- Servant leadership is a timeless concept—especially relevant for quality organizations because of its relationship with continuous improvement.
- Organizations benefit from servant leadership because it creates more effective and innovative teams and greater profitability.
- It can be practiced by anyone, regardless of his or her location in the organizational hierarchy.
Characteristics of Servant Leadership include:
- Service first: Service to others is the prime motivator of the servant leader, and leadership becomes the way of providing that service.
- Community building: Servant leaders define their stakeholders broadly, focus on the common good and seek to build a trusting community.
- Persuasion not coercion: Servant leaders do not dictate or autocratically exercise power. Rather, they persuade others to agree and to act.
- Followers willingly follow: Followers of servant leaders choose to follow, voluntarily, because they trust the servant leader and own a shared purpose.
- Journey: Servant leadership is a journey—a process of continuous improvement and growth.
- Asking questions: A servant leader values the wisdom of others and therefore addresses any issue by asking questions.
- Listening: Servant leaders are experts in listening. Iarocci and Monroe said servant leaders automatically respond to any problem by listening first.
- Withdrawing and reorienting: Servant leaders are self-reflective and practice the art of withdrawing and reorienting to improve their perspective on the self and the work at hand.
- Exercising foresight: Servant leaders practice foresight by keeping up with current events, scanning the horizon for signals of change, listening actively and looking outside the boundaries of their own organizations.
- Growing others: Servant leaders relentlessly pursue the growth and development of others and create more servant leaders, not more followers.
Servant leadership was shown to positively influence the relationship between goal clarity and team potency. Servant leaders gain team member trust and build long term relationships by showing genuine concern for all team members. And because it is the leader’s team, follower trust in leadership acts to elevate team members’ trust in the capabilities of their team to be effective. Servant leaders, who are fair, and honest with team members, promote open and problem-driven communication within the team, resulting in enhanced team member confidence in their team’s capabilities to be effective even in the face of uncertainty and obstacles. Servant leaders cultivate personal integrity among team members to create a spiritual climate within the team, which elicits team members to cooperate with and care about each other and enables them to be optimistic about their team’s capabilities to be effective.
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