While leadership can take on many different meanings depending on who you ask, its definition is stated as the action of leading a group of people or an organization. While that definition may seem straightforward enough, it still leaves room for questions. How should you lead a team? Is there a right or a wrong way to lead? Is it good enough to simply lead, or do management’s choice of style and its effectiveness impact current and future business success?
Most would agree that there are positive and negative forms of leadership, but does it have an impact on the business one way or the other if a company’s style of leading is found to be lacking? The simple answer is that it most certainly does. Whether high- and mid-level managers adhere to servant leadership styles or more autocratic, individualistic ones, their methods and principles seep throughout the company and impact the thoughts, ideas, and effectiveness of employees at all levels. It’s been acknowledged that businesses that focus on the importance of developing effective and ethical leadership often also enjoy increases in positive customer experiences.
The Link Between Servant Leadership and Business Success
Managers who practice servant-style leading are often thinking of others and coming up with ideas for how they can serve and help their teams and communities grow, rather than focusing on themselves and accumulating their power and wealth. While this is an age-old way of looking at leadership, the concrete ideas and foundations for servant leadership were created in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf.
There are several traits often displayed by managers who utilize servant leadership for business success, such as:
- A heightened sense of awareness, including self-awareness
- Ability to show empathy
- Strong commitment towards professional and personal growth of employees
- Not acting as if tasks, positions or other associates are below, or less critical, than them
When these and other traits are combined, they often add up to a happier, more engaged and highly-efficient workforce.
The Idea in Practice
Recent studies, such as this one conducted by The University of Illinois at Chicago Business School, show just what kind of impact managers who take a servant-style approach towards leadership have on their teams. This particular study focused on surveys completed by employees, managers and even customers at 71 restaurants within the national chain of Jason’s Deli. The results concluded that restaurants with managers practicing servant leadership benefited from:
- Improvement in job performance of 6%
- Customer service increases by 8%
- An astounding employee retention growth of 50%
Lead Effectively to Reap the Benefits
If you’ve bought into the importance of good, effective leaders, here are some suggestions for incorporating servant leadership into your day-to-day practices.
Show That You Care
The important thing here is making it clear that you care more about your employees than you do about the company’s bottom line. Get to know your associates and always be sure to reward and recognize a job well done.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Your Hands Dirty
Don’t let your employees see you steer clear of what you may consider being “grunt work” that’s beneath you. Jump in and help when help is needed, no matter the task. Associates will most likely respect you more and see you as someone relatable, on their level and more trustworthy. It also shows that you understand and value the importance of all jobs and tasks within the company.
Know the Value of Investing in Your Team
Lift and encourage all of your employees. Help them grow their skills and don’t fear those who you believe could become a competition. A skilled and happy workforce is an effective and efficient one that is more likely to show loyalty to both their leadership and the company as a whole.
With all the myriad ways that bad leadership can easily destroy a company over time, there’s a lot on the line, and it’s imperative for businesses to get this right. Managers that care, lift their employees, work alongside their teams and encourage the growth and development of everyone make the difference between companies that flourish and those that fizzle and burn out.
When choosing a partner to assist in serving the needs of your company’s valued customers, look to a business ally with similar values and goals. Etech cultivates a culture of servant leadership that allows employees to grow and effectively do what they do best, which in turn leads to heightened customer satisfaction and improved customer experience. Contact Etech today to discover the solution that’s best suited to your business.