let’s consider two real life examples of organizations that had the
presence of both transformational and servant leadership, and were
integrating the use of both styles into the life of the organization.
one organization, the CEO was a servant leader primarily yet showed a
strong value for transformational leadership. This organization
weathered the storms of a struggling economy even in the midst of
great hits to their industry. Because of this servant leader CEO,
this organization offered a warm, friendly, and supportive climate.
Thus, employees tended to remain with this organization until
retirement. At the same time, the CEO realized the lack of and need
for vision, and therefore brought in support from the outside to help
the executive team innovate, create, and cast an improved vision. The
CEO’s appreciation for transformational leadership, awareness of
the impact of its lacking within the organization, and willingness to
get help to bring transformational leadership into the organization
helped this organization to survive turbulent times.
second organization was also experiencing chaotic times due to the
economy as well as a recent succession. The original leader was a
transformational leader yet the organization saw the need to bring
balance into the culture by introducing a servant leader into it. The
servant leader successor saw the need for transformational leadership
to continue, especially in the midst of the great need for a new
vision. Therefore the servant leader successor put together a team
with both transformational and servant leadership skills. This team
worked on recreating the organization. This servant leader played a
significant role as a calming presence in the midst of turbulent
times as well as during a time when organizational renewal was on the
Questions for interaction:
you experienced a leader or organization that was able to balance
both transformational and servant leadership? If so, what was it
like? If not, as you read the examples, what struck you about the
balance and why? What additional insights do you have to share?
read and respond to Part 4 to begin to see how to integrate the two
styles in your leadership or organizational setting.
these three real life examples from my experiences and observations
with transformational and servant leaders not “playing” or
integrating well together. It creates some type of extreme imbalance
within an organization when this dynamic takes place. See if you can
relate to any of these examples in your own places of work or
first example is of an organization where transformational leadership
was the primary style of the original leader. Therefore, this leader
provided strong vision and direction for the organization that
contributed to organizational success and a strong reputation. At the
same time, the accepted leadership of the organization was so bent in
the direction of transformational leadership that organizational
members suffered from burnout and succession planning proved
difficult. The organization lacked servant leadership which would
have helped to pay attention to individual stress levels and a
healthier rhythm of organizational life for organizational members.
Over time, this transformational leader acquired so much individual
power within the organization that it resulted in traumatic moral
failure that harmed a large number of people within and outside of
second example is of an organization where servant leadership was the
primary style of the original leader and the successor. While care
and concern for organizational members seemed to be in place, the
organization lacked vision and direction. It was unclear to the
members what the direction and values were of the organization. This
dynamic created confusion and chaos within the organization and among
its members. As the lack of vision and direction continued, a strong
culture of infighting and competition developed within the
organization. The lack of transformational leadership contributed to
chaos, confusion, conflict, and rivalry within this organization.
this next example, the Board of Directors represented
transformational leadership in the organization by rallying for a
compelling vision and direction for the organization. On the other
hand, the CEO of the organization and his primary associate both
represented servant leadership as a means of contributing to the
lives of employees and the community served through the organization.
Unfortunately, a conflict avoidance culture existed in this
organization which contributed to the sense that one perspective had
to be right while the other was wrong. It seemed the perspective of
the Board of Directors won in this situation and the environment
valued transformational leadership over servant leadership. Tactics
such as force, bullying, and inappropriate uses of power were
utilized to compel others to “move forward” with the vision while
motivation was low. The lack of integrated transformational and
servant leadership caused a power struggle which led the organization
to remain stuck for a many years.
Questions for interaction:
has your experience been with an imbalance of these two leadership
styles? What is it in these examples that you can relate to from your
own experience? What additional insights do you have to share?
read and respond to Part 3 to reflect upon examples of leaders that
balance the two styles.
than ever leaders are under intense scrutiny and pressure to bring
their organizations to a level of innovation and performance within
this challenging global economy and marketplace. In responding to the
burdens on leaders and organizations, there is a growing need for
models of leadership with more than one leader at the helm. This post
introduces transformational servant leadership that blends two well
recognized styles of leaders to meet today’s demands for
working with thousands of leaders in hundreds of organizations, I’m
finding that healthy and innovative leaders balance two things:
vision and care. Transformational servant leadership does both. These
leaders “cast a collaborative moral vision while actively caring
for those participating in moving the vision to reality” (Parolini,
2012). These leaders don’t zoom ahead while leaving others in their
wake. They understand this really doesn’t accomplish any kind of
consistent movement at all. They also don’t serve an end goal of
solely caring for people without spurring the team on to greater
accomplishments. There is a balance with transformational servant
leaders between moving ahead and nurturing the people who are
bringing about the movement.
Questions for interaction:
you experienced a leader who you felt both spurred you on to a
greater vision and cared for you along the way, truly cared? Or have
you experienced a leader who is good at one yet not so good at the
other (example: had a great vision yet little concern for people or
had great concern for people yet little overall direction)? What has
your experience been like?
read and respond to Part 2 to take this concept deeper by looking at
real life examples.