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Servant Leadership and Followership: Comparison

In a work setting, there is a hierarchy that is built on servant leadership and followership. First and foremost, servant leadership is based on one’s desire or even an instinct to lead. A servant leader’s “highest priority is service to others, including stakeholders inside and outside the organization” (Williams, Brandon, Hayek, Haden & Atinc, 2017, p. 6). Followership, on the other hand, involves pursuing a specific aim while also showing respect to leaders and authorities, a good mentality, honesty, and self-discipline. Both notions have a significant share of the same ethics, beliefs, and traits. They are united by mindfulness and responsibility, yet in their own particular manner. Those following these approaches effectively perform their roles and are adaptable in their critical thinking.

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Being a servant leader is a requesting duty that implies caution and responsibility on and off the job. It is a personal connection with employees that is built on mutual trust and respect. Leaders tend to be proactive and “act as change agents by stimulating and transforming followers’ motives, beliefs and attitudes” (Busari, Khan, Abdullah & Mughal, 2019, p. 184). They must achieve their missions and assignments as well as help accommodate the freshmen. A good leader should focus on the development of their subordinates and being a steward of their occupation. A leader’s focus should be on continually paying attention to the employees’ well-being while guiding them and supporting them unconditionally. Another feature inherent to servant leaders is that most of them are charismatic and have a strong natural character that makes people want to follow them. However, leaders should never abuse their power, applying inspirational motivation to encourage their followers “to be creative and innovative in dealing with old problems in new ways” (Busari, Khan, Abdullah, Mughal, 2019, p. 184). In other words, servant leadership signifies being in charge of an organization and its employees’ success and serving as a genuine role model.

While followership is slightly similar and, in a sense, compulsory for leadership, their jobs contrast so that, while followers ought to look for additional duties effectively, they have fewer obligations than the leaders. They do not need the same measures of premonition or familiarity with an errand to have the opportunity to finish the said task. Similarly, they are not expected to tutor others or to be professionals in their calling. Followers’ purpose is to show diligence in their training and learning process; they are to be taught and guided, but it does not indicate that they are deprived of self-expression, initiative, or identifying other goals and aspirations for themselves. Followership is also divided into two dimensions, which are independent critical thinking and active engagement. Followers under this dimension are more productive and enthusiastic and suggest innovative ideas to their leaders. Such individuals do not obey or follow their leaders blindly. Active engagement followers participate enthusiastically in the company life, take part in decision-making and correspond to an image of a valuable and invested employee.

In conclusion, both servant leadership and followership can be followed by proactive and aspiring individuals who are willing to work and show excellent results for their companies. However, it is a leader’s responsibility to take care of both the organization and the followers. Importantly, the working process should be organized in a way so as to allow the employees to support the initiatives offered and learn from the leader figure.


Busari, A. H., Khan, S. N., Abdullah, S. M., & Mughal, Y. H. (2019). Transformational leadership style, followership, and factors of employees’ reactions towards organizational change. Journal of Asia Business Studies, 14(2), 181–209.

Williams, W. A., Jr., Brandon, R.-S., Hayek, M., Haden, S. P., & Atinc, G. (2017). Servant leadership and followership creativity: The influence of workplace spirituality and political skill. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 38(2), 178−193.

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