“Servant leadership” is a term we’re hearing more and more in today’s business environment.
For some, it’s a way of life, not just in how they conduct business, but how they interact in their communities and lead their lives.
Yet, not everyone is as gung-ho on the idea and are more inclined to perceive servant leadership as a fad of the times.
What is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is characterized by leaders who lead with a people-first mentality. They prioritize the needs and well-being of others before their own, in support of a greater good.
Servant leaders have been around since the beginning of time — we just didn’t call them “servant leaders.”
Here are a few examples you might be familiar with: Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi, just to name a few.
Servant leaders are not always individuals, but can also be companies. Southwest Airlines is the perfect example, where they prioritize their customers happiness by offering free checked luggage, no flight change fees and other such perks.
The military is another prime example of servant leadership; they literally give their lives to serve the country they love. The culture of the military is focused around the service of others, and is reinforced through shared values, individual empowerment, collaboration, trust and so on.
What is Servant Leadership NOT?
One of the biggest misconceptions of servant leadership is that is it leader-less. This could not be further from the truth!
Servant leadership relies on capable, intentional and humble individuals to instill and pursue the values of its core philosophy. (Check out: 7 Traits of a Servant Leader)
If power, wealth and status are your aim, servant leadership is not in your cards. The ideology of servant leadership is not to disempower others for the benefit of an individual or group. However, it is also not a “decision by committee” structure either; as mentioned, servant leadership relies on individual leaders.
Finally, servant leadership is not just a “feel good,” kumbaya scheme devoid of conflict of adversity. Servant leadership embraces differences and endeavors to amicably resolve them.
Servant Leadership is here to stay.
The practice of servant leadership or “selfless service” is not on its way out, but rather on its way up.
Servant leadership empowers employees to become more autonomous, collaborate more and trust one another. Each member is valued for what they specifically bring to the table and understands how they impact the success of a greater whole.
Perhaps most uniquely, mistakes are embraced rather than feared. Mistakes are used as tools for learning and growth, and are appreciated over inaction. (Check out: Why Your Team Should Be Making Mistakes)
Servant leaders are more in-tune with their employees, as they prioritize understand what motivates each individual, whether that be money, title, autonomy, etc. Servant leaders are better equipped to get the most out of their teams and have happier employees, as a result.
Become A Servant Leader
Want to learn more about implementing servant leadership in your organization? We can help.
Servant leadership is a process which must be nurtured and can take time to implement.
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Servant leadership is more than just a fad; it is a way of life and leadership that influences how leaders interact in their organization, communities and relationships.