What is Servant Leadership?
I’ve been thinking about the concept of “Servant Leadership.” To me, that term simply means that a leader is there to serve his/her people and teams as a resource. The leader allocates appropriate resources, removes bureaucratic obstacles and actively manages the organization’s culture.
What Servant Leadership is Not
It is not doing the work of the team or individual. Similarly, it is
not using individual feelings or perceived weaknesses to avoid holding people or teams accountable. Also, it is not using personal relationships as an excuse for holding on to employees that are consistently not performing, or who do not fit into the culture of the organization. Servant leaders focus on other people’s needs and while acknowledging and being aware of feelings, they aren’t the focus.
Not a New Concept!
This is not a new concept. Servant leadership has shown up under this and other names for millennia. And it turns out that most of the attributes I find for a servant leader match those of Emotionally Intelligent leaders. Thus attributes such as listening, empathy, awareness, humility, persuasion, vision, decisiveness and commitment to developing others are leadership qualities that we have come to expect.
Another hot topic is how to retain our good employees. Presently, our economy is close to full employment. Employees are now willing to change jobs if their leader doesn’t measure up. We also have multiple generations working in our organizations; each with different points of view. Executive leadership teams are challenged to retain their best team members and hire ideal new team members. Developing leaders who serve others is an excellent way to retain valued employees as well as to inspire a multiple generation workforce.
An Action Plan
The concept of servant leadership has a long history for good reason. It’s a way to build effective organizations. And, you can definitely improve your leadership skills if you work on strengthening the attributes listed above. Are you willing to put in the effort to do so?