Leadership is a critical success factor for nonprofit organizations. However, both scholars and practitioners are consistent in claiming that the nonprofit sector is confronting a situation of leadership deficit. This study is aimed at providing some exploratory insights about a style of leadership which seems to be especially fitting to the nonprofit sector, but which is still poorly discussed by the scientific and professional literature: servant leadership. The servant leader is inspired by the intention of serving other members of the organization, with the eventual purpose of making them wiser, more autonomous, and more likely themselves to become servants. Drawing from the findings of a participant observation the Author performed within a charitable organization operating in Tanzania (East Africa), this study discusses counterintuitive findings about the impacts of servant leadership on the behaviors of the followers. In several circumstances, servant leadership is likely to constrain rather than to empower followers, discouraging their organizational commitment. In fact, followers could become reliant on the figure of the servant leader, thus being unwilling to adopt a proactive behavior to meet the organizational instances. According to these findings, an agenda for further researches is suggested. As well, conceptual and empirical insights are pointed out.
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