Since the onset of the COVID pandemic, there’s been a lot of talk about the death of the office. With so many people now working remotely, it’s easy to see why this conversation happens. But even before COVID, there were plenty of fully remote companies, and they were doing just fine. In fact, for some companies, going fully remote was the key to their success.
One of the most important aspects of making a fully remote company work has the right leadership style. Even the most well-intentioned remote company can fall apart without the right leadership. With so many employees working from different locations, keeping everyone on the same page and working towards the same goals can be challenging. This is where a leadership style known as “servant leadership” comes in.
What is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is a style of leadership that focuses on the needs of the employees and helps them grow and develop. Servant leaders are not concerned with their power or status, but instead, it is about ensuring that everyone around them has what they need to succeed.
Servant leadership is often contrasted with more traditional “top-down” leadership styles. In a top-down leadership style, the leader is in charge, and everyone else is expected to follow. This can work well in some situations, but it doesn’t work so well when employees are scattered all over the place. With servant leadership, the focus is on communication and collaboration rather than hierarchy.
What is the History of Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is a philosophy that emphasizes the importance of service to others. Robert K. Greenleaf invented the term in an essay that was published in 1970. Greenleaf described the characteristics of a servant leader and outlined how this type of leader could benefit both individuals and organizations. Since then, many businesses, schools, and even government organizations have adopted the concept of servant leadership. The philosophy of servant leadership is based on the belief that the most influential leaders are those who serve others.
This means that servant leaders focus on meeting the needs of their employees or followers rather than on acquiring power or personal gain. Servant leaders also typically have a strong commitment to ethics and social justice. They work to create a fair and just workplace, and they strive to make positive contributions to society.
While servant leadership is often associated with Christian values, it is not limited to any religion or belief system. Instead, it is based on the assumption that we are all called to serve others.
Why is Servant Leadership Important?
There are a few reasons why servant leadership is vital for fully remote companies. First, as mentioned before, it’s challenging to keep everyone on the same page when they’re all working from different locations. With servant leadership, the leader is more like a coach or facilitator, helping employees understand the company’s goals and how their work fits those goals.
Besides this, servant leadership helps create a culture of trust and respect. In a traditional top-down leadership style, there can be a lot of tension between the leader and the employees. The leader may feel like they constantly have to micromanage their employees, and the employees may feel like they’re not being given the freedom to do their jobs. With servant leadership, the focus is on trust and respect, which can help to eliminate this tension.
Servant leadership is also crucial because it helps create a sense of community. In a traditional company, it’s easy for employees to feel like they’re just a cog in the machine. But with servant leadership, employees feel like they’re part of something bigger, which is key to scaling your business. They feel like they’re working together towards a common goal and their contributions are essential. This sense of community can be very motivating, and it can help improve employee satisfaction and retention.
Finally, servant leadership is crucial because it helps create a culture of continuous learning. In a traditional company, employees may feel stuck in their current roles and have no room for growth. But with servant leadership, the focus is on developing employees and helping them to reach their full potential. This culture of continuous learning can help attract and retain top talent, and it can also help improve the overall quality of the workforce.
What Characterizes Servant Leadership?
Now that we’ve seen the importance of servant leadership let’s look at some of the characteristics that define it.
To successfully implement this leadership style, you should be able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and understand their needs and feelings. This empathy allows you to better communicate with your employees and build trust. It also allows you to understand better the challenges your employees face and provide the support they need to overcome them.
To continuously develop your employees, you need to have a growth mindset. This means that you believe that everyone has the potential to grow and improve. By going through The Definitive Guide to Servant Leadership, you will learn that servant leaders believe that they can continually improve and learn and grow. This growth mindset allows them to be open to feedback and continuously strive to improve their leadership skills. It also allows them to create a culture of continuous learning in their organizations.
As a leader, it’s important to remember that not everyone will progress at the same rate, but everyone can reach their full potential with the right support and guidance.
Anyone who implements servant leadership is honest. They’re not afraid to show their vulnerability, and they’re open to feedback. This authenticity allows them to build trust with their employees and create a safe environment for open communication. Authenticity also enables servant leaders to be more approachable, and employees are more likely to feel comfortable coming to them with problems or suggestions.
Effective Listening and Communication
These are also essential characteristics of servant leadership. Leaders who practice servant leadership are good listeners, and they’re able to communicate effectively with their employees. They understand the importance of open communication, and they create an environment where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and concerns. Servant leaders also know how to ask the right questions, and they use active listening to understand what their employees are saying.
As a servant leader, you need to be willing to mentor your employees and help them to develop their skills. With this, you can create a culture of continuous learning in your organization, and you can help your employees to reach their full potential. Mentorship also allows you to create a stronger bond with your employees, and it can help improve employee retention.
You should be able to use this emotional intelligence to manage relationships better, resolve conflict, and build trust. Emotional intelligence is also vital for servant leaders because it helps them be more self-aware. This self-awareness allows them to understand their strengths and weaknesses better and use those strengths to improve their leadership skills.
Focus on Others
Not everything should revolve around the leader, and servant leaders understand this. They know that their employees are the ones who make things happen, and they focus on supporting and developing their employees. This focus on others allows servant leaders to create a robust team environment where everyone works together towards a common goal.
How to Successfully Implement Servant Leadership
Now that you know what servant leadership is and what some of its essential characteristics are, you may be wondering how you can successfully implement this leadership style. If you’re interested in using servant leadership in your organization, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
First, it’s important to remember that servant leadership is about putting your employees first. As a servant leader, your priority should be supporting and developing your employees. It would help if you found ways to create an environment where they can thrive and provide them with the resources they need to be successful. It also means being available to answer their questions and address their concerns. It allows you to develop a strong relationship with your employees and create a culture of trust.
To succeed as a servant leader, you need to ensure that you’re constantly growing and learning. As a servant leader, you need to have a growth mindset. You should be open to feedback and willing to learn new things. This will help you continuously improve your leadership skills and create a culture of continuous learning in your organization. It is also an essential part of being a good mentor.
If you are looking for ways to scale your business as a servant leader, you need to master the skill of listening and communicating effectively. This means being a good listener and communicating openly with your employees. It’s also important to ask the right questions and understand what your employees are saying. Active listening is key to effective communication. It allows you to understand what your employees are saying, showing them that you care about what they’re saying.
Finally, remember that servant leadership is all about others. The focus should be on supporting and developing your employees. You should develop a robust team environment where everyone works together towards a common goal. When you focus on others, you create a culture of trust and respect. This, in turn, leads to better employee retention and higher levels of engagement.
What Are the Key Differences Between Traditional and Servant Leadership Models?
While there are many similarities between traditional and servant leadership models, there are also some key differences. Traditional leadership models tend to be hierarchical, with the leader at the top and the employees below. In contrast, servant leadership models are more egalitarian, with the leader and employees working together as a team.
Another key difference is that traditional leaders tend to be more task-oriented, while servant leaders are more people-oriented. Traditional leaders focus on accomplishing tasks and achieving results, while servant leaders focus on supporting and developing their employees.
Finally, traditional leadership models tend to be more autocratic, while servant leadership models are more democratic. Traditional leaders make decisions without consulting their employees, while servant leaders involve their employees in decision-making.
While there are some critical differences between traditional and servant leadership models, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive. Many leaders use elements of both systems in their leadership style. The most effective leaders can adapt their leadership style to the needs of their employees and the situation.
What Are the Benefits of Servant Leadership?
There are many benefits of servant leadership, both for the leader and the organization. Servant leaders are more likely to create a culture of trust and respect, leading to better employee retention and higher levels of engagement. They also tend to be more effective communicators and better listeners. As a result, they can create a robust team environment.
Servant leadership can also positively impact an organization’s bottom line. Studies have shown that companies with servant leaders tend to outperform their competitors. They’re also more likely to have a higher quality of products and services.
Additionally, servant leadership has been shown to improve employee satisfaction and morale. Employees who work for servant leaders are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs and have a higher sense of job satisfaction. They’re also more likely to feel a strong sense of commitment to their organization and its goals.
Overall, the benefits of servant leadership are numerous. When practiced effectively, it can lead to a more engaged and satisfied workforce, higher levels of performance, and a stronger bottom line.
What Are the Challenges of Servant Leadership?
While there are many benefits of servant leadership, there are also some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that it can be challenging to implement in organizations used to traditional hierarchical models. Servant leadership requires a shift in thinking for both leaders and employees, and it can be difficult to change long-standing organizational culture.
Another challenge is that servant leadership can be time-consuming. Because servant leaders focus on supporting and developing their employees, they may spend less time on task-oriented activities. This can make it challenging to meet deadlines and achieve results on time.
Finally, servant leaders may find it difficult to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Because they want to be involved in every aspect of their employees’ development, they may feel like they need to do everything themselves. This can lead to burnout and frustration.
Overall, servant leadership is a rewarding but challenging leadership style. When practiced effectively, it can lead to a more engaged and satisfied workforce, higher levels of performance, and a more robust bottom line. However, it can be challenging to implement in organizations used to traditional hierarchical models. Servant leaders may also find it difficult to delegate tasks and responsibilities.