President Thomas Jefferson and Servant Leadership Essay

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Servant leadership is a theory that was proposed by Robert Greenleaf. In this particular leadership model, the leader serves others with no thought for his or her own self-interest. In other words, the fundamental motivation of the leader in this leadership model is to serve first. The different characteristics that portray servant leadership include encouraging participation, improving the self-worth of others, valuing other individuals, facilitating the release of others’ creativity, inspiring commitment and loyalty and sharing power (Spears, 2010). In accordance to Northouse (2018), 10 characteristics that are pivotal to the development and advancement of servant leadership comprise of listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people and building community. The main purpose of this paper is to portray the different characteristics that make President Thomas Jefferson a servant leader.

President Thomas Jefferson Profile

Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America, with his presidential reign lasting from 1801 to 1809. Prior to becoming President, Jefferson served as the vice president of America under the administration of President John Adams from 1979 to 1801. More importantly, Thomas Jefferson is also considered to be a founding father in this role of authoring the Declaration of Independence. Jefferson was also a supporter of democracy and the rights of every individual and inspiring American colonists to detach themselves from the rule of Great Britain and create a new nation altogether (Appleby, Appleby and Schlesinger, 2003).

Aspects That Make President Thomas Jefferson a Servant Leader

The traits and actions undertaken by Thomas Jefferson make him a servant leader. With the publication of the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolutionary War was manifesting and at the time Jefferson was very prominent. He has the opportunity on all fronts to take key roles in the war. However, Jefferson turned down all these prospective roles. Rather, he opted to retreat to Virginia and resided there for the period of the war (Greenleaf, 1997). Imperatively, being a proponent of individual rights, Jefferson believed that the war would be won by the thirteen colonies, and that a new nation would be formed. More importantly, Jefferson had the insight that the newly formed nation would necessitate a new system of laws to direct it in the path that he had envisioned for it in the Declaration of Independence. Therefore, as a servant leader, Jefferson went back to Monticello and fought to be elected as part of the legislature in Virginia. Subsequently, Jefferson set out to write new statutes exemplifying the new principles of law for the new nation (Greenleaf, 1997).

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Thomas Jefferson set forth against the strong-minded hostility and disapproval of his conservative equals, to get these ratified into Virginia law. It was an arduous battle. Jefferson would go to Williamsburg to tussle against his contemporaries up until he was decelerated to a standstill. Thereafter, Jefferson would get on his horse and ride back to Monticello to revitalize his inner self and came up with more statutes. Equipped with these new statutes, Jefferson would head back to Williamsburg yet again and tussle with his contemporaries. In totality, Thomas Jefferson wrote 150 statutes and he managed to…

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…some fun filled memories as they are granted opportunities to serve each other. Such participation is empowering and builds employees’ aspiration to serve their coworkers when they get back to work. Furthermore, an organization that is full of servant leaders will have a positive reputation. Servant leadership comes with its own costs. However, the passion that service projects create and the bonding that it implants in an organization brings about return on investments in terms of employee satisfaction and commitment and positive reputation in the community (Williams, 2016).

What are the significant contingencies that would lean in favor or against servant leadership?

There are different contingencies that would lean in favor as well as against servant leadership. One of the significant possibilities that would lean against this style of leadership is the deterioration in managerial authority. When subordinates perceive their managers taking care of every need in an excessive way, they are less likely to consider such managers as authoritative figures. Leaders within a business cannot basically model empathy and comprehension devoid of also attempting to establish some sort of authority that institutes the distinction between the manager and the employee (Quain, 2018) Another possibility that leans against servant leadership is that the model does not fit every business. Businesses that are experiencing changes in the organizational culture will not positively react to servant leadership owing to the lack of stability. This is particularly perceptible when the managers are more concerned about employee feelings rather than their needs. Imperatively, when managers are more caring about hurting employees’ feelings, there is a tendency to display reluctance in….....

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Appleby, J., Appleby, J. O., & Schlesinger Jr, A. M. (2003). Thomas Jefferson: The American Presidents Series: The 3rd President, 1801-1809(Vol. 3). New York: Macmillan.

Greenleaf, R. K. (1997). The servant as leader. University of Notre Dame Press.

Heskett, J. (2013). Why Isn't Servant Leadership More Prevalent? Forbes. Retrieved from:

Northouse, P. G. (2018). Leadership: Theory and practice. New York: Sage publications.

Quain, S. (2018). Problems With the Servant Leadership Model. Chron. Retrieved from:

Spears, L. C. (2010). Character and servant leadership: Ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders. The Journal of Virtues & Leadership, 1(1), 25-30.

Williams, D. K. (2016). Think Servant Leadership Is Too Good To Be True? Why It's The Best Investment A Business Can Make. Forbes. Retrieved from:

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