“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Servant leaders are those who lead for empowering others, enabling them to develop and is concerned about the improvement of the organization as a whole. They are self-motivated, confident, and at the same time selfless as leaders.
In this turbulent era of market ebbs and flows, how do you make sure that your leadership strategy never fails?
No More Leadership Myths
There are numerous misconceptions clouding the concept of servant leadership, but despite the odds, servant leadership is still the most effective leadership strategy that suits a wide range of organizations and businesses today.
Myths On Servant Leadership
- Servant leaders are passive.
- Servant leaders are kind and too soft-hearted, which is why they have that smile on their face 24/7. They live to take orders and fulfill the demands of both peers and stakeholders
- Servant leaders are powerless. They lack the capacity to manage the team unlike other dominant leaders
- Servant leadership doesn’t exist in the real world.
Why Servant Leadership Is So Popular Today
Based on research and evidence, here are some reasons why all leaders should consider servant leadership to shape their team and aim towards growth.
1. A High-performance culture is the byproduct of servant leadership
In a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (2011), Dr. Liden and Jia Hu found that servant leaders are more successful than others as they promote self-confidence, assertiveness and builds the potential of their team – this results in greater productivity and high-performance work culture. In their study, they mentioned how servant leaders use words like “we“, “our team“, and “us“, instead of saying “I”, “me”, “I think”, to encourage an inclusive culture for all members of the team, and function as a whole.
2. Servant Leadership ensures growth
Servant leaders understand that regardless of how skilled they are, they can’t go far without the team. They acknowledge that as a leader their ability and capacity is 1 x 1 = 2 without a team. A servant leader understands how critical their team is to achievement for themselves, their team and the business. We use the formula 1 + 1 + 1 = the power of many. Servant based leaders empower others to recognize their inner potential and give them space to nurture their creativity and talent. A servant leader surrounds herself with positivity so that she can discover and maximize the team’s abilities and their own.
3. Servant Leadership Is a Value Add To The Team
When a team believes in their work, has meaning and purpose, (not just about the daily tasks), they feel more empowered in their work which naturally increases responsibility and accountability. Servant leaders invariably make their team encourage empowerment and rewards. A Servant leader could take simple actions like leaving small notes as an expression of gratitude when someone performs well, to make the employees feel valued and acknowledged.
4. Servant Leaders have high levels of engagement from employees
Employees who work in an atmosphere of mutual support have greater job satisfaction. Servant leadership builds a fast growing environment of trust and mutual cooperation. People know that their leaders care about them, they do not feel utilized or mistreated. A leadership strategy that balances professional skills with personal warmth and empathy will result in highly satisfied employees. It stifles backbiting, unhealthy competition, and helps everyone potentially achieve a better work-life balance.
5. They are winners in the long-run
As the saying goes, “Management is what we do. Leadership is who we are.”
Servant leaders are rarely interested in immediate gains. They have the power to foresee the long-term profits, their selfless devotion towards the team makes them a winner personally, professionally, and ethically. Many surveys from all over the world have clearly proved that organizations that have servant leadership principles are growing faster than others. Here is a list of some of the leading firms who have a servant-leadership based culture.
7 Servant leadership based firms
- 7 Eleven
- Centura Health
- Paragon Solutions
- Marriott International
- Walmart Stores
Leadership can be challenging, it requires you to let go of ego and self-importance and lead for the greater good of the team and business overall. A servant leader requires an even higher ability to let go of self and increase levels of empathy, influence, courage and focus on others.
So keep your strategies strong and focus on your actions – as the famous saying goes, “Great leaders won’t tell you what to do, they’ll show how it is done.”