Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument

Dennis, Robert S. and Mihai Bocarnea (2005). Development of the servant leadership assessment instrument. Leadership & Organization Development Journal, 26, 7/8, pp. 600-615.

Transformational leadership shows leaders focused on the organization, and is insufficient to explain behavior that is altruistic in nature, or follower-focused; thus servant leadership theory, which is follower focused, explains such behaviors.
– Patterson and Russel (2004)

Patterson’s theory of servant leadership

Servant leaders are those who serve with a focus on the followers, whereby the followers are the primary concern and the organizational concerns are peripheral. The servant leader constructs are virtues, which are defined as the good moral quality in a person, or the general quality of goodness, or moral excellence.
– Patterson (2003)

According to Patterson (2003), the servant leader leads and serves with :

  1. agapao love:
    1. Winston (2002) says of agapao means to love in a social or moral sense. It causes leaders to consider each person not simply as a means to an end but as a complete person; one with needs, wants, and desires.
  2. acts with humility:
    1. The servant leader sees humility as reflecting an accurate self-assessment and, therefore, maintains a relatively low self-focus (Tangney, 2000)
  3. is altruistic:
    1. Kaplan (2000) and Eisenberg (1986, p.1) say it is helping others for the sake of helping, not for personal gain
  4. is visionary for the followers
  5. is trusting:
    1. followers are more likely to follow a leader whose behaviors are consistent and trustworthy and who can connect with their aspirations (Kouzes and Posner, 1993a)
  6. is serving
  7. empowers followers:
    1. entrusting power to others, and for the servant leader it involves effective listening, making people feel significant, putting an emphasis on teamwork, and valuing of love and equality (Russell and Stone, 2002).
    2. Bass (1990) posits that empowerment is power sharing with followers in planning and decision making.
    3. Mcgee-Cooper and Trammel (2002, p. 144) argue that understanding basic assumptions and background information on important issues empowers people to discover deeper meaning in their jobs and to participate more fully in effective decision making.


  • Bass, B.M. (1990). Bass and Stogdill’s Handbook of Leadership: Theory, Research, & Managerial Applications, 3rd ed., The Free Press, New York, NY.
  • Kouzes, J. and Posner, B.Z. (1993). Credibility: How leaders gain and lose it, why people demand it. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, CA.
  • McGee-Cooper, A. and Trammel, D. (2002). “From hero-as-leaders to servant-as-leaders”, in Spears, L. (Ed.), Focus on Leadership: Servant leadership for the 21st century, Wiley, New York, NY, pp. 141-152.
  • Patterson, K. (2003). “Servant leadership: a theoretical model”, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Business, Regent University.
  • Patterson, K. and Russell, R.F. (2004). “Transformational versus servant leadership – a difference in leader focus”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 25 No. 4.
  • Russell, R.F. and Stone, G.A. (2002). “A review of servant leadership attributes: developing a practical model”, Leadership & Organization Development Journal, Vol. 23, No. 3, pp. 145-157.
  • Tangney, J.P. (2000). “Humility: theoretical perspectives, empirical findings”, Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, Vol. 19, pp. 70-82.
  • Winston, B. (2002). Be a leader for God’s sake, Regent University – School of Leadership Studies, Virginia Beach, VA.

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