5 Benefits of Servant Leadership in the Workplace
“Servant leadership” was first coined in Robert Greenleaf’s 1970 essay “The Servant as Leader”. In the essay, he mentioned that a servant leader is driven by a “natural feeling to serve”. Famous servant leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, and Mother Teresa have been known to prioritize the growth and well-being of the people around them rather than prioritizing their own growth and success. With these types of leaders focusing on uplifting people, this leadership style has proven to be successful especially in work environments. To delve deeper, here are the five benefits of servant leadership in the workplace:
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1. Better collaboration
Since servant leaders are driven to help people, they are essentially known as role models. With proper role models in place in the company, this results in better collaboration between employees. Unlike authoritarian leaders or leaders who rely on fear and anger to build success, servant leaders rely on encouragement and motivation to get the best out of their subordinates.
Being a role model is one of the shining characteristics of a servant leader which essentially results in better communication with people around the organization. And as commonly seen in successful companies, effective communication always leads to better collaboration, and better collaboration leads to higher revenue. Despite their rank in the organization, servant leaders are known to efficiently work together with managers and rank and file employees.
2. A more positive work environment
Although some people thrive on working in a company where bosses constantly berate and belittle their employees, the majority are not agreeable with that kind of work environment. Working for hostile leaders is never good for one’s psychological and emotional health. Additionally, being with these types of leaders constantly can only lead to a faster decline of self-esteem as well as bring doubt to one’s actual capabilities.
Servant leaders may get angry from time to time but they make sure they never showcase toxic traits to their colleagues. They also call out employees who are mistreating other colleagues or purposely ignoring company policies. With everyone in check, including the leader themselves, this creates a more positive work environment where a high level of professionalism is maintained. Every person in an organization doesn’t need to get along personally but an individual who utilizes a servant leader model ensures that everyone respects each other on a professional level.
3. Accelerated learning and development
One of the most common servant leadership qualities is identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their subordinates. With this, they create strategies where employees can maximize their strengths and work on their weaknesses at the same time. For example, a manager notices that one of his employees is excellent at technical work but lacks social skills. He then devises a strategy where the said employee is given a promotion and is tasked to lead a group of people as part of his new role. The said employee doesn’t only get recognized for his hard work but also has an opportunity to hone his social skills.
Unlike authoritarian leaders, servant leaders are driven to empower the people in their team/department or even the entire organization. People working for these leaders don’t only get added motivation but also have the opportunity to develop new skills which are very helpful for their future careers.
4. Increased employee commitment
People love working with leaders who are not just intelligent but also determined and compassionate. As multiple studies have shown, employees commit more to the organization with leaders possessing these qualities. As more employees signify their commitment, this helps the company deal better with employee turnover which oftentimes can be very costly and also gives a negative reputation to the company.
Employee commitment doesn’t mean the employee stays with the company throughout their entire career. It can be as simple as sticking for a year or two even if there are offers coming from different companies. As previously said, people don’t like working with hostile or difficult leaders and won’t mind submitting their resignation letters in a heartbeat once they feel they are personally attacked in the workplace.
5. Aids in developing more leaders
The great thing about people possessing servant leader traits is that they also contribute to creating more leaders in the workplace. Although a new designation may not be given to every leader that crops up, every organization can never be short of individuals possessing leadership capabilities. Whether it be motivating other people to finish their tasks on time or suggesting new solutions to company management, these individuals can make a big difference in making sure the organization meets its long-term goals.
As servant leaders develop more leaders just like them, this creates a new generation of individuals who can use their newfound leadership skills to advance their careers. It should be remembered that skill is only a small percentage in creating success. Being a determined and strong-willed leader by bringing together people to face challenges and achieve common goals together is also a big part of what makes a leader who he/she truly is.
When it comes to coming together and achieving a common goal, no one does it better than a servant leader. Servant leadership is also known to be incorporated into other leadership styles such as laissez faire and transformational leadership.
Servant leaders rally their troops and ensure all of their objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. And although they still commit mistakes from time and time, they still make sure they are fully responsible for their actions and prevent blame those mistakes on other people. These leaders may not be an automatic solution for company success, but they will find ways to make sure everyone works together so that success can be achieved one way or another.
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