Servant Leadership: How to be a Good Manager
We can all agree that running a business is challenging. We can also agree that employees retention is a major factor in operating a successful business. Therefore, learning how to be a good manager is part of employees retention. All the Fortune 500 companies have leaders who know the secrets of servant leadership and making billions of dollars. You should also.
Servant leadership is a new leadership strategy where the primary focus of a leader is to serve their employees. Rather than commanding their employees, they are uplifting, empowering, and developing their staff. This allows them to unlock their employees’ creativity, potential, and purpose. Studies have shown this style of leadership results in more engaged employees and higher performance and productivity.
Traditional leadership has leaders overseeing an employee and their work. These leaders have authority simply because of their job. Servant leaders are focused on serving their employees to get the most out of each individual. They are often more respected by their staff because they are focused on their employees.
The benefits of servant leadership are that employees have a greater sense of purpose, are more engaged, and empowered to make decisions. Staff retention skyrockets as well as productivity and customer satisfaction.
Servant leadership can be difficult for some people to achieve; it needs an unselfish mindset to work. The culture of a workplace has to change to adapt to this style of leadership too. This article will explore servant leadership, what it is, how it works, and how to implement it.
Where Did Servant Leadership Start?
Servant leadership has been around for centuries, but some of the earliest writings about it dates back to 5th Century BC. Chinese philosophers noted that the behaviors and values of the best leaders.
In 1971, Robert Greenleaf published an essay titled The Servant as a Leader which was popular amongst scholars and leadership experts.
Who Practices Servant Leadership?
A great example of servant leadership is Southwest Airlines, who under founder Herb Kelleher, practices putting employees first. This has resulted in a low staff turnover, highly engaged employees and over 35 consecutive years of profit, a rarity in the airline industry.
Datron is another example, in 2004, when Art Barter became CEO, he implemented servant leadership and over 6 years, the company’s revenue grew from $10 million to $200 million.
Servant Leadership Best Practices
Most experts believe that at the heart of a successful servant leadership company is a leader who genuinely wishes to serve their staff.
Servant leadership should also be demonstrated from the very beginning of an employee’s time with the company. A leader should ask new hires for their opinions of the company and impressions. This will show the employee that their thoughts and feelings are valued.
Servant leaders often consider all employees to be potential future leaders. They put effort into the training and development of all staff to ensure all employees can reach their full potential. Servant leaders also find that employee perform well when doing tasks or projects they are passionate about. Ask employees about their passions, their future goals, and what sort of work they enjoy.
Successful servant leaders often relinquish a little bit of control to allow employees to take ownership of their work. Employees often feel more engaged when empowered and will use creativity and initiative to get results. Many leaders may find it difficult to loosen the reins, but studies show it is much more effective long term than becoming a bottleneck for decisions. By stepping back and allowing employees to make certain decisions themselves, a leader will build their employees’ confidence and tap into their full creativity and talent.
Ask Good Questions and Listen Closely
Two core practices in a successful servant leadership are the ability to ask good, information gathering questions and to listen closely to your employees. Listening to your employees is the foundation of serving them well. Sometimes, a leader may need to ask sensitive questions to ascertain how they can best help them. Employees should know that their opinions and feedback are valued.
Servant leaders should also ensure their employees feel comfortable asking questions or making suggestions. Their ego should be put aside so they can accept criticism and take on new ideas.
The second core practice is listening, specifically listening to understand. A servant leader will listen quietly while the employee speaks and then ask questions to ensure they understand the employee’s points. Any disagreements or interjections must wait until the employee has finished speaking. While this may seem like common practice, many leaders struggle to listen to understand. They will become distracted by other things, interject, or zone out.
Encouragement, Humility, and Trust
Servant leaders need to encourage their staff at every turn. No matter the interaction with employees, a servant leader will encourage them and show humility and fairness. Rather than disciplining employees, they have respectful conversations where they explain the issue and trust the employee to correct their behavior.
Trust is key; a servant leader needs to trust that their employees are worth serving, and therefore, they and the company will benefit from the service they give. Trust is needed for a successful servant leadership, but a successful also begets a deeper trust.