Servant leadership is the most recognizable approach to leadership in Christian organizations. Understanding that their organization endorses servant leadership, or believing Christian leaders should be servants, Some Christian leaders choose to believe that they lead in this tradition, regardless of the perspective of their followers. These Christian leaders may earnestly believe themselves to be servant leaders but appear laissez-faire to their followers. In this study, the author reviews servant and laissez-faire leadership theories. He then proposes that social identity theory explains how leaders can be hijacked by social identity, which unconsciously influences them to self-identify as servants without manifesting the characteristics of true servant leadership. Groups create prototypicality gradients where the most prototypical member is given at least the sense of influence. Christian leaders, unconsciously understanding the gradient and the prototype, may unconsciously assume they are servant leaders without manifesting the behaviors. The result is frustration for followers. Christian organizations must train leaders in servant leadership, evaluate for these characteristics, and build the necessary relationships that mediate servanthood. This article concludes with practical considerations on developing good relationships that exhibit real service, as perceived by the follower.
"When Servant Leaders Appear Laissez-faire: The Effect of Social Identity Prototypes on Christian Leaders,"
Journal of Applied Christian Leadership:
Available at: https://digitalcommons.andrews.edu/jacl/vol12/iss1/7