A Better Way of Leading Teams
The Dutch Mentor – Telephone: (646) 208-5217 – Website: https://thedutchmentor.com/
Servant Leadership: Why It Is A Better Way Of Leading?
Today, the dynamics of the ideal workspace have changed drastically. To be relevant and thriving in the ever-evolving business environment, leaders must adapt to the new styles of leading, ones that are service driven.
Servant leadership offers a fresh perspective on fulfilling employee expectations and organizational goals.
Servant leadership, along with action-based learning, is better than attending day-long workshops or monthly, bi-annual, or yearly conferences where most of what you learn is forgotten by Monday morning of the following week.
Reimagine and redo the corporate culture with servant leadership. Become a servant leader.
What Is Servant Leadership?
The concept appeals to the company-wide C-Suite executives and leaders who desire to transform today’s workspaces. Managers utilize servant-driven principles to boost the culture, build cohesive teams, and experience the noble side of leadership.
What servant leadership really is?
It’s a set of action-based routines, a philosophy that supersedes all styles of leading teams. A servant leader is an individual with great dignity, who can put the needs of others at the fore, shares wisdom, and helps teams perform to their capabilities.
Origin of Servant Leadership
Robert K. Greenleaf is said to be the father of servant leadership. Born in 1904 and retired as an AT&T executive, Greenleaf coined the term after reading Journey to the East, a novel by Hermann Hesse.
The storyline is straightforward: A group of men heads on a mythical journey by their servant, Leo, who supports the group with his songs and positive spirit. But Leo disappears, and the group falls apart, abandoning the journey. Years later, it was discovered that Leo wasn’t just a servant but a guiding spirit for the group who also sponsored the expedition.
Greenleaf could notice parallels to the corporate environment. In 1964, he founded the nonprofit Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership (previously called “The Center for Applied Ethics”). Not long after, in 1970, Greenleaf used Hermann Hesse’s story as an inspiration to publish a landmark essay, “The Servant as Leader,” coining a new leadership style – Servant Leadership – and launching the modern Servant leadership movement.
Servant Leadership vs. Traditional Leadership
The servant-first leader is a supporter first leader later. This person is different from the one that values power and perks above all. Traditional leaders lack introspection and that collective ownership. They keep away from the concerns of everyone’s well-being, their moral authority, and providing growth opportunities. While traditional skills and competencies still remain in use, that service-oriented attitude, employee engagement, collaboration, innovation, and compassion are the newer changes. Positional authority isn’t the leading factor; the attention is less on hierarchy and more on empowering teams. There’s trust, respect, good faith, and consensus in servant leadership.
Key Percepts of Servant Leadership
Leadership qualities are timeless. For this reason, we look back on successful personalities and think – if we can outperform these trailblazers, we’d be better leaders too.
However, in 2022, something has fundamentally transformed. We’re witnessing more volatility and business complications. The evolution isn’t only relegated to technology. There’s a lot more changing in the business landscape.
Hence, what comes into the picture is today’s leader, someone with an even greater appetite for making an impact than those wonderful people who left a mark in history. In many ways, today’s leaders have no benchmark for qualities.
What helps to a greater extent are the ten characteristics or, say, ten commandments of servant leadership that still remain relevant.
Here is how to become a servant leader and differentiate yourself from an authoritarian boss.
Greenleaf’s 10 characteristics of a servant leader prioritize listening skills for creating innovative workspaces. Servant leaders adopt active listening, better communication, and collaborative decision-making. These are key to gaining a deeper understanding of what teams desire.
This isn’t a “should have” but a “must have.” Leaders of tomorrow must empathize with others. In the already fiercely competitive world, the least a leader can do is identify with their people as if they were them. Others need to be accepted and recognized for their spirits. Forster that belongingness at work.
Keep track of everyone’s plans, goals, and personalities. Become more self-aware. Embrace IQ plus emotional intelligence (EQ). Familiarize yourself with your and your teams’ strengths and weaknesses. This gives you a comprehensive, integrated, and holistic perspective on the ethics and values of the business as a whole.
Servant leaders prioritize healthy working environments. They understand that teams aren’t used to a servant-led leadership approach and carry several negative experiences with traditional leaders. Therefore, servant leaders are also needed to guide teams into a healing journey and inculcate the unexplored culture of wholeness. Mentorship, coaching, problem-solving, and action-based learning are all part of a robust work culture.
Servant leaders must be persuasive, not controlling or manipulative. Convincing teams rather than forcing compliance is an evident dissimilarity between the authoritarian approach and the level of trust built with servant leadership. So next time you make decisions, make everyone feel included and invite opinions.
A servant leader can anticipate future events and their impact on teams. Developing farsightedness requires giving space to yourself to look at the business from a systemized perspective. Question biases, be proactive, and scan from outside in.
How do traditional leaders separate from modern-day servant leaders? With the ability to keep dreaming of extraordinary things. Developing a conceptualization perspective or casting a vision allows sharing of dreams and aspirations among teams, with one eye on the horizon and another on inspiring people even in tough times.
Servant leaders are deeply committed to doing everything they can to grow teams with support and resources. It relates to both personal and professional development. They take concrete actions, provide mentorship, motivate, inspire, build leadership development opportunities, and assist teams beyond their employment.
The stewardship characteristic helps leaders uphold the trust given to them by the organization. It makes them acknowledge their obligations. The trait relates to the responsible and careful management of teams or acting in long-term service to those in lower positions. For example, if you make a mistake, show your teams the steps you took to resolve the matter and demonstrate accountability.
Cultivate Community Culture
Servant leaders don’t just develop teams; they build a thriving community within the organization. They interweave trust, confidence, and companionship so every individual can perform to the best of their abilities. Regularly checking in on them, monthly 1:1s, and team-building activities help produce that community connection.
Leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow must remain adaptive and transformative to become servant-first leaders. This will offer these frontrunners a leading edge and a means to unleash proactive transformation.
Challenges of Servant Leadership
The servant leadership model isn’t all fun and games. It encounters challenges, the primary being to act for a larger purpose. Servant leaders are humble and satisfied seeing others succeed. But the undermined authority, fatigue, decreased motivation, and being taken for granted remain on the other side of the coin. There’s a lack of clarity in the individuality of the leader.
All in all, the major challenge is in developing an excellent foundation for the organization’s culture and people. But emerging leaders must let go of the obstacles in their way. Identify and embrace blind spots and serve teams out of selflessness. Learn to integrate an open mind, an open heart, and the will to realize the fullest potential.
Here, action-based learning comes into the picture. Challenges are key when you’re moving up the occupational ladder. But action-based learning fosters critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork to overcome challenges and other leadership issues.
In a 2013 Harvard Business School paper by Jim Heskett, he asked why servant leadership isn’t more prevalent. He received several comments, including “Where do you go to learn how to lead this way?”
The road from good to great isn’t easy. Learning must be an ongoing process. Today, so many leadership development programs for next-level leaders allow new leaders to learn to face and resolve the continuing and emerging challenges. It isn’t any more about “Leaders influence, and servants follow.” It’s about meeting the leadership challenges of contemporary cultures while honoring humility every step of the way.
To Serve or Not To Serve – Choice Is Yours!
Servant leaders are influential. Peter Michael Senge, an American systems scientist, states that servant leaders are an excellent combination of idealism and practicality. At one level, the leader is deeply rooted in self-worth, grace, and idealistic beliefs, but they are also pragmatic.
Furthermore, “Servant Leadership: A path to High Performance,” a 2013 Washington Post Article, also outlines the organizations that benefit from this leadership style. They enlist Best Buy, Ritz-Carlton, UPS, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, TDIndustries, and the San Antonio Spurs to have benefited from servant leaders.
As servants, leading teams is about serving their needs first. As stewards, their role is to nurture what is being given to them. As shepherds, every individual in the organization is important, and the leader must support the greater good.
But for the most part, leadership is still recognized as just fulfilling a role or position or a trait that demands the limelight – not as a mindset, higher purpose, or commitment to something bigger than the self.
But the best leaders are often invisible, working where paradoxes exist, possessing drive and humility, whose existence people are unaware of. Reaching that level is risky and time-taking; many refuse to take the initiative because they shirk responsibility. But it only takes a servant leader to cultivate a learning culture, shared commitment, and personal mastery.
Healthcare and Servant Leadership
Being a servant leader is a daunting endeavor, especially in the healthcare sector. The scale, enterprise priorities, core competencies, political situation, and misperceptions make the system even more challenging.
It’s tough to practice being a servant when those around and above you question your principles at every step. The model isn’t for the fainthearted, and it isn’t soft leadership either. It requires strength, self-control, and a never give up attitude.
In healthcare, servant leaders function from courage, practicality, accountability, perseverance, and resilience. There’s a steady moral compass within, and the understanding of the fine line between being a servant and slave. It must combine humility with determination and embrace a top-down, bottoms-up, and side-to-side cultural change.
If you’re anything near, you have all that it takes to BECOME A SERVANT LEADER. Don’t wait for the memo – carve your pathway, be determined where you’re going, firm in getting there, and generously share the road.
Serve your team by being the best leader for them. Because servant leadership is a better way of leading in 2022 and beyond.
About The Dutch Mentor
The Dutch Mentor bridges the gap between technical skills and transformative leadership to empower healthcare organizations and leaders of tomorrow. With over 20 years of a proven track record, the firm helps emerging leaders set up their way to success. Walter Dusseldorp, an author, thought leader, and founder of The Dutch Mentor, comes from a medical background to offer healthcare business consulting services. He always struggled to find the necessary support to lead teams effectively. This led him to develop practical mentorship training and programs to encourage emerging leaders to advance their careers and devise high-performing outcomes.
The Dutch Mentor focuses on making a difference in the healthcare sector by developing leaders for solving complex challenges and innovating for the future. The team invests in developing world-class leadership coaching that creates authentic, motivated, fierce, humble, and responsible leaders.
• Source 1: https://sites.psu.edu/leadership/2015/07/28/servant-leadership-challenges/
• Source 2: https://leaders.com/articles/leadership/servant-leadership/
Coach Calipari: A Winner and a Servant Leader
• Source 3: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5066916/#:~:text=A%20servant%20leader%20builds%20teams,servant%20leadership%20promotes%20team%20effectiveness.
• Source 4: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/organizational-and-employee-development/pages/the-art-of-servant-leadership.aspx
• Source 5: https://www.greenleaf.org/
• Source 6: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/
Learn more about The Servant Leadership style with the Dutch Mentor.
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