Lean and Servant Theory Discussion post

Discussion Question/Prompt

Please complete the following steps for your initial discussion post:

Complete a library search for a peer-reviewed journal article that integrates nursing theory and nursing management. Present the article and discuss the nursing theory used, the benefits of nursing theory in management and any weaknesses you identify in the article.

Servant leadership is a theory that was coined in the late 1960’s (McEwen & Wills, 2019). It focuses on leadership, awareness, and stewardship by the leader (McEwen & Wills, 2019). The servant leader is driven to help their staff accomplish their goals in order to reach overall organizational initiatives (McEwen & Wills, 2019). Servant leaders are committed to helping others reach their full potential by performance planning, identification of professional development needs, frequent coaching, and consistent performance evaluation (Blanchard & Hodges, 2003). They are moral leaders whose main focus is their employees and not the organization.

I chose this theory because paying close attention to other people is very important to me. Instead of scolding an employee for constantly coming into work late by writing him or her up, or terminating his or her employment, I believe true leaders invest time into their followers. They should sit down and converse with them prior to jumping to conclusions and assuming false ideas. I also believe that leadership should lend a helping hand whenever possible and offer assistance and advise. The service leader theory has a commitment and obligation to their followers, and that is very important to me.

Kjeld & Rapsaniotis (2017) wrote a peer reviewed journal article that explains the difference between servant leadership and Lean leadership. Lean leadership is a management theory that focuses on improving processes while eliminating problems (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). Lean leadership holistically attempts to manage by suggesting changes in organizational culture (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). New skills, attitudes, and behaviors are required by leaders in order to adopt the Lean leadership theory. Some characteristics of lean leaders, as described by Kjeld & Rapsaniotis (2017), are empowerment, trust, modesty, openness, and respect for people. Lean leaders are very similar to servant leaders.

Leadership is defined as “a process by which one person sets the purpose or direction for one or more persons and helps them to proceed competently and with full commitment” (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). Lean and servant leaders are categorized as “transformational” leaders because they motivate their followers by “satisfying higher order needs and more fully engaging them in the process of the work” (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). Greenleaf ’s theory of servant leadership encourages leaders to serve their followers (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). These leaders are committed to serving others through their compassionate character while serving the community and developing a sustainable organization. Both Lean and servant leaders are focused on building an environment which fosters the growth of their employees, empowering and respecting others, and leading a person-oriented leadership (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017).

Servant leaders have a natural calling or feeling to want to serve others first (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). They focus on trust, justice, concern for others, a safe psychological environment, transparency, learning, and an attitude of service (Kjeld & Rapsaniotis, 2017). Some positive qualities of the lean and servant models are that employees are comfortable speaking to their leaders. Failures and shortcomings can be openly discussed in a safe and confidential environment which will ultimately result in productive learning. These leaders are truly humble. Kjeld & Rapsaniotis (2017) explain how servant leadership resulted in reduced error rates, shorter waiting times, increased productivity, reduced costs, morbidity and mortality, and improved patient safety.

Some weaknesses are that employees may take advantage of leadership, mistaking their kindness for weakness. Servant leaders aim to be understanding and develop their employees. It is important for servant leaders to also have strict rules and abide by them, so their employees take them seriously. Another weakness is that servant leaders may be too focused on their employees that they put others ahead of themselves.

Integrate key concepts from the weekly readings and include specific examples of how the concepts can be applied to your work environment. Be sure to supplement your discussion with personal and professional experiences.

As a nurse, it is difficult to apply the servant and Lean theories into my everyday work environment. I am a travel nurse and often get the lesser end of the stick. However, I can apply these theories when interacting with my patients by utilizing therapeutic communication and therapeutic touch. I can show a genuine interest in them and develop a trusting relationship with the patients I encounter. I had one nurse manager who I believe utilized the servant nursing theory. She was very easy to talk to and very humble. When we were short staff, she would have no problem working the floor as a staff nurse. She is the only nurse manager I have worked with who was humble enough to do so. I really respected her and trusted her for not thinking she was beyond bedside nursing. Although she was a servant leader, our turnover rates were still very high among nurses due to lack of support from the organization.

McEwen & Wills (2019) explain that power is the concept which authority is derived. As a nurse I have the power to uplift and upbuild other nurses through my words and actions. I can incorporate powers such as reward into my clinical practice. Reward power can be utilized by praising others and simply saying, “thank you,” especially in my practice with certified nursing assistants. Most of the time, nursing assistants are older than I am, I believe that respectful delegation and reward power can aid in our working relationship and make them more receptive to me. I can also utilize evidence-based practice into by clinical practice by recalling theories such as Orem’s theory of self-care and Watson’s Human Caring Science theory by compassionately spending a little extra time to listen to my patient’s concerns and not being too task oriented.

Attach a copy of the article to this discussion forum.



Blanchard, K., & Hodges, P. (2003, May 12). The journey to servant leadership in work, life. San Diego Business Journal, p. A2.

Kjeld, H. A., & Rapsaniotis, S. (2017). Leadership requirements for lean versus servant leadership in health care: A systematic review of the literature. Journal of Healthcare Leadership, 9, 1-14. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/JHL.S120166

McEwen, M. & Wills, E. (2019). Theoretical basis for nursing (5th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN 9781496351203.

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