Personal Development
Servant Leadership: Definition Plus Benefits and Drawbacks

Servant Leadership: Definition Plus Benefits and Drawbacks

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

Servant leadership is a style of leadership that prioritizes serving the greater good, putting the needs of the team and organization before those of the leader. This empowers employees to take ownership of their roles and feel valued, which studies show leads to improved performance. Servant leadership incorporates Robert K. Greenleaf's 10 principles, as broken down by Larry C. Spears into seven primary characteristics:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Healing
  • Self-awareness
  • Persuasion
  • Conceptualization
  • Foresight

In servant leadership, the leader sets a strategic vision, communicates it, and provides a platform to allow the team to flourish. This involves investing time and resources to help the team grow through organizational training, development programs, and growth and transformation coaching. It also consists of creating a positive and open work environment with meaningful connections between the leader and the team.

Invest in Yourself Today

In today's ever-changing world, businesses must stay up to date to compete. Investing in a culture of servant leadership is a great way to build effective teams that empower everyone in the enterprise. Taking the time to understand servant leadership and learning how to put it into practice will give you the skills to create a successful and productive work environment.

Servant Leadership in the Workplace: How It's Different from Traditional Leadership

Servant leadership is significantly different from traditional leadership in various ways. Here are three principles that illustrate this.

Inclusive Culture

Servant leadership emphasizes inclusivity. Leaders value teams with individuals from different backgrounds and skillsets, creating an atmosphere in which every employee feels like they belong and can express themselves without fear of reprisal. This encourages innovative thinking and encourages team members to share their ideas.

Tailored to Team's Needs

Servant leaders prioritize the needs of their team, ensuring that they have the tools to become more productive and serve the customer better. This emphasizes professional performance and growth.

Strong Ethical Values

Ethics and morals are an important part of servant leadership. Leaders must be humble and committed to genuine service to their team; without strong ethical values, employees can become unmotivated and cease to grow.

The Right Attitude and Skills

To be an effective servant leader, you need the right attitude and skills. It's important to be flexible and able to adapt to changing environments, as well as having an understanding of the team's needs.

Servant Leadership: Pros & Cons of This Leadership Style

Servant leadership theory is built upon cultivating an effective and productive workplace, getting the most out of your team, and providing employees with an environment that encourages ownership while motivating them to strive for excellence. Through strong communication, empathy, self-awareness, persuasion, selflessness, and the prioritization of employee engagement and development, servant leaders unlock their leadership potential and create an atmosphere of trust, understanding, and support. Here, we will explore the pros and cons of servant leadership.

Pros of Servant Leadership

The advantages of servant leadership are plentiful. Servant leadership encourages deeper trust-based relationships, increases innovation and creativity, fosters a people-focused culture, and helps to ensure decisions are made in the best interests of the company. The high level of internal staff growth, respect for leaders from team members, and improved morale offered by servant leadership makes it an especially attractive management style.

Cons of Servant Leadership

The cons of servant leadership are also important to consider. It can be difficult to communicate the concept, attain, and retrain existing leaders, and some may perceive these leaders as weak. The formal authority of the leader may be diminished and team members are expected to make decisions without necessarily understanding the big picture, the initial speed of decision-making is slower due to high team involvement, and possible misalignment among teams may arise. Additionally, employees may not have the necessary confidence to take charge and drive the business forward, and the style may be out of sync with corporate performance management and incentive systems, resulting in decreased motivation and resourcefulness when the leader intervenes to fix issues.

Key Takeaways

  • Servant leadership has many advantages, including improved trust-based relationships, increased innovation and creativity, and a people-focused culture.
  • The disadvantages of servant leadership include difficulty in communication and comprehension, diminished authority of the leader, and decreased motivation and resourcefulness.
  • Servant leaders need to possess communication skills, empathy, self-awareness, persuasion, selflessness, and the prioritization of team engagement.

Overall, the servant leadership style can transform the way employees approach their work. It is an effective tool for getting the most out of team members, creating a culture of trust and understanding, and enabling innovation and creativity. However, it takes considerable skill to get it right. Servant leaders should be patient, take the time to get to know their team, and prioritize their needs. Doing so is the only way to establish an effective team and foster a healthy and productive workplace.

How to Become an Effective Servant Leader

In order to become an effective servant leader, it is important to put emphasis on communication, empathy, self-awareness, and persuasion. Leaders should also prioritize engagement with their team and holistically develop employees. Additionally, exploring different leadership styles will equip leaders with the right tools to become effective servant leaders.

It is important for leaders to focus on providing feedback and critiques to team members in order to help them increase their capability and boost confidence. By understanding different leadership forms, taking time to get to know their team, and providing consistent feedback, servant leaders can not only boosts productivity and efficiency but also create a culture of openness and respect in their organization.

Shiken Resources for Organizations

At Shiken, we offer comprehensive and up-to-date resources to help organizations maximize their potential. Our blog features a variety of topics, such as change management and team building. Our news & press section provides updates on the latest trends in the industry, and our customer success stories give insight into how leading organizations use our products and services to ensure success.

Shiken offers a range of services designed for lasting value, including one-on-one coaching, group workshops, and virtual events. Our mission is to help organizations reach their highest potential and promote continual learning and development.

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