“People don’t leave bad jobs; they leave bad bosses.”
While not everyone explicitly leaves because of this, many of the reasons good employees walk away can be traced back to poor leadership. Toxic work cultures, unethical management, and a lack of growth opportunities are a few reasons employees cite why they left their jobs.
To mitigate this, organizations have to create working environments where employees feel seen and supported. One effective way of doing this is through servant leadership. If you want to explore how your management can approach leadership in a way that benefits everyone involved, here’s what you should know about implementing servant leadership into your practices.
What Is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is the concept that leaders must serve those who work for them. Although the idea has previously existed in different ways, it wasn’t until 1970 that the term was coined by Robert Greenleaf’s essay, “The Servant as Leader.”
Unlike traditional leadership, where management uses tactics like commanding and coercion, servant leadership invests in their team’s growth and well-being. Servant leaders lead by ensuring that their people’s needs are met before they can progress. As a result, those under them can see and feel growth, independence, and autonomy to perform their tasks rather than having their leader dictate what they should do.
Why Is Servant Leadership Important?
In the past, a traditional workplace was seen as a pyramid hierarchy where those at the top had more power and control over those beneath them. That pyramid is inverted through servant leadership as the servant leader puts others above them to help them develop.
Servant leadership challenges the old notion of leading by authority by positively influencing without needing to coerce or use their position. By fostering the growth and well-being of their team or community, servant-leaders share the power and encourage others to grow. This, in turn, drives more people to lead by serving.
Some benefits organizations can gain through their servant leaders include:
- Shape Workplace Culture: Leadership style can reinforce the kind of culture your team or workplace has. Progressive leadership that’s dedicated to growth can motivate employees to collaborate and perform better, while toxic work cultures can foster negative attitudes.
- Manage Attrition: Many employees are motivated by more than a paycheck. Workplaces that don’t make employees feel seen, empowered, or motivated are likely to have higher attrition rates.
- Boost Performance and Creativity: Effective servant leadership creates environments where employees can be heard and discuss their needs, which can boost their interpersonal acceptance and provide emotional support. This can boost their performance and reduce turnover.
- Promote Better Work-Life Balance: Advice to employees to “separate work from personal life” can be easier said than done. Servant leaders recognize this, fostering environments where employees can balance their personal and professional time. This reduces the risk of burnout, emotional exhaustion, and the mental and emotional effects this has on employees.
What Are the Servant Leader Principles?
Aside from providing an effective leadership style, servant leadership can also affect your workplace culture and the principles that drive your business. Greenleaf outlined ten principles that guide servant leaders, which they, in turn, promote in their organizations:
- Listening: There’s a difference between staying quiet and waiting for your turn to talk and having an open ear for other viewpoints. Servant leaders understand that careful listening helps their employees feel acknowledged. When employees feel they’re heard well, they’re more likely to trust their leaders and perform better.
- Empathy: Servant employees are compassionate and understand that everyone in their team must deal with personal and professional hurdles. They recognize where their employees are coming from and then take steps to help them.
- Healing: Some form of conflict is inevitable in all workplaces. Servant leaders can’t avoid all conflict, but they can heal themselves and their relationships with others. People leave toxic workplaces where they cannot heal, and leaders know how to avoid fostering toxic spaces by resolving issues.
- Awareness: Effective servant leaders are mindful of their interactions and can perceive their and others’ emotions. They know how to read a room, spot leadership opportunities, and understand where their team comes from.
- Persuasion: Instead of using authority, servant leaders can persuade others. This is through rational arguments, convincing statements, and a strong consensus, not by coercion or exerting their positional power.
- Conceptualization: Servant leaders see beyond the day-to-day tasks and instead look at the big picture. They also want everyone to share the same vision and strategize for the same goal.
- Foresight: Effective servant leaders can make intelligent guesses about the outcomes of a situation. Servant leaders have good ideas about the results based on past data, past mistakes, and an understanding of current trends and practices.
- Stewardship: Servant leaders understand that they must make the most out of their people and resources to get the best results. However, they know that employees need to feel satisfied with their roles. Thus, they provide areas for growth and satisfaction, such as additional training, job growth, and more.
- Commitment to the Growth of People: Leaders who punish their team for mistakes are preventing them from growing. On the other hand, servant leaders believe that their team deserves to grow in a workplace that allows them to learn from their mistakes and try again.
- Building Community: Coworkers aren’t required to be the best of friends, but servant leaders understand that an effective team builds mutual trust and works together. Forging these relationships can lead to success as everyone trusts everyone to achieve the same goal.
Build Effective Leaders Through Servant Leadership Training from Zoe Training & Consulting
With the best leadership practices in the workplace constantly evolving, influential leaders are built, not born. Maximize your management team’s potential to grow and empower your workforce with the proper leadership training that develops their skills into servant leadership. Let Zoe Training & Consulting help your organization through our comprehensive training courses.
We offer affordable, real-world learning solutions that train your employees outside the box. Conduct training for your organization leaders and see how good management and leadership can boost your bottom line results.
Contact Zoe Training & Consulting today for more information.