Servant leadership definition
Servant leadership is a style of leadership that prioritizes the growth, well-being, and empowerment of employees. It aims to foster an inclusive environment that allows everyone in the organization to thrive as their authentic selves. While traditional leadership focuses on the success of the business or organization, servant leadership puts employees first to help the organization grow through their dedication and commitment. Done properly, servant leadership can help foster trust, accountability, growth and inclusion in the workplace.
Proponents say that by improving employees’ emotional health, servant leadership empowers employees to express themselves more freely in the workplace. Employees then turn around and give the same care to their colleagues, creating a welcoming environment that enables and encourages growth and quality work. An important aspect of servant leadership is acceptance of others; By creating an environment where everyone feels accepted, it helps create a “psycho-ethical climate” that allows employees to be authentic and not afraid of management judgment because they are themselves. It promotes a forgiving and understanding attitude that enables employees to make mistakes, learn from their mistakes and channel this into the organization’s personal and professional growth.
The theory of servant leadership
The theory of servant leadership was created by Robert K. Greenleaf, who popularized the term in a 1970s essay entitled “The Servant as Leader”. After reading the book journey to the east, Greenleaf was inspired by the main character Leo, a servant who disappears from work. After his disappearance, the remaining workers’ productivity and effectiveness collapses, showing that Leo was in fact a leader all along. This led Greenleaf to believe that servant leadership is effectively capable of allowing employees to relate to managers and vice versa, creating greater trust and autonomy for employees. Greenleaf first tested this theory when he was an executive at AT&T, and it has prevailed over the years as an effective leadership style.
Greenleaf first proposed an “I serve” mentality for servant leadership, basing it on two major premises, “I serve because I am the leader” and “I am the leader because I serve.” The first premise focuses on altruism, a selfless concern for others, while the second premise depends on a person’s ambition to become a leader.
Model of serving leadership
Greenleaf’s original premise for servant leadership was relatively vague compared to other leadership approaches and models, which has led to multiple interpretations of his original idea to either expand the concept of servant leadership or to provide more specific guidelines for how servant leadership works in practice looks .
Larry Spears, past president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, in “Character and Servant Leadership: Ten Traits of Effective Caring Leaders‘ outlined the qualities a servant leader must possess in order to be effective. These traits include empathy, listening, healing, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, responsibility, commitment to the growth of people, and community building.
two researchers, Barbuto and Wheeler, developed Spears’ 10 traits into a framework called “the natural desire to serve others,” which combines Spears’ 10 traits into five dimensions of service leadership, including altruistic calling, emotional healing, wisdom, persuasive mapping, and organizational leadership. Under each category are four to five characteristics related to servant leadership.
Joe Iarocci, author of Servant leadership in the workplacedefines three key priorities (developing people, building a trusting team, delivering results), three key principles (serving first, persuading, empowering), and three key practices (listening, delegating, connecting followers to the mission) to outline how serving Leadership looks like in the workplace.
Russell and Stone, two researchers, developed nine “functional attributes of serving leadership‘, which encompasses Vision, Honesty, Integrity, Trust, Service, Modeling, Pioneering, Appreciating Others and Empowerment. They also outlined 11 “accompanying qualities,” including communication, credibility, competence, leadership, visibility, influence, persuasion, listening, encouragement, teaching, and delegation.
Servile leadership qualities
According to Greenleaf, the most important quality of a servant leader is to make it your priority to serve, not to lead. Servant leaders are more interested in meeting the needs of employees and helping them grow within the organization and are less interested in focusing on profit and simply channeling people by telling them what to do do have. Greenleaf has not spelled out exactly what character traits make a strong servant leader, but researchers James Sipe and Don Frick studied his work and outlined seven pillars of servant leadership that fall within the bounds of Greenleaf’s original theory:
- Personality: A servant leader is someone who maintains integrity, makes decisions based on ethics and principle, shows humility, and serves a higher purpose in the organization.
- Puts people first: A serving leader demonstrates caring and concern for others and helps employees achieve their goals and grow within the organization.
- Competent Communicator: Communication skills are an essential part of servant leadership, and you need to ensure you can listen and speak to your employees effectively while also soliciting feedback.
- Friendly staff: To be a strong servant leader, you must consistently collaborate with others and work to strengthen relationships, support diversity, equity and inclusion, and manage conflict in the workplace.
- Has foresight: As a serving leader, you must keep an eye on the future and anticipate anything that might impact the organization. You also need to have a strong vision for your business and be the kind of person who can take decisive action when needed.
- System thinker: Servant leaders must be comfortable in complex environments and able to adapt to change. This type of leadership requires strategic thinking and the ability to effectively drive organizational change.
- Leading with Moral Authority: As a serving leader, it’s important to build trust in your workforce by setting quality standards, accepting and delegating responsibility, and fostering a culture that allows for accountability.
Examples of serving leadership
In the technology industry, servant leadership is most commonly seen in agile development environments in scrum teams. In a Scrum team, the Scrum Master is not necessarily a leader; Instead, they are a team member working closely with other agile workers, taking responsibility for defining requirements, creating sprint plans, and removing roadblocks along the way.
Famous servant leaders in the corporate world include Alan Mulally, CEO of Ford Motor Co.; Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks; and Tim Cook, CEO of Apple; among many others. These are just a few individuals who are considered powerful examples of servant leadership in the corporate world. These leaders demonstrate qualities such as risk aversion, employee focus, and success rather than profit.
Servant Leadership Training
The Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership offers several courses on servant leadership. The Fundamentals of Servant Leadership covers the fundamentals of the Greenleaf philosophy and how these principles can be applied in the workplace. The Key Practices of Servant Leadership covers strategies for effective servant leadership and how to apply them in real-world settings. The Implementing Servant Leadership course focuses on strategies and practices that will help you effectively implement servant leadership in an organization. Courses are completed online with a collaborative wiki and group discussions; each course costs $450.
What is servant leadership? A philosophy for people-first leadership Source link What is servant leadership? A philosophy for people-first leadership