Personal Development
/
Servant Leadership: Definition Plus Benefits and Drawbacks

Servant Leadership: Definition Plus Benefits and Drawbacks

Shiken premium Upgrade Banner

What is Servant Leadership and How Can It Empower Your Team?

If you are looking to empower your team and assist them in achieving their goals, a servant leadership style could be the perfect fit. It focuses on helping people learn, developing their skills, and providing them with the tools and resources they need to be successful, rather than relying on power and authority. This article will explore the history of servant leadership, the main principles involved, its positive and negative aspects, and provide examples of how it can be used by leaders to motivate and inspire their teams.

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant leadership is a management style that places an emphasis on serving the needs of team members, in order to create a positive, supportive work environment. It was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970 in his essay 'The Servant as Leader', and has since become a popular approach for many leaders. This type of leadership encourages ownership and trust, and allows team members to have a voice in the organization, all of which contribute to employee satisfaction and productivity.

Main Principles

The main principles of servant leadership include setting and communicating a strategic vision for the company, helping employees acquire the resources and tools they need to make an impact, creating an empowering framework for teams to thrive in, and encouraging bottom-up empowerment to build decision-making skills and confidence. Robert K. Greenleaf outlined 10 principles of servant leadership, all of which are based around these core values.

The 10 Principles of Servant Leadership

  • Listening: Leaders must be open to hearing and respecting the input of team members.
  • Empathy: Leaders must understand the needs of their team in order to use empathetic leadership to help them grow.
  • Healing: Leaders should create a healthy work-life balance for their team, to give them the space they need to heal from any prior trauma.
  • Self-awareness: Leaders need to be aware of their own strengths and weaknesses in order to understand how they fit into the team.
  • Persuasion: Leaders should use influence and persuasion instead of power to unify their team.
  • Conceptualization: Leaders need to be able to think on a big-picture level, in order to conceptualize and create plans for their team.

Pros and Cons of Servant Leadership

The servant leadership style has the potential to effectively motivate and inspire your team, and is a great addition to overall leadership training. It encourages influence and authority rather than coercive control tactics, which can create a positive work environment in which employees are empowered and feel their voices are being heard. However, it can sometimes be difficult to balance the needs of the organization with those of the employees, and a servant leader must be able to balance both in order to be successful.

Examples of Servant Leadership

Servant leadership can be used in many ways to help motivate and inspire teams. This could be done through recognizing team members' strengths and providing them with the resources they need to succeed, or by creating a culture of collaboration and learning. It is also important for servant leaders to actively lead by example, setting a good example for their team to follow.

What is Servant Leadership?

Servant leadership is a philosophy that emphasizes serving the needs of employees rather than placing the organization's goals before them. By providing tools and resources for success and creating a positive environment that puts employee satisfaction first, servant leaders strive to foster an atmosphere of collaboration and commitment. Through transparent communication and genuine involvement, a servant leader serves as an example of integrity and ethical behavior, empowering team members to take ownership and responsibility of their actions.

Motivating with Servant Leadership

Successful servant leaders must possess both decision-making skills and the charisma necessary to lead. They must also have a sincere desire to serve their team, as well as being able to communicate the importance of their employees' contributions. By fostering an environment of inclusion, and understanding the varying needs of the organization and the team, servant leaders can encourage engagement and enthusiasm. This form of leadership can also act as an ethical compass, and help protect against fraud and unethical behavior.

What Does Servant Leadership Look Like in Practice?

Servant leadership is all about serving the needs of the team. Some key elements to practice include:

  • Being an Example: Leaders should exemplify humility and honest words to create a culture of trust and credibility.
  • Showing Why the Work is Essential: An effective leader will emphasize the link between team member's work and the organization's mission, motivating them to strive for excellence.
  • Encouraging Collaboration: Inspire commitment and a sense of belonging between team members - servant leaders should strive to create an inclusive atmosphere.

Servant leadership is becoming increasingly popular in organizations around the world, as it provides a level of support and motivation that encourages employees to reach their potential.

Using Servant Leadership to Strengthen the Corporate Culture, Decrease Voluntary Turnover, and Draw Out More Engagement and Commitment from Employees

Servant leadership is all about maximizing the potential of your team. This goes beyond just communicating the goals of the organization; it also requires understanding the needs of employees and providing the necessary resources. Additionally, establishing and maintaining a relationship that favors active listening and displaying empathy will build trust and commitment. Lastly, while some persuasive skills may be necessary from time to time, servant leaders must prioritize goals and the welfare of their team over their own. Implementing this approach can improve employee performance by as much as 73%.

Unlock Your Leadership Potential With Servant Leadership Style

Servant leadership is about providing support to employees in order to help a company reach optimal performance. This method of leadership has numerous impacts on corporate performance, such as strengthening company culture, reducing voluntary turnover, and increasing employee engagement and commitment. By understanding and meeting the needs of employees, leaders can also develop trust-based relationships, encouraging innovation, curiosity, and creativity. As a result, a people-focused culture is created which has a beneficial effect on overall company performance. Additionally, the decision-making process will become a stronger asset for the organization, and employees will be better able to serve customers.

Servant leadership also has the effect of increasing internal staff growth and building future leaders. Team morale is increased, and leaders are more respected by their team members. Plus, employees feel more valued and appreciated within the workplace, leading to improved pride in work and job satisfaction.

Developing the Traits of a Servant Leader

In order to cultivate a transformational leadership style in your organization and become an effective servant leader, improving your communication skills, active listening, empathy, self-awareness, persuasion, and selflessness are essential. Establish a culture in which open dialogue is encouraged between all team members and provide constructive feedback in conversations. Demonstrate empathy and try to understand other perspectives before making decisions. Cultivate self-awareness and self-monitoring of your own behavior, reactions, and emotions. Ultimately, the goal is to develop team members holistically.

There are a number of traits related to servant leadership success. Adaptive leadership often involves questioning everyday assumptions, and charismatic leadership is different from autocratic leadership. Additionally, the contingency theory of leadership suggests that success depends on the situational context and requires a particular approach, and leadership qualities such as strong communication, empathy, and self-awareness are vital. With the right practice, you could be well on your way to promotion or developing your team.

Finally, situational leadership can help you handle different situations more professionally, and examples of this approach can help you improve your management skills.

Providing Meaningful Leadership Feedback

Having the right leaders can have an immense impact on an organization's success. To give meaningful feedback, it's important to be familiar with the various types of leadership styles and the associated advantages and disadvantages.

Transactional Leadership

Transactional leadership focuses on setting objectives and rewarding team members for achieving them. It's vital to consider the potential benefits and drawbacks before implementing this type of leadership.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership is an effective approach to unlocking one's leadership potential and boosting a workforce's performance. By concentrating on the holistic improvement of team members, granting authority, and providing support and resources, you can create a team that is motivated, confident, and competent. These outcomes will have a positive effect on the success of the organization, highlighting the importance of servant leadership.

Using these 30 feedback example phrases can be an excellent way to provide meaningful feedback.

Join Shiken For FREE

AI-powered learning tools. Create, relax, learn.

Gumbo Study Buddy

Try Shiken Premium
for Free

14-day free trial. Cancel anytime.
Get Started
Join 20,000+ learners worldwide.
The first 14 days are on us
96% of learners report x2 faster learning
Free hands-on onboarding & support
Cancel Anytime