Consider the parental leader contrasted to the autocratic leader. The parental leader leads for him or herself, maintains an authoritarian approach to power but treats followers with benevolence while the autocratic leader is authoritarian and exploits the followers for the leader’s purposes. Clearly, parental leadership is an improvement over the completely toxic leadership mindsets of the self-focused, narcissistic and addictive leader, but the parental leader still maintains authority over the followers (making the decisions, keeping the followers in their place) while nurturing and providing for them along the way.
The addictive leader may or may not be suffering from a personal addiction (i.e. alcohol, drugs), but this leader consistently exhibits traits that are characteristic of an addictive personality; denial of reality, failure to take responsibility for actions, controlling others, dishonesty, manipulation, blaming others and self-centeredness. And, as is often the case, the organization takes on the dysfunctional characteristics of the leaders and this is a recipe for disaster.
Though many key leadership authors from Steven Covey to Adam Grant have espoused the concept and research has been growing as to the effectiveness of this leadership mindset, servant leadership practice continues to be in the minority. Heskett shares this quote from Adam Grant, “...servant leaders are not only more highly regarded than others by their employees and not only feel better about themselves at the end of the day but are more productive as well.” If this is true, then why, as Heskett asks, isn’t servant leadership more prevalent?