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There is a conventional statement that insinuates that all leaders are followers, but the opposite is not true not all followers can become leaders. This is a concept that can only be illustrated by comparing and contrasting servant leadership and followership, particularly in the army setting. However, it is critical to understand what entails leadership. According to Epitropaki, Kark, Mainemelis, and Lord (2017), leadership is all about the art of providing direction it is an art that requires experience. Servant leadership, as indicated by Davis (2017), is leading by putting the need of other people ahead of own by developing the people below. Followership, on the other hand, is the art of observing and learning those in the leadership position to become a leader.
One of the common aspects of servant leadership and followership is respect. Servant leadership is grounded on respecting the people below the leader and not taking advantage of the position to either serve self-interest or undermine the followers. The followers are expected to respect not only the leaders but also their peers. As in the army, leaders and the followers share common respect. With the lack of respect, you are not acknowledging your peer’s inputs, and that simply go against the principles of followership and servant leadership.
The second common principle of servant leadership and followership is self-consciousness, not only about yourself but also the surrounding people, something commonly practiced in the army. Being in the army, every person has their challenges and good days. Failing to notice such, is a lack of self-consciousness of yourself and others. Understanding one another is one of the greatest building blocks of both servant leadership and followers. The servant leader, as indicated by Day, Lord, Murphy, and Steffens (2016), must be aware of the challenges and problems faced by the people below them to improve them. The same is expected of the follower.
Despite the similarities, servant leadership and followership also differ, mostly with respect to the scope of interactive consideration. On the other hand, servant leadership greatly involves several clearly defined relationships that are sometimes required to indulge and has the option of adopting servant leadership. Then again, the follower has few relationships, particularly with the leaders, and has no alternative but to follow, which usually proves challenging. Followership involves challenges like knowing and identifying what your needs and where to apply excellence at.
Additionally, while servant leadership may require obedience, followership completely demands it. In the military, for instance, a follower is expected to keenly listen and follow the set guidelines. Followership is based on strict following the leaders’ direction regardless of the presence of the leader. The servant-leader, therefore, acts as the educator and the individual that gives direction. Servant leader acts as the independent thinker who tends to seek advice from fellow leaders. They do not have to obey the directions and suggestions of the followers unless they deem it fit.
Overall, servant leadership shares similarities with followership. For instance, both servant leadership and followership are grounded on two main principles: respect and self-consciousness of oneself and people around. However, they equally differ. The most common difference is grounding on a relationship. While in servant leadership the leader can have various relations where they choose to be a servant leader, in followership the follower has no alternative. Also, obedience might not be shared between the two.
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