The Impact of Servant Leadership in Higher Learning Institutions

The Impact of Servant Leadership in Higher Learning Institutions

This paper seeks to address the impact of servant leadership in higher learning institutions. The main article was on Servant Leadership in Higher Education: Issues and Concerns by Keith M.K. (2010). It highlights how various universities have incorporated servant leadership in their classrooms and the issues that arise such as enhanced student’s performance.

The issue addressed

In the current education system, confidence is essential for teachers to motivate and influence their students. The job market has become competitive such that organizations require competent candidates as their employees. School prepares the students for their future roles, therefore now use servant leadership as their strategy to enhance the quality of education. The institutions also incorporate servant leadership in subjects as a curriculum to teach in classrooms and grant their students with a Master’s Degree in Servant leadership (Dalati, 2016). Being a servant leader means that the person is in a selfless position and power or opinion does not concern them. However, they are focused on serving people in their organization and enable them to realize their personal goals as well as the overall organizational goal. The schools have a unique role of preparing students to become competent in their professional areas in future thus there is need to look into how the schools incorporate the element of servant leadership to educate the students, as well as the staff and administration, is the role models that students and their parents can emulate.

The purpose of the study

Leadership role in an organization entails more than just giving directions and supervisory work. It goes beyond that and to the need to keep employees motivates which translates to increased performance thus success for the organization. There has been an increasing need for individuals to set aside their self-interest and look out for others to facilitate development. While leaders generate trust among their followers, they also need to practice their management role but ensure that they do not violate the moral principles. For instance, in the education system, students view their teachers as leaders, and they have specific expectations that they strive to borrow from their teachers. The kinds of relationships they form with their teachers also encourage them to improve their academic performance (Dalati, 2016). The study is therefore important since it highlights some of the characteristics and attributes of a servant leader that is of significant value not only to the students but also the success of the specific learning institution.

The study is also of importance as it addresses how institutions like universities incorporate the aspect of servant leadership not only in academic but also into the community services programs as they seek to be role model to the society thus use servant leadership as one of the ways for enhancing corporate social responsibilities (Keith, 2010). The study is also essential as it provides the learning institutions with great opportunities for teachers to apply servant leadership in classrooms to alter the attitude and behavior of students in a specific direction. The study thus focuses on the application of servant leadership in education and how servant leaders contribute to the success of a learning institution as well as the education sector in general.

Research questions

  1. Is there any difference between higher learning institutions that incorporate the elements of servant leadership in their classrooms than others who don’t?
  2. How effective are servant leadership on student’s performance and development?

Null Hypothesis

  1. There is no significant difference between higher learning institutions that incorporate the elements of servant leadership in their classrooms than others who don’t.
  2. Servant leadership is not effective on student’s performance and development.

Alternative hypotheses

  1. Higher learning institutions that incorporate the elements of servant leadership in their classrooms are successful.
  2. Servant leadership is effective on student’s performance and development.

The conceptual framework

Despite the existence of significant benefits of servant leadership in most business organizations, quite some learning institutions still fail to incorporate servant leadership in their management strategies. The research shows several dimensions of servant leadership which includes; self-less position, authenticity, integrity, values and vision, communication, team building and offering emotional healing to their followers.

















Analysis of previous research work 

According to Alonderiene &Majauskaite (2016), the type of leadership styles used in the institutions of higher education influences the job satisfaction level of the staff. Servant leadership has a positive impact on the level of job satisfaction among the faculty member which translates to how they teach the students thus leading to the overall success of the institution. The study by Brohi et al. (2018) also indicates that servant leadership is essential in reducing the rate of employee turnover as they will become motivated to work towards the success of the students and their personal growth and development as well.

The study, however, mentions that the previous studies have indicated that there servant leadership contributes to negative employee turnover. It also says that there is no proven relationship as either direct or indirect relationship, but if there is an indirect relationship between servant leadership and employee turnover, it is necessary to intervene through the psychological processes to reduce the rate of turnover (Brohi et al. 2018). The study also indicates that servant leadership enhances the psychological safety of the employee. The employees develop the ability to take the interpersonal risk, share their opinions and ideas and independently make a decision during critical moments. Servant leadership strategy thus encourages the teaching staff to make decisions for the benefits of the students and the institution.

The employees feel safe that the institution provides them with the opportunity to maintain a work-life balance. They can work while at the same time enhancing their career life (Brohi et al. 2018). They are free to attend training sessions that improve their competence level and become competent teaching staff that delivers quality education to their students. The faculty members become empowered thus encouraging ethical behaviors and act as role models to students.  Keith (2010) also mentions that an effective leader is one who believes in serving others and empowering them to become successful. The article by Dalati (2016) also acknowledges the relationship between servant leadership and leadership sustainability which has become the trend in most universities. The institutions aim to provide services, vision, influence students as well as encouraging team building among students to prepare them for the future leadership role.

The undergraduate students benefit from servant leadership programs thus makes them competent in their future professions as they are encouraged to make an independent decision (Keith, 2010). The study also shows that the servant leadership style does benefit not only the students but also the educators and the university in general. This kind of leadership style gives the faculty members the opportunity for growth and they become motivated to helps students to grow in different areas of interest. The article also indicates that Greenleaf believed that the best way to prepare students to become future leaders and eliminate possibilities of leadership crisis is by encouraging the teacher to become a servant to the students. The students are thus able to lead in various aspects that contribute to their academic performance and personal growth. The classroom thus becomes a suitable environment to express their emotions, initiate and conduct projects and participate in various activities that contribute to enhanced performance.


The study involved the secondary collection of data using peer-reviewed articles and journals from reputable publication sites. It involved cluster sampling in which the target was to obtain materials that relate to servant leadership and education. There were several articles available, but the main focus was on higher education particularly the universities since the students tend to require excellent molding to fit into their respective careers of choice. At least four scholarly peers reviewed articles were of importance to the study as they contained relevant and useful information that supports the research.  The study by Brohi et al., (2018) was appropriate to my research since it addressed the possible outcomes in an organization as a result of incorporating servant leadership in management strategies. Schools are also examples of organizations that could benefit from servant leadership. Therefore, the information could help the school administration and teachers to enhance the academic performance of students as well as prepare them for competent roles in future career fields.

The article by Keith (2010) also addresses the issues and concerns of servant leadership as applied in higher education. The article mentions universities like Viterbo and Gonzaga implement servant leadership in the student’s classroom. It is therefore relevant since it gives examples of universities that have embraced servant leadership. It also provides how students have enhanced their academic performance and become more courageous and ready to become competent in their careers. Alonderiene and Majauskaite (2016) furthermore highlight how servant leadership has an impact on job satisfaction in higher learning institutions.  It is relevant as it captures the contribution of servant leadership style to promote the level of job satisfaction for teachers which then translates to better quality education and motivation of students. The ultimate result is, therefore, competent students who become successful in their professional areas.

Limitations of the study and how to eliminate them

  1. The study has limitations such as focusing on higher institutions alone yet even primary schools and high school could benefit from servant leadership. It is, therefore necessary to conduct comprehensive research in the future that covers all levels of education.
  2. The study relied only on secondary data hence risk the possibility of information bias. Therefore, it is necessary to consider using both primary and secondary sources of data to obtain first-hand information that is accurate.




Alonderiene, R., &Majauskaite, M. (2016).Leadership style and job satisfaction in higher education institutions. International Journal of Educational Management30(1), 140-164.

Brohi, N. A., Jantan, A. H., Qureshi, M. A., Bin Jaffar, A. R., Bin Ali, J., & Bin Ab Hamid, K. (2018). The impact of servant leadership on employees attitudinal and behavioral outcomes. Cogent Business & Management5(1), 1-17.

Dalati, S. (2016). The impact of servant leadership on leadership sustainability: empirical evidence from higher education in Syrian universities. Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues3(3), 269-281.

Keith M.K. ( 2010). Servant Leadership in Higher Education: Issues and Concerns. Palm Beach Atlantic University.