Servant leadership is often called the most important aspect of leadership. Successful leaders understand that it isn’t enough to lead employees — you have to actively help them succeed. A servant leader helps her team develop their skills, and in doing so improves the entire organization.
This week, I’ve been reading about how a servant leader can improve the workplace and increase employee engagement.
How Servant Leaders ‘Fill The Gap’. Forbes: “The story of Extortion 17 and the heroes aboard underpin the selflessness that every leader, every organization aspire towards yet few actually achieve: to work and live for something greater than oneself; to ‘fill the gap’ and answer the call for help whenever and wherever it is needed….To fill the gap means to serve others before serving oneself. Servant leaders recognize that enabling others serves the betterment of the team while also building oneself. To quote Robert Greenleaf, widely considered the founder of Servant Leadership: ‘The servant-leader is servant first. . . It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first.’”
Being a Servant Leader in the Age of Technology. The Huffington Post: “To serve and to lead may be two separate entities but a strong leader is able to master both; serve employees by leading them to practice the same qualities that would merit trust. Gaining the trust of others comes from your personal character, so build your voice upon it – one that is real, authentic, and relatable. The first step in accomplishing this is letting go of your ego. The evolution of a leader is not accomplished by dictatorial and controlling tactics. If a flawed leader brings the wrong values into a company, it affects the performance of the business as a whole. Though no one is perfect, what sets a servant leader apart is their ability to surrender their ego to empower others to feel their sense of self worth.”
10 Characteristics of a Servant Leader. nine10: “Leaders have traditionally been valued for their communication and decision-making skills. While these are also important skills for the servant-leader, they need to be reinforced by a deep commitment to listening intently to others. The servant-leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps clarify that will. He or she seeks to listen receptively to what is being said. Listening, coupled with regular periods of reflection, is essential to the growth of the servant-leader…The servant-leader strives to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirits. One assumes the good intentions of coworkers and does not reject them as people, even if one finds it necessary to refuse to accept their behavior or performance.”
Becoming A Better Leader At The Workplace. Blue Business Dialogue: “Being a good leader means that you’re going to have a lot of demands put on you. Those pressures can make it hard to spend time with friends, family and other things. Remember that you have to have a life that’s well rounded if you want to lead well and be more happy. Therefore, it is important to give yourself breaks and take the time to savor life. Rather than looking at yourself as the boss, switch to looking at yourself as a servant. When you’re a leader you need to meet the needs of your employees, clients, and customers by serving them. When you embrace this sort of servant leadership, true success will be yours, and your peers will respect you.”
The Power of Servant Leadership to Build and Sustain Stakeholder Value. Beyond Philosophy: “Today, though many enterprise leaders still believe in, and practice, a paradigm which depends on controlled communication and power rather than mutually beneficial agreements, Greenleaf strongly believed otherwise. His ‘best test’ for any enterprise effectiveness was to ask how leaders could serve people, help them grow as individuals, become more autonomous, healthier, wiser, and freer, and, themselves, become servants. Certainly, we can see Greenleaf’s legacy in organizations identifying themselves as agents of conscious capitalism. In a later essay, The Institution As Servant, Greenleaf wrote: ‘If a better society is to be built, one that is more just and more loving, one that provides greater opportunity for its people, then the most open course is to raise both the capacity to serve and the very performance as servant of existing major organizations by new regenerative forces operating within them.’”
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