like a dark voice or over average height, from birth.

As to our brain features, only 25% of the brain develops inside the mother's womb and 75% grow exposed to external influences, hence supports our being social animals, and leaders. Even after maturity around 20 years of age, our brain is very flexible to changes.

So, yes, some leadership features we are born with, more are developed unconsciously during childhood and adolescence, and some we are developing consciously in foresight (e.g. thru training) and in response to disruptions (called learning).

Thomas
Hey Thomas, it's likely you're a leader and more than likely a natural-born leader.

Did you know natural-born servants are not only wired to serve, but actually have an ability and desire to only make decisions based on what has been directed (by the leaders)? They also detest sole responsibility while leaders thrive in it.

Not everyone is a leader because not everyone needs what leaders need, though us leaders see the potential for people playing their parts toward a goal, we must first realize what parts actually exist.

Brain development/comprehension of traits is different in a context of leadership (though leadership is so subjectively defined). Certainly we are impacted by our environment and thus the items that can change through choice/will/preference/comfort/values, etc.

But if indeed there are biological traits that are unchangeable, that we had since birth, then there could be a different acknowledgement of leaders and servants.

A leader who serves is the character of the leader that can not compromise their leadership (and wouldn't want to). Likewise a servant who leads should not compromise their servanthood (and wouldn't want to).

And when it is realized that they are leaders or servants based on emotional biology rather than willpower or laziness (depending on who is perceiving their actions), it may be best to let that person blaze their trails according to their needs rather than the utility of their needs socially/vocationally.
Anyone can be a leader in the proper context. Studying servant leadership, or any leadership style, is part of the personal development path for those inclined to grow in that area. The reason someone wants to adopt a Servant Leadership stance might originate in a natural selfless personality, or it may also be more egotistical. It might be the realization that his own success depends on helping everyone else in the organization succeed.

Unfortunately, natural servant leaders are eaten alive or not even hired in "cutthroat" organizational cultures, prevalent in many industries across corporate America. While some of these organizations realize that they can't compete in sXXI with an individualistic "survival of the fittest" culture, they find it very difficult to change their culture to one that fosters teamwork and collaboration. They will need to change incentives and rewards for all for that to happen.

Some people might need more coaching than others, but most people would adapt naturally given the proper incentives.
I believe there is such a thing as a born leader but that DOES NOT mean they will ever lead. I also believe that you can become a leader, not by your position but by your behavior.
Is a one-week old baby a leader? What about a two-year old toddler? If we are born with leadership, when does it materialize?

I believe that we grow into leadership. All our lives, we were surrounded by leaders--parents, teachers, coaches. These leaders showed us and taught us leadership. They gave us opportunities to learn through failure and success.

Why do we have to qualify leadership with the word servant? Leadership is providing a service. There's no need to qualify it with the word servant, situational, or whatever the adjective du jour is.
Mostly born, but nature can encourage qualities that are already innate

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