5 Ways Servant Leadership Improves Employee Engagement

Perhaps visions of a powerful person making the rules, enforcing company policies, and always having the final say come to mind when picturing a manager. Autocratic leadership, also known as authoritarian leadership is a type of leadership style that rarely views their employees as partners. Perhaps you’ve worked within an organization with this type of leadership. Servant leadership takes those ingrained ideas of management and creates a new path and style for leading others.

If an organization lacks engagement, motivation or skills to reach their fullest potential, the leadership quality within the organization should be examined. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for engaging and motivating each member of a team, however; growing evidence suggests focusing on servant leadership, for all levels of the organization make a positive mark on employee engagement.

Understanding Servant Leadership and Employee Engagement

Before fully grasping how servant leadership impacts levels of employee engagement within a company, you must understand how these two things are separate from one another. The idea of servant leadership measures the quality of a good leader based on employees putting the needs of others above their own. Servant leaders look at the needs and work diligently to ensure those needs are met. Leaders who put the philosophies of servant leadership into action choose to serve first and lead second.

Employee engagement is often an idea that becomes confused with employee motivation and happiness. These are all different things. Team members may be happy at the moment or possess current motivation to complete their jobs or tasks, but things like happiness and motivation are fleeting. Employees are engaged when they harbor an emotional connection and commitment to the goals of the company. Engaged team members believe the organization’s goals are important and they feel compelled and find satisfaction in carrying out their own responsibilities to ensure these goals are met. Simply put, they care about both the company and the work they perform.

If a company wishes to bolster its own employee engagement, looking to servant leadership could be the key to making positive change. Servant leaders display a number of identifying characteristics. Read on to explore how five of these leadership skills are connected to employee engagement levels.

The Value of Listening

Servant leaders display a deep interest in understanding the needs of employees. Employees learn more about those needs through listening intently. Servant leaders value the ideas and opinions of others, and when they take the time to truly listen, employees feel their needs and suggestions matter, thereby bolstering engagement in the workplace.

Displaying a Caring Nature

Servant leaders tend to show team members empathy, display concern and offer kindness. These actions help employees feel valued and create a sense of belonging. When team members feel the leaders in their workplace care about them as individuals and aren’t simply concerned about the company’s bottom line, a sense of belonging and acceptance blossoms. This paves the way for increased engagement as employees model this behavior.

Recognizing the Value of People

Servant leaders find value in team members and in the work each of them performs. No matter the job function, all members of an organization bring some form of value. The benefits of putting others first transfer over to nearly any industry, but studies have been conducted to pinpoint the effect of servant leadership in fields known to incubate lowered employee engagement and high levels of burnout, specifically construction work and food service. These studies found a positive correlation between servant-style leadership, increased engagement and lowered levels of burnout, and it’s likely these results transfer to nearly any professional field.

Trusting the Team

If the team experiences success, the servant leader acknowledges such and recognizes achievements without taking the credit for themselves. In the event of failure, the servant leader takes the opportunity to help team members reflect and grow from the experience. This sense of trust leaves teams feeling competent and empowered.

Showing Humility

Servant leaders don’t need to take the credit for a team effort. Instead, they are humble and open to learning from others. They provide quality leadership development for employees so that each team member receives the support and coaching needed for growth and promotion. When team members at all levels feel they have the potential to grow within the company, employee engagement blooms as well.

When looking for solutions to manage customer experience, choose a reliable partner that values servant leadership. Etech understands that placing value on team members equates to both an engaged team and satisfied, happy customers. Contact Etech to discover the services to help you retain customers and grow your business.

Veronica Chimney

Veronica Chimney

Dr. Veronica Chimney is Etech's Chief HR Officer and a 20-year veteran of the contact center/BPO industry. She leads a global HR team in reinforcing a strong company culture. She is responsible for global labor relations, employee engagement, leadership development programs, benefits, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility, and human resource strategies that support the achievement of Etech's business goals and objectives.

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