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Servant leadership: does it work?

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Many organizations that indicate Servant Leadership as one of the core company values can be found in Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work for in America (Ruschman, 2002). Robert K. Greenleaf (1970) described a Servant Leader as a leader who wants to serve first and foremost. In fact, many successful organizations gain or maintain competitive advantage because of some of the effects of Servant Leadership. Greenleaf described a servant leader as a leader who overcomes self-indulgence in order to deeply serve humanity rather than more classical leadership models that describe leaders as dominating or controlling. Greenleaf proposed that Servant Leadership is a way of life in which the focus is on the good of others. Organizations that are led by people who serve others may be characterized by a culture of collaboration, creativity, and cooperation. Those are three key elements that allow companies to have competitive advantage.

Researchers have found that Servant Leaders tend to be dedicated toward the well-being and growth of the people they work and live with. Servant Leadership has been defined as an attitude toward other people. This serving attitude leads others to consider the organization’s purpose, needs, and goals as well as the people’s purpose, needs, and goals. Servant Leaders must recognize that they have an opportunity to help make whole those people and organizations with whom they come in contact. In today’s competitive world, organizations need workers who care about the purpose of the company. Servant Leadership allows for a culture in which everyone is working toward the achievement of agreed upon goals.

A Servant Leader genuinely cares about other people and their welfare. Servant Leadership is a leadership style that enhances both the human and ethical factors in organizations. This type of leadership tends to focus on empowering others and contributing value to other people that allows their talents to grow.

Recent research indicates that Servant Leadership does work. Organizations where the leader takes on a Servant Leadership style, tend to have lower turnover, higher loyalty, and happier workers. If you are ready to take your organization or your family to higher success, develop your Servant Leadership skills. The following tips can help as you work on becoming an effective Servant Leader:

  • Listen attentively
  • Have empathy
  • Persuade others
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