Servant Leadership – The Best Way To Serve While Leading.
What kind of leader do you think you are?
You might want to answer that, but the truth is, your opinion about yourself might not be true. To be honest, we can only get the undiluted truth from those who work under you-you just might not be as great as you think.
Sometimes, we think leadership and dictatorship are the same thing. Maybe we don’t see ourselves as dictators, but we’re not really leading in most cases, we just give orders without caring about how it will be executed.
Servant leadership isn’t just a term I coined to make a topic, it’s actually a real thing, an invaluable asset “every” leader should have.
The phrase “Servant Leadership”, was coined by Robert k. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay he first published in 1970.
However, while traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different;
“The servant-leader is a servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions……….The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them, there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
The servant-leader never hoards power, he puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform in the best possible way;
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people’s highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?”
This probably sounds like too much to take in at once and you might be thinking how weak this will make you look.
Your thought isn’t very accurate.
Servant leadership doesn’t mean you have to do everything for your employees or those you have authority over, it only means you should show a good example, demonstrate empathy to a considerable length.
According to Skip Richard, here are nine qualities of a servant leader:
- Values diverse opinions
- Cultivates a culture of trust
- Develops other leaders
- Helps people with life issues (Invest in their personal development)
- Sells instead of tells
- Thinks you, not me
- Thinks long-term
- Acts with humility
With That Said, Can Servant Leadership Work in Business?
As an autocratic leader, this leadership strategy might seem impossible to you but you should also be aware of the fact that excessive use of power harms employee morale and hinders organizational progress.
A 2010 research study on organizational performance tested the servant leadership model in several high-performing luxury automobile companies in the demanding for-profit service industry.
The researchers discovered that attention to servant leadership allowed these firms to achieve top service ratings. It also increased customer loyalty, and a growth in net profit.
The following attributes are more applicable to business;
- Providing subordinates with sufficient training and resources to achieve goals
- Enabling employees
- Supporting the professional growth of employees
- Ensuring a good working environment
- Sharing information with employees
- Empowering employees
- Clearly explains what is expected from employees
“Effective leaders see themselves as facilitators of other peoples’ success. These leaders understand that they cannot achieve any results without their team members. These leaders do not view their team members as people working for them. Instead, they see their team members as people working with them.” – 12 Steps to Improve Your Leadership Effectiveness by Robert Tanner.
A servant leader thinks “WE” not “I.”