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Viewpoint - Bob Gershberg - April 2023

Servant Leadership

By Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner, Wray Executive Search

Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy and approach that emphasizes the well-being and growth of followers or team members, rather than the leader's personal interests or authority. It is a people-centric leadership style that prioritizes the needs and development of those being led, and seeks to empower and serve them to achieve their fullest potential. The concept of servant leadership was popularized by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay "The Servant as Leader", and has since been embraced by various leaders and organizations as a positive and effective approach to leadership. Servant leadership is based on the idea that a leader must be a servant first and put their own interests second. A servant leader commits to serving their clients, employees, and the company rather than striving for power or control.

At the core of servant leadership is the idea that leaders are not just responsible for accomplishing tasks or achieving goals, but also for supporting the growth, development, and well-being of their followers. Servant leaders prioritize the needs of their team members, actively listen to them, show empathy, and provide support and resources to help them succeed. They focus on building positive relationships, fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment, and creating opportunities for learning and development.

Some key principles of servant leadership include:

Empathy: Servant leaders strive to understand and empathize with the needs and concerns of their team members. They listen attentively, show understanding, and consider the emotions and perspectives of others.

Humility: Servant leaders recognize that they are not the center of attention, but rather facilitators of their team's success. They are humble and do not seek personal glory or recognition, but instead focus on the collective achievements of their team.

Empowerment: Servant leaders empower their team members by giving them autonomy, decision-making authority, and opportunities to contribute their skills and expertise. They trust their team members and enable them to take ownership of their work.

Service: Servant leaders prioritize serving the needs of their team members and the broader organization, rather than using their authority to command and control. They are willing to roll up their sleeves, support their team, and remove obstacles that hinder their progress.

Ethical Behavior: Servant leaders adhere to high ethical standards and act with integrity. They are honest, transparent, and fair in their dealings with others, and they hold themselves and their team members accountable for their actions.

Vision: Servant leaders have a clear and compelling vision for the future and communicate it to their team. They inspire and motivate their team members to work towards a common purpose and align their efforts towards shared goals.

Benefits Of Servant Leadership

Team Strength: Teams feel inspired by their leaders, but only if the leaders are inspiring themselves. Someone who is willing to serve their team and do everything in their power to support their members is creating a sense of mutual respect. Team members collaborate more effectively with each other and support their peers, in turn, as they're learning from the leading example. This increases productivity, resulting in more satisfied employees who now have a shared purpose.

Work Environment: Employees who work in an environment where they feel valued and supported tend to be more confident. They don't need to worry about competing with others or getting burnt out because they don't feel as if they need to prove themselves. This level of confidence also allows them to speak up and express their opinions freely. They know that their problems are heard, so they view their working environment as a positive place where they can thrive and continue to grow their talents.

Stronger Company Culture: This form of leadership creates a people-centered culture where everyone is appreciated and involved in company issues. The importance of teamwork is also part of that culture since everyone is collaborating to achieve the organizational goals. A strong company culture is helpful during times of crisis, too. Employees know that you value their ideas and that they can feel safe in times of uncertainty.

Employee Responsibility: Since everyone in the team is working together, employees learn leadership lessons from their managers and department heads that are crucial for their job performance. Everyone accepts responsibility for their actions and knows when to hold themselves accountable for their mistakes. This creates a solid ground for productivity and more efficient work. Knowing that the leader supports them and gives them meaningful feedback makes it easier for them to acknowledge when they've made an incorrect decision or need to work on certain performance behaviors. Thus, servant leadership generates more servant leaders since the employees are trained in that nurturing environment.

Lower Employee Turnover: As they are working in an environment where they can express their opinions and be creative, employees feel more motivated. The leader encourages innovation and new ideas, and that inspires the employees to aim high when it comes to goal setting. They will also be more invested in developing their skills and talents, which leads to higher retention rates. Servant leaders empower their employees and focus on their growth and happiness. This prompts people to stay longer in a company and work harder to achieve its objectives.

Servant leadership has been shown to have numerous benefits, such as increased employee engagement, higher job satisfaction, improved team performance, and enhanced organizational culture. It fosters a positive and inclusive work environment where individuals feel valued, supported, and empowered to achieve their best.

All the best,

Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

(888) 875-9993 ext 102

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!

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