You are a servant leader when you focus on the needs of others before considering your own. It is a long-term leadership approach, rather than a technique you can adopt in specific situations. Therefore, you can use it with other leadership styles, such as transformational leadership. Servant leaders support lower-level employees and teams.
They support them to make decisions, have more responsibility and have the skills and tools they need to do their job. This means they can respond and adapt quickly when conditions or needs change. In the following, we will delve into what servant leadership is, how it started and how you can develop the skills needed to become a servant leader. Servant leadership is a style based on a desire to serve and give back to your community.
By putting the needs of others first, you empower people to do their best. When community members see your passion and commitment through your actions, they want to be connected to you, Servant leadership goes against the belief that leadership is defined as hierarchical, patriarchal and related to wealth or status. Instead, as the name suggests, it focuses on serving others to help them grow, often without the title or recognition that comes with many leadership roles. Robert Greenleaf, the originator of servant leadership theory, chose the name because it is contradictory and the polar opposite of typical leadership theories.
The most important characteristic of being a servant leader, according to Greenleaf, is to make serving rather than leading the top priority. According to Ginny Boyum, Greenleaf proposed that servant leaders must serve first, make the needs of others their top priority and find success and power in the growth of others; in short, a servant can only become a leader if a leader remains a servant. In simpler terms, servant leaders should seek to be servants first, to attend to the needs of all those around them, to ensure the growth of future leaders. These traits indicate that one is a servant leader because, in general, they make those they serve healthier and wiser, guiding others towards self-improvement.
Over time, the served are driven to also possess the traits of a servant leader, continuing the spread of the leadership style. There have been several critiques of servant leadership. In one such critique, Sendjaya and Sarros used the same biblical account as Akuchie and claimed that it was Jesus Christ, not Greenleaf, who introduced the notion of servant leadership into everyday human affairs. They argued that this leadership principle was so important to Christianity that it was picked up by all four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).
The researchers argued that servant leaders have a particular view of themselves as stewards who are entrusted with developing and enabling followers to reach their full potential. However, Sendjaya and Sarros' research work did not propose a testable framework or distinguish between this and other leadership styles. Developing and mentoring the team that follows their instructions, or the needs of clients and customers, take precedence over personal elevation. Even upon reaching a position of governance, a servant leader often encourages subordinates to seek service to others as a priority over personal gain.
A servant leader may aspire to share power with others and encourage the development and growth of others. This trait may involve listening carefully to followers to better understand their needs, but it also involves leaders holding themselves and others accountable for their words and actions. A servant leader is an advanced thinker. He or she looks at what he or she has learned in the past and how it has affected the present and could affect the future.
Thinking long term helps to see what the company can become and allows decisions to be made about changes for the future. A servant leader can help build a concept for people. This includes the task of creating a vision and mission statement to provide a sense of direction for the whole team. There is ongoing research on servant leadership, and leaders who implement this style of leadership must ensure that it is done in an honest and ethical manner.
The philosophy and practices of servant leadership have been expressed in many ways and applied in many contexts. According to a 2002 study by Sen Sendjaya and James C Sarros, servant leadership is practised in some of the largest companies, and these companies rank high in leadership style and followership. Servant leadership is a leadership style and philosophy whereby an individual interacts with others, either as a manager or as a co-worker, to achieve authority rather than power. Servant leadership is important in business because it creates a work environment in which employees at all levels of your organisation feel respected, appreciated and valued.
A servant is not a leader according to traditional teachings, but by redefining and rediscovering what a leader is and does, you will find that the servant leader mentality is better suited to lead by developing strong relationships based on trust. Servant leadership occurs when the leader's primary goal and responsibility is to provide a service to his or her people. This leadership style requires the individual to demonstrate characteristics such as empathy, listening, stewardship and commitment to the personal growth of others. Servant leadership practices appear to have an effect on the employee's life outside of the organisations with which they are affiliated.
The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform at their best. In today's leadership circles, the concept gained much popularity with Robert Greenleaf's 1971 essay, The Servant as Leader. In servant leadership, the leader ensures that followers grow in all areas: their career, their knowledge, their autonomy and even their health and physical development. It should come as no surprise that servant leadership has become one of the most popular leadership styles in the modern workplace.
Within the framework set by these leadership decisions, the servant leader puts himself at the service of his people.