Principles of Servant Leadership

Most of the companies take the employee as material, for guaranteed, and a tool to advance the organizational goals. Managers and leaders make a plan and pass on the orders. They are not concerned as to how the work goes till the time a problem occurs. There is, however, an exception among leaders who proudly work as part of the team. They care more about achieving the goals than bossing the team. The participating leadership style is getting popular and termed as “Servant Leadership.”

Definition 

The concept of “servant leadership”, was first introduced by  Robert Greenleaf. His essay, “The Servant as a Leader,” published in 1970, defined servant leadership as follow:- 

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

The crux of the theory is to put people before power. A servant leader leads the team from the front, equally participating in work with his team. He is more concerned with the well-being of his team, keeping his ambitions at the end of the priority list. 

The key principles of servant leadership

Servant leaders have some common values and characteristics. Below we discuss the 10 most popular principles of servant leadership. 

Listening

Listening and listening with patience, is a tested tool for understanding the issues. It is a core principle of servant leadership. Let the team speak. Listen carefully and attentively. Let them talk freely without interruption. The team will feel at home and build a long-lasting trust in you as a leader. 

Sympathy

Sympathy means showing concern to someone. But in servant leadership is a way of taking ownership of your team to know them better. Mix up with them. Know their strengths and weaknesses. Work out to help them where they need your help, despite the issues if those are personal or official. Groom them to grow in a career.

Consoling 

There are sometimes employees with bitter experiences from their previous work environment. Consoling and healing them is now your responsibility as a team leader. Make them feel at home, enabling them to become productive team members. It is not so hard a task. Provide them a caring work environment. 

Self-Esteem 

Proving as a delivering servant leader, one needs to have a critical analysis of his strengths and weaknesses. Be an icon for others by doing it yourself, what you expect from the team. Set an example, and the team will follow it with pride. Train and empower them where they lack in skill and strength. 

Persuasion

Persuasion is a sort of encouragement. Let the team know of its strengths. Trust your team by assigning them responsibilities. Let them do things in their way. Servant leaders build strong teams through persuasion. Let every team member feel like a stakeholder.  

Conceptualization

A leader needs to be very clear about his job, authority, limitations, and challenges. Empower yourself and your team with the help of improved learning. Keep the focus on work, team performance, and monitor the output. It will help in leading the team more effectively.  

Foresight

Making a prediction is a characteristic that places you among the favorite leaders. Successful servant leaders apply their past learning to assess team output beforehand. Compare your work timelines with your goal expectations, and use the opportunities for improvements. 

Stewardship

It is a way of leading by example. It can be your example. Expect from the team only what you can do yourself. Avoid assigning them irrational tasks. The other option is to guide them to follow the examples from your previous successful projects. 

Team Building 

A servant leader has a responsibility towards his team to work for their career growth. Set an example by encouraging them to take courses for improving knowledge and skills. It will increase their capacity. Allocate a sufficient training and development budget. Invest in building and developing a star team. In turn, your team will help you shine on the sky of your organization as an admired servant leader. 

Create a Community

Like-minded persons are more productive. That is true with teams. The teams sharing similar values can make a community. They can complete tasks more efficiently. Working for a common cause in a collaborative format is a sure way to complete work speedily and with more accuracy. Develop a community of like-minded teams for sharing work for common goals. 

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  • Umar Hayat
  • The author has rich management exposure in banking, textile, and teaching in business administration.