Servant leadership – Advantages and Disadvantages
First of all one must define Servant Leadership and there are many different definitions out there but basically servant leadership is this: Leadership that serves the people that they are leading- sharing the power with no drive for authority over others or will to acquire material possessions through leadership.
So what are the great advantages of Servant Leadership?
We will start with:
Diversity- Today’s norm of work force employees varies a great deal and contains a great deal of diverse groups of individuals. This alone can cause some opposing points of view and dissention among the masses. The servant Leader builds or attempts to build relationships with each and every individual. This relationship allows the servant leader to learn both strengths and weakness of the individuals. With this knowledge the leader is allowed to develop a personalized management style for each individual. With this knowledge the servant leader can build teams or groups that can strengthen and overcome any type of inadequacies that a diverse group may possess.
Loyalty – once a relationship is built with team members, staff or employees and they trust that their leader has their best interest at heart a very strong sense of loyalty from the employee to the Leader and the company is then created. One of the most talked about and discussed examples of loyalty created from servant leadership style today are the Bible. Look at the following of Christianity today, because Jesus served, millions are loyal followers.
Involvement – in servant leadership all opinions and input from every employee is taken into consideration and discussed during decision making. The great advantage of this is a company may devise a variety of solutions to a single issue. This then creates a feeling of ownership and responsibility by the employees and creates a great drive for the solution to succeed. No one wants to put an idea into action and see its failure. When employees have the input to the solution they are more likely to embrace the change, see it through to completion and do whatever it takes to make it happen successfully.
Productivity- Because the servant leader is willing to serve and build relationships with a diverse group of individuals learning both their strengths and weaknesses teams can be built which can enhance strengths and overcome limitations or weaknesses. Because the servant leader is willing to invest in those relationships the individuals are willing to go the extra mile for the leader and the company. This leads to less employee turnover, less sick time, less “non sense” workers comp claims and time off. Creating willing and happy employees by building those relationships naturally increases productivity of each individual. We all know the unhappy worker is not a very productive worker and tries to bring down his fellow team mates. With servant leadership the masses naturally try to build up the unhappy person and not follow the “downer” of the day. When employees are satisfied and growing individually and they know they have a relationship within the company and have importance in the work place – productivity naturally raises.
Disadvantages of servant leadership are very few. The biggest obstacle to overcome in servant leadership is that it takes time. It also has to begin with the leader himself; this is a journey of self discovery.
If a company starts new and opens its doors with a servant leadership style and believes in the servant leadership philosophy it becomes much easier to build the servant leadership style into its management team.
However if a company is trying to change from autocratic or dictatorship styles of leadership the change must come from the very top and go down through the entire management team- all of management must make this paradigm shift. If there are team members of management unwilling to adopt the philosophy it does not take long to find which ones are the “bad apples”. For if the whole management team is not on board the task of changing your company to a servant leadership style will be futile. However even the “Bad Apples” can change because that is what servant leadership is about helping people grow to be the best that they can be.