Service to humanity is service to God. There will always be leaders entrusted in spearheading the others in achieving the set goals and standards in spheres of life. For the leader to be effective, they must be servants, which means that they have to focus on others’ needs before focusing on themselves. Servant leaders are not slaves since slaves do what people want, while the servant leaders do what people need. The Army requires this kind of leadership, especially in this era of downsizing, coupled with complex challenges that increase day by day. In the armies, the word sergeant originates from the French language, and it means a servant. A servant leader in the Army puts his egos and ranks aside in pursuit of improving their platoons. They do this by putting the needs of others before theirs. Servant leadership is an ingrained culture and an underlying theme of the USA army. Members of a troop or a platoon will never leave a fallen soldier. Sergeants help the privates join their barracks. The sergeant also shows and trains them how to conduct army business. First, sergeants take time to create a rapport with all the soldiers in their companies. Another instance of selfless leadership in the USA army is when sergeants major spends their free time serving troops in the mess hall. Robert Greenleaf defines servant leaders as individuals, inherently born with servant leadership skills (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018). This essay discusses the characteristics, principles, advantages, and the disadvantages of a servant leader in the US army.
Richard Greenleaf, who first proposed servant leadership, postulates that a servant leader is based on the following. Their humility, trust, empowerment, vision, service, altruism, and agape love. A servant leader in the Army is humble. By humility, it does not mean that they lack self-esteem; instead, they recognize their ranks in the Army, but that does not consume them. Humble leaders lower their status to reach out to their juniors and help the Army accomplish their assignments. They can see beyond their own ambitions and appreciate the privates’ and juniors’ value in the military rank. A servant leader elicits trust in the follower by responding to a crisis in a manner to suggest that they own the problem. Trust helps the juniors and the seniors unite and face a task in unity, which grows the troops and the Army in general. Vision in a servant leader makes him or her see the future of all the individuals in a barrack or a troop and their untapped abilities. The leader then embarks on helping the soldier reach that state of the future. Vision in servant leaders helps to inspire and motivate action and instill the future as they move into the future. Altruism is the link that exists between the good motives and the ill behaviors. It is more of a moral value (Jaiswal & Dhar, 2017). It motivates leaders to act in others’ welfare and interest without expecting a reward or a promotion into the next rank. Empowerment in servant leadership is an element that allows the leaders to give the juniors space and time to make mistakes, learn, and grow their careers.
Through learning, the junior officers under the tutorage of their seniors are capable and ready to handle higher ranks. Service is a primary function of leadership (Savel & Munro, 2017). A servant leader must see life as a mission to serve others, and this should induce them to accept the call to duty of serving others (Gandolfi & Stone, 2018). A servant leader attaches his or her pleasures and greatness to the services accorded to people. Agape love makes servant leaders. The love for others unconditionally. All these factors work in tandem to shape a servant leader in all spheres of the world, including the Army.
Servant leadership has some advantages. The advantages can be to the leader, the army barrack, or the soldiers. A servant leader in the military will help in reducing the high suicide rates among the military members. The majority of the people committing suicide have been seen to do so because of disagreement with their commanders. Commanders who possess the servant leadership skills will be empathetic, allow autonomy, and always endeavor to reach an amicable decision and maintain a work-life balance. Servant leadership is critical in the USA army, which has increased overseas operations such as in Iraq and Afghanistan. With servant leaders leading the troops into the battlefields, the war is bound to be won. A servant leader will have enthusiastic soldiers, and the flow of command will be effective (Uddin, 2019). In the recent past, there has been an exodus of some of the best junior-grade officers, which is a matter of concern to the US military. The solution can be enhancing servant leadership in the military. The junior officers will be motivated and proud to be in the Army (Eva et al., 2019). Servant leaders have benefits that cannot be overlooked in the society we live. The peace that nations boast of is a product of servant leadership in the military.
Servant leadership also has its fair share of disadvantages, especially in critical sectors like the military. A decision in the military should be very swift because a delay can cause huge losses. Servant leaders ought to make decisions that include everyone’s views. Precisely they have to do what the juniors ask them. It is time-consuming and uninformed decisions can emanate here. A servant leader is also supposed to own a problem that was committed by a junior. Therefore, they are supposed to step in and fix a problem when it occurs, which includes finishing a task that a junior officer failed to do. In the long run, the junior officers becomes demotivated and lacks the initiative to work or complete assignments (Eva et al., 2019). After all, the seniors will do it. A military officer takes time to be taught and trained in thinking and acting like a leader. Army officials should establish a balance between the benefits and the disadvantages of a servant leader in the military for good results.
In conclusion, a servant leader is built from the following attributes: service, humility, altruism, empowerment, vision, agape love, and trust. In the US army, a servant leader is critical to help the Army overcome challenges and face the herculean tasks before it. Servant leadership has both advantages and disadvantages. Overall, it is the reason for the peace that citizens enjoy. Some are born as selfless leaders while others learn, but all in all, service to humanity is service to nature and God.
Eva, N., Robin, M., Sendjaya, S., van Dierendonck, D., & Liden, R. C. (2019). Servant leadership: A systematic review and a call for future research. The Leadership Quarterly, 30(1), 111-132. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1048984317307774
Gandolfi, F., & Stone, S. (2018). Leadership, leadership styles, and servant leadership. Journal of Management Research, 18(4), 261-269. http://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:jmr&volume=18&issue=4&article=005
Jaiswal, N. K., & Dhar, R. L. (2017). The influence of servant leadership, trust in the leader, and thriving on employee creativity. Leadership & Organization Development Journal. https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/LODJ-02-2015-0017/full/html?casa_token=HSOjP-zw0kgAAAAA:iF5-IKjuiMBqut8S7-yBIbhjZtmsMkJ_Wj8O-m4e9DpxueyWmoakZE78LTvz-ZIgAGIeOiOMqW_dAjjK5Ad6obFTgDSoBFWx-EdJnNVKPcOkFhcVsvpr8A
Savel, R. H., & Munro, C. L. (2017). Servant leadership: The importance of service. https://aacnjournals.org/ajcconline/article-abstract/26/2/97/3224
Uddin, S. (2019). Characteristics of Servant Leadership Can Complement the Army Leadership Requirements. ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS FORT LEAVENWORTH United States. https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/citations/AD1085439