Challenges in implementing the servant leadership concept in healthcare Saudi Arabia
Mohamed Saheed Bayat and Dr. Krishnavellie Chetty
In the most recent leadership crises within many countries, much of which is caused by the strife of identifying an active leader, people want leaders who listen to them and empower them rather than who practices power over them (Pellicer, 2008). Such response behaviour or actions would create a sense of anxiety for any leader especially in trying to adopt an appropriate leadership style to produce the required change. It is believed that Prophet Muhammad embraced the leadership approach that focused on people and their needs as a priority. Boyum (2008) pointed out that servant leadership has been a favourite subject in both secular and scholarly literature, as organisations progressively demand both ethical and authentic leaders. Servant leadership has become widely an accepted term in the leadership and organisational literature (Spears, 1966). Many written works such as Greenleaf writings (1977)and Sipe and Frick (2009)asserted that servant leadership reinforces ethical, insightful and principle-centered decisions. Since the ability to influence others is fundamental to the success of all managers and leaders (Stahl, 2007). Servant leadership has recently brought to prominence for its effectiveness as highlighted by Wis (2002), and its potential of grounding organisation in ethical and moral empowerment of others (Boyum, 2008). The results of the study conducted among Military healthcare managers found a statistically significant correlation between the servant leadership style and the staff’s affective and normative team effectiveness. There was a significant statistical correlation that existed between the leader’s servant leadership style of leadership and the staff’s continuance teamwork to the organisation. Servant leadership shows that more must be done by the managers to develop the emotional maturity of the managers that they engage and work with and the trust relationship among the managers was also additional findings when the data was analysed. People need to be understood, and managers need to shepherd the people they work with using great care and compassion. The other issue of attention is that managers must become less selfish by esteeming the colleagues better than themselves and by being self-sacrificing regarding their needs. Putting others first is a sure way to promote servant leadership in any institution. The initial look at the concept of servant leadership might imply a negative meaning due to the connotation of the word “servant” (Wis, 2002). For some, a servant could imply weakness or inability to lead, which comes from the definition of a servant: a person who performs duties for others, especially a person employed in a house on domestic duties or as a personal attendant (Oxford English Dictionary, 2009). On the contrary, this concept has been brought to prominence due to its effectiveness in raising people who are caring and serving each other; it is “the rock upon which a good society is built” (Sipe and Frick, 2009). Among the leadership styles proposed to influence organizational success, servant leadership has been suggested to be the leadership style of the future. Servant leaders build relationships among followers in order to strengthen organisational behaviour and culture towards attaining organisation’s goals.