Servant leadership is an effective means to motivate, influence and transform. The servant leader's emphasis on other's well-being bolsters success rates for not only imparting organizational change, but making lasting changes to employee growth both professionally and personally. So why does the concept of servant leadership befuddle many?
It provokes a stigma that to 'serve' is a lowly duty best reserved for fast food outlets and retail employees, which is untrue.
"To lead people, walk behind them." Lao Tzu
The decision to serve a person below you in the chain of command has the capacity to transform not only the one being served, but the entire organization.
Change, especially culture change, does not occur immediately, but it's astonishing how an entire organization begins to shift when the ones at the top of the pyramid start serving others. While the idea of serving by leading has ancient roots, Robert Greenleaf launched the modern servant leadership movement in 1970. A seasoned executive, he worked at AT&T for nearly four decades when it was one of the biggest businesses in the world. Greenleaf "gets" business, and he "gets" leadership.
"Service is the rent that you pay for room on this earth." S Chisholm
He noticed leaders with a self-serving interest [fame, money, power] and he also noticed leaders who's top priority was to help peers and serve customers. His research found those who were in it for others were the most effective.
And so the servant leader concept was born.
One of the most prevalent models for leading change are John Kotter's 8 Steps. To mark its 20th anniversary, an enhanced 8-step model for accelerating change today's fast-paced world was launched. Kotter’s steps, combined with the servant leadership style, is a near-guaranteed approach to inspire the workforce to embrace change, which we know is happening faster, and is more complex and far-reaching than ever.
Improving your organizational culture helps colleagues increase their productivity and morale, which in turn enables the organization to better serve its customers.
To continuously evolve, stay ahead of shifting trends and defend against competitor tactics, you need to keep investing in your culture. It is this unwavering dedication to organizational health that enables businesses to respond, adapt and change with minimal disruption.
As a servant leader, you can change the world. Not the entire world, but the patch where you live, work, and interact with others. Choose the type of leader you want to be. Make the limited time we have on this Earth better through your character and your leadership.
Are you ready to lead your team to culture change?