Servant Leadership | Definition, Advantages, and Disadvantages

A 20th-century Researcher, Robert Greenleaf, gave the term “Servant Leadership”. Today, it is well known and executed in several companies.

Servant leadership is a bit different from other leaderships. Here, the leader is placed at the bottom while the other members and the business context are at the top as the leader possesses that mindset of serving others. The leader helps the workers with all their problems.

She or he makes sure that the workers have no issues and problems with their work. She/he continuously checks on them to keep track. Also, to provide them with all the necessary tools to continue their work going on systematically and helps them to develop their skills, not just in a specific field but also anything related to it.

It is a leadership ideology in which people interact with each other to attain authority instead of power. Here, the leaders serve their workers. Therefore, this style is way too different from others as the leader focuses on uplifting their employees. Here, the leaders are serving rather than commanding their staff members to work for them.

They always look to enhance the growth of their employees. Be it their potential, development, sense of goal, or creativity. There is nothing like individual performance in servant leadership. The leaders don’t work for their benefit.

They work to develop the efficiency of their employees. While completing the task, the leader only approaches the employee when it is needed or else, no other involvement.

Ways of Becoming a Servant Leader 

Ways of Becoming a Servant Leader

Being a Servant Leader doesn’t mean you just help others and don’t get anything in return. Here, you get heaps of favors and growth in yourself. A servant leader can develop their skills in several areas. Let’s have a glance at how to do that.

Awareness, Conceptualization, Stewardship, Foresight, Listening, Empathy, Persuasion, Healing, and Commitment to serve the organization, and its people should be the qualities of being a servant leader. Below, we have discussed some of them briefly.

1. Self-awareness 

It is an ability to look at oneself and be conscious of your doings. Know your weaknesses and strengths to be self-aware. Ask people for feedback, what they need from you and then think about how you can help them.

Try to be a giver. Learn to govern your emotions. It is of utmost importance while deciding how you respond to others. Deeply examine your emotions and values and think of how they can affect others.

2. Stewardship 

Taking accountability for the performance and actions of your team and being responsible for whatever role they possess in your company. It is stewardship. You might not be a professional leader.

Still, you need to have the guts to take responsibility for whatever happens to your organization. Not only your values are important, but that of others are also crucial too. Therefore, try to be an example for others.

Instead of asking them how to work, show them. And retain the dignity to stand up for your employees.

3. Conceptualization 

Try to believe in the strategy of achieving more. Not merely expecting from the workers will make sense. Initiate it all by yourself- Dream big- Develop a plan and then, create vision and mission statements.

Also, try to remain focused. It will help you in achieving your target, which is farther. Also, it won’t let you get distracted. Therefore, this quality of conceptualization is crucial for the leader.

4. Listening 

Undoubtedly, it is a thing to be prioritized. A leader must improve her/her listening skills. Try to understand you, staff members, and better. You’ll eventually serve better by listening to others and understanding them. Attention plays a vital role in serving.

One can never help without prioritizing and giving care. Listen, observe, and comment. Comment or feedback is significant for the growth of their skills. Try to appreciate them when needed. Also, avoid interruptions.

It can make some feel awkward and unwanted. So listen and then speak.

5. Healing

Supporting your members isn’t enough. Support them mentally as well. While doing their work, make sure your people have support, knowledge, and tools to complete it. Also, a healthy workplace is decent. Try to keep them engaged and happy.

The mental well-being of a worker is crucial. Be a positive vibe for your company who helps them every time they need him/her. If any of your employees aren’t okay, talk to them, help them overcome whatever issue they’re having.

6. Foresight 

Prediction, not everyone can do that. But you as a leader should know about what’s coming next. By judging the current scenario, you can think of what’s going to be the result. It is only through experience.

And you need to expertise in that area. Since you are the leader, people expect you to suggest them. Therefore, try to foresee and understand the consequences. Also, trust yourself. Whenever you feel something is going wrong, stop it right there. Intuitions are symbols.

7. Commitment to the growth of people 

The leaders here are committed to working for the welfare of the organization. They are committed to professional and personal development. They grow them as a person and enhance their ability to think. They encourage people to reach their own goals.

Art of Servant Leadership

Comparing all the leaderships with this is entirely different. This leadership focuses more on giving instead of order. Servant leadership is talking about a leader who provides service to his/her employees whenever there is a need.

The leaders are a bunch of revolutionary individuals who serve instead of commanding. They show humility instead of authorizing the brand.

This leadership is no less than a creative art in itself.

Another leadership is dependent on the workers. In this leadership, selfish motivators have no place. One has to care for the integrity and benefit of others selflessly. Be it the organization or the employees.

The employees who are motivated and encouraged perpetually will do well. They will perform at a high and innovative rate. In this leadership, there aren’t any boundaries. One can be creative enough as much they want. The employees follow the rules and regulations and fulfill their expectations. They get purpose-driven and engaged in the work.

To be a good servant leader, one has to keep practicing. Also, training is necessary for this leadership style. Without proper training, one cannot grasp the quality of servant leadership. They have to be aware of their behavior as well. They are to be judged on their behavior.

Practice for the Aspiring Servant Leaders

Practicing is believed to be the ultimate tool to achieve this leadership. Anyone willing to be a servant leader in the future should follow some practices. And make it their behavior. This will help them create the best impression in front of their employees.

The first practice is to have a serve-first philosophy. This attitude is the only way to make servant leadership work. The first step is to be followed by anyhow. Also, a serving mindset will help the leader benefit their employees, and further, the organization is a higher level.

This attitude was mentioned by Michael Times, an expert and coach of the National Human Resource provider.

Then, try getting compatible with your employees. If a leader wouldn’t focus on maintaining that conversation with employees, it won’t work either. The leader should do the talking and discuss the issues employees are facing. It will help employees overcome their hesitation, thereby creating a genuine bond with their employees. Communication is important.

These leaders enhance the strength and development of their employees. They do not get involved when the employees don’t need him/her. Only when they face any problem and employees want them to resolve the issue.

Leaders work to give up their power and let others lead. Here, the leader isn’t leading. Instead, he makes sure the workers are leading. Leaders aren’t individual performers. They enable others to take the responsibility of completing the task.

Leaders are to take the responsibility of encouraging them and to stand behind them. When needed, they should stand for their employees whenever they need help.

Advantages of Servant Leadership 

Advantages of Servant Leadership

Understanding the pros if this leadership will be useful for deciding. If you have the morals as mentioned above or you can follow them, and then the below-mentioned advantages are awaiting you.

1. Serving customers 

Not only the leader serves their employees but their customers also. As we know here, the leader is of serving minded; he/she helps their employees. It leads to the growth of their people, also, the organization’s growth.

Which eventually makes their customers win? So this leadership of serving isn’t restricted to employees; customers are the utmost priority. As the organization is benefitted, so are customers.

2. The decision is taken to help each member

The choice is important. It decides the fate of the organization and its members of it. Therefore, decisions aren’t made single-handed. They are taken only after consulting with the other members of the company.

Also, a decision which will benefit not just the company but the members as well. It should exist in reasonable enough to help everyone.

3. The entire organizations grow in this leadership 

Servant leadership encourages people. It enables them to work along with others for their benefit. Everyone thinks differently. It is a leadership promoting diversity.

It allows everyone to give views. And the leader looks towards everyone with unbiased opinions and appreciate their diverse perspectives.

4. Encourages empathy

Empathy, it means of looking at everyone equally. They look at the circumstances from the eyes of others. It allows them to allow any such opinion which won’t benefit the organization.

Disadvantages of Servant Leadership 

Disadvantages of Servant Leadership

1. A leader’s role is reduced

Since the leader is a servant leader who doesn’t interrupt anyone’s work unless someone needs him. Every member knows that the “leader is there for them”. Still, they aren’t prioritized much.

All they do is agree or disagree with the decision made by employees. The leader has to agree with others. When the decision is self-centered and not for the benefit of the entire team, the leader can reject this decision.

2. Decision Making takes time 

Since it is a necessity that decision should benefit all rather than a few. Therefore, the leader has to peep more deeply into this to make sure that it benefits all. It is a bit of time taking. Because every perspective should be observed keenly.

It hinders the implementation of the decision. This hindrance or procrastination can harm their economy sometimes.

3. It takes too long to restrain and teach leaders to think like a servant leader 

This leadership is of a different style. Some leadership allows the leaders to be dictators; some see them and workers at a 50-50 ratio. Meanwhile, this leadership is just upside-down.

Here, everyone else is prioritized, except the leader. Also, they can be perceived as weak. Although they have some rights, yet they aren’t respected much.

Servant Leadership Wraps Up!

This leadership is a practice, and it can’t be done instantly. One needs to have those qualities of being a servant leader. It is something, the more we practice, and the more comfortable we get with it. The fundamental idea of being this leader is that you are here to serve the organization and the people of the organization.

It sounds great but being a servant leader isn’t that easy. One has to work a lot. One instead of focussing on themselves; they have to look for others. Listen to them, observe minutely, help them with resources and tools, further, and provide them with feedback.

A selfish person can never be the leader of this leadership. One has to care and work for the development of other growth selflessly. Also, the leaders can speak out their opinions, yet they will be judged. Judgment can be on their behavior or anything. So one has to be very conscious of how they behave at their workplace.

In this leadership, the role of leaders isn’t as easy as others. And, the behavior isn’t just what gets done, but how it gets done. The strategy and management of a leader are vital.

What are your thoughts about servant leadership? Do you find it effective for result-driven business management and leadership? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.