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What is Servant Leadership and How Can it Impact Your Team?

Tuesday February 19th, 2019

Estimated time to read: 2 minutes, 15 seconds

It's likely you've heard of other types of leadership – authoritarian, democratic, transformational – and while they are all quite different, they do have one thing in common. They all have a massive impact on company culture. Determining the style of leader that you would like to be goes a long way to building a culture that can be either positive or negative, supportive or oppressive, tense or relaxed. You set the tone. You establish the company standard by choosing how you will interact with your employees and what level of impact they will be granted in making important decisions.

Servant leadership is another style of leadership that doesn't often get as much attention. We're used to hearing about both ends of the spectrum, from dictatorship to total democracy, but servant leadership is often left out of the discussion and typically falls somewhere in between the two. So, what is servant leadership?

Servant leadership is completely based on a strong desire to serve others. A servant leader will think more about the following:

  • What do my employees need in order to thrive?
  • Are my employees' needs being met by me? By this company?
  • How can I best serve my employees?

Instead of prioritizing numbers, quotas, deadlines, bottom lines above people, a servant leader flips the script on what is often considered traditional leadership. A servant leader understands that serving his or her team leads to success in other ways and produces the desired results for the company's bottom line without the need for a power struggle. Now, this is not to say that servant leaders relinquish control to their employees, but rather value their employees' opinions and needs, often allowing them to become part of the important decisions made within the company. It recognizes that the satisfaction of each employee contributes to the overall goals of success for the company.

So, how does this impact your team?

Set the Standard

A servant leader sets the standard for the entire company and leads by example. By demonstrating a desire to serve instead of a need to control, you encourage your employees to do the same for each other. Reward those who show a desire to serve not only your customers but also their fellow coworkers. It will drastically impact the atmosphere in which you work, as everyone operates thoughtfully, considerately and cohesively to accomplish any goal.

Build Relationships

An important part of developing your role as a servant leader is building relationships with your employees on a more personal level. Take the time to get to know them – ask about their families or hobbies. Engaging in casual conversation allows your employees to feel at ease with you and develop a mutual respect that fosters loyalty.

The relationships you build as a servant leader will be built not on entitled respect but on earned respect. That kind of bond helps nurture a more positive company culture, leading to a boost in productivity as well as higher employee retention rates.

Boost Your Customer Service

So, what is the result of building great relationships and encouraging your employees to be service-minded? Ultimately, you'll likely find yourself working in a much more positive environment with employees who are happy to come to work every day because they feel valued and respected. And that bodes well for customer services. Positivity is contagious, and you will surely see a boost in the customer response to your satisfied employees.

While every leader is different and has different priorities, it's worth noting the positive influences of a service-based leadership style. Consider the benefits of addressing the needs of your employees and really taking the time to get to know them. You won't be disappointed with the results.

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