Followership and Servant Leadership

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Updated: Apr 30, 2024
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Followership and Servant Leadership

This essay will explore the concepts of followership and servant leadership, examining their roles and importance in effective leadership and organizational success. It will discuss the characteristics of good followership, such as loyalty, integrity, and active participation, and how these qualities complement and enhance servant leadership. The piece will also analyze the principles of servant leadership, including empathy, listening, and stewardship, and how these principles foster a positive and productive work environment. The relationship between leaders and followers and how they can collaboratively contribute to achieving organizational goals will be a key focus. On PapersOwl, there’s also a selection of free essay templates associated with Goal.

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The effectiveness of leadership, and the success of those who follow that leadership, determine the success of an organization itself. The Army, at any level, is in no way an exception. Followership and servant leadership are both pivotal aspects of mission completion and are easily compared due to their mutual goals. Each of these are unique as well and depends on certain circumstances to achieve success. This essay on followership and servant leadership within the Army will highlight their differences and how they are both necessary.

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Followership is defined as the capacity and willingness to follow a leader. Everyone in the Army has someone who gives them orders they must follow, as well as many standards that are expected of every soldier regardless of rank or position. The followers are a leader’s means to accomplish tasks. There are many different types of followers, the most effective of these is the exemplary follower. Exemplary followership is the idea of the follower assuming responsibility both individually and for the group as a whole. Doing this ensures that the follower understands that individual shortcomings or individual success affects the group and the success of the leader.

A servant leader, simply put, places the needs of others first. In 1970 Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase “Servant leadership.” Servant leadership depends primarily on the group dynamic. Servant leaders focus on ethical decision-making and concern for their subordinates. They do this by fulfilling their needs and offer support needed for achieving work and personal goals. The servant leader does this while maintaining the mission-first mindset. When possible, a servant leader also involves the soldiers in the decision-making process and develops a more democratic approach to planning and performance. This leads to increased involvement and trust, which in turn create a sense of community. Servant leadership often relies more on techniques of persuasion rather than the authority of rank and position.

We all have an obligation to both follow and lead. There will always be someone over you whose expectations you must strive to meet, making followership necessary for us all. We must delegate tasks to those who can complete the mission expected of the team to have it completed as expediently as possible. When delegating tasks or directly leading a working team, we must prepare them for success. Servant leadership comes in at this point by making sure the soldiers understand the objective and have all the required materials to succeed. Followership and servant leadership go hand in hand when creating a successful and cohesive environment.

While followership and servant leadership share many ideologies, they require balance to exist. This essay about followership vs. servant leadership and the BLC (Basic Leader Course) showcases this balance. The level of servant leadership may increase or decrease depending upon the circumstances. Exemplary followers take the initiative and strive for excellence. They show that they are mission-minded and reliable. The servant leadership makes sure they are prepared for success and is open to listening to the ideas they may have to better execute a task. The connection between the two fosters mutual success. This relationship is best described by Sun Tzu “Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest of valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.”


    Author: Eve M. Corrothers, Major, USAF
  2. B112 Reading B Servant leadership- 1 This reading is a compilation of three sources:
    A, Hunter, J. (2004). The world’s most powerful leadership principle. New York, NY
    B, Spears, L.C. (Ed.). (1998). Insights on leadership: Service, stewardship, spirit and servant leadership. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
    C, Zohar, D. (1997). Rewiring the corporate brain. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler
  3. “Character and Servant Leadership: 10 Characteristics of Effective, Caring Leaders’ Author: Larry C. Spears, published in ‘The Journal of Virtues and Leadership,’ Vol. 1, Issue 1.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between servant leadership and followership army?

Servant leadership and followership army differ in their approach to leadership. Servant leadership empowers individuals towards organizational goals, while followership army emphasizes obedience to authority. Despite their differences, both models emphasize collaboration, communication, and individual accountability.

What are the 4 elements of servant leadership?

In the army, servant leadership comprises four essential elements. These elements include active listening, which entails understanding subordinates’ concerns, as well as showing empathy by acknowledging their feelings and needs. Moreover, respecting subordinates by treating them with dignity and fairness, and being humble, without seeking self-glorification, are also crucial elements of servant leadership.

Why are relationships between leaders and followers important?

Strong relationships between leaders and followers are crucial in the army. Followers require assurance that their leaders are competent and have a clear plan, and that they are actively contributing to a larger goal. Leaders must have confidence in their followers, relying on their ability to comply with orders and carry out assigned tasks without questioning their authority. Effective communication, mutual respect, and trust are all necessary components of a healthy leader-follower relationship in the military.

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Followership and Servant Leadership. (2021, Nov 22). Retrieved from