"One of these fundamental, timeless principles is the idea of Servant Leadership, and I am convinced that it will continue to dramatically increase in its relevance…. You’ve got to produce more for less, and with greater speed than you’ve ever done before. The only way you can do that in a sustained way is through the empowerment of people. And the only way you get empowerment is through high-trust cultures and through the empowerment philosophy that turns bosses into servants and coaches…". Elements of Servant Leadership that can be Instrumental in Career Success.
The encouraging words of Covey would influence anyone to delve deep into the concept of servant leadership, and to satiate that quest, one can find the starting point in the book of Larry Spears (1995), CEO of the Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, which highlights the 10 essential elements of the servant-leadership:
- Listening: For servant leaders, this skill is needed to identify the inner voice of the speaker, therefore, they need to develop an intent listening habit.
- Empathy: The servant-leaders should strive to understand and empathize with others. Recognizing the value of each person and accommodating each personal voice as a matter of concern automatically help others to open up.
- Healing: As the healing of relationships is a powerful force for transformation and integration, servant leaders should learn the art and science of it. "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between servant-leader and led, is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something they share," says Greenleaf (1977).
- Awareness: Servant leaders should posses all-round awareness with special emphasis on self-awareness, as Greenleaf explains: "Awareness is not a giver of solace – it is just the opposite. It is a disturber and an awakener. Able leaders are usually sharply awake and reasonably disturbed. They are not seekers after solace. They have their own inner serenity. "
- Persuasion: Instead of issuing orders from ivory towers, servant-leaders should possess the mentality of standing by the side of their followers to build the consensus regarding any decision rather than imposing it on them.
- Conceptualization: Servant leaders should be able to distinguish the tree from the forest and vice versa, with an aim to imagine the future and determine the on-hand challenges.
- Foresight: This is a reminder about the significance of the first quality of conceptualization - i. e. , imagining the future by conjuring the past and present experiences. This calls for intuition too, which the servant-leaders develop through the habit of deep thinking from a selfless, holistic perspective.
- Stewardship: According to Peter Block (1996), the author of Stewardship and The Empowered Manager, stewardship is like "holding something in trust for another. " Servant-leadership, like stewardship, assumes first and foremost a commitment to serving the needs of others.
- Commitment to the growth of people: Servant-leaders should be committed to the growth of each and every individual under their leadership. This requires a wholehearted sense of responsibility to go any extent to nurture the personal and professional growth of the followers.
- Building community: As Greenleaf (1998) would put it, "all that is needed to rebuild community as a viable life form for large numbers of people is for enough servant-leaders to show the way, not by mass movements, but by each servant-leader demonstrating his or her unlimited liability for a quite specific community-related group," the servant leaders should focus on this issue as well.
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From the perspective of success in career or achieving high level of communication skill, this style of leadership looks like most effective out of the lot. This idea too is substantiated by the researchers, who present their findings on the impact of servant leadership on the young professionals. Harry Joiner (2007), an engaged marketing recruiter, observes, "Servant-leadership seems to be all the rage these days", though he laments, "every company wants servant leaders, but few seem to know much about servant leadership," and adds, "if they really knew anything about humility. "
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