Invitational Leadership Juxtaposed with Other Leadership Models
Let’s look at invitational leadership, as it relates to various models of leadership. Invitational leadership has this is common with participative/distributed leadership: a belief in promoting active participation of all interested stakeholders, as well as the fundamentals of moral/ethical leadership. However, a closer look reveals that invitational leadership is more inclusive and complete, since it addresses the “total environment” in which leaders function. While invitational leadership believes in allowing active participation of all organizational members, it also seeks to achieve a balance of authority and influence throughout the organization.
The transformational and servant leadership styles have been among the best received and most highly praised over the last few decades. In both models, there are similar principles that call upon leaders to lead in an manner that sets an example for followers. As with invitational leadership, these models attempt to help leaders to support their followers in empowering ways.
Invitational leaders accept the basic tenet of servant leadership that those who lead must be ready and willing to serve, but they go beyond this idea in their attempt to describe the values and roles they must serve in their organizations.
Invitational leadership, in truth, holds many of the same beliefs that describe both transformational and servant leadership. One similarity is that of forming and sharing a vision. Invitational leaders seek to invite their associates to share in a vision of greatness, and offer them a vivid but powerful picture of human effort. The three leadership types also share the elements of trust and respect.
Another shared component between invitational leadership and the two models is that of morals and ethics. Invitational leadership is at the heart a moral activity, intentionally showing respect and trust in the leaders themselves and in others, both personally and professionally. In a similar manner, it seeks to empower followers by asking others in the organization to meet their goals in pursuit of their own success. In other words, encouraging others in their quest for self-fulfillment is a characteristic embedded in the invitational leadership model. The authors conclude that invitational leadership is a mutual commitment between colleagues, instead of a series of orders issued from the top down.
While we see many shared components between the invitational leadership model and participative, transformational, and servant leadership models, there are also a few inbuilt and crucial differences. The first of these are the twin elements of optimism and intentionality. Optimism and intentionality are viewed as important characteristics for effective leaders.
The focused effort on values and principles that apply to policies, programs, places, processes, and people are also important for effectiveness in leadership. We then find that these important and unique qualities make the invitational leadership model an excellent choice, especially in these times of critical student need and increased accountability for school leaders. In light of the problems facing today’s school systems, the invitational leadership model could lead to many positive outcomes. Encouraging everyone in the school setting to participate in goal achievement allows for new ideas and fresh perspectives, which are sorely needed in an educational system that is largely old-fashioned and out of date.