Satisfied employees work harder and better. This adage has been repeated over and over again in business psychology courses across the US. Yet, many companies continue to fail at the task of creating satisfied employees.
At Etech, we take this principle seriously. Through trial and error, we have determined the following is the key to creating happy employees: Servant Leadership. Etech invests significantly every year to ensure that our entire leadership team is trained and challenged on the principles of Servant leadership. As with the anything, the proof is the outcome. Our results speak for themselves!
What is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership first made its emergence as a leadership style when the term was coined in 1970 by Robert K. Greenleaf. Since then, it has grown to an internationally accepted leadership style because it creates unmatched performance results.
Servant leaders put their employees first. The revolutionary leadership style flips the traditional power hierarchy of a company upside down. Instead of a leader sitting isolated at the top, employees are placed at the top, and the leader is held responsible for serving them.
Leaders are tasked with putting employees first and considering how to uplift and empower the employees that work for them. Their role as a leader is redefined, and instead of commanding or intimidating employees, they show humility and work to develop the potential of their employees to create a higher sense of purpose.
As an employee, this may sound like a highly desirable situation, but what’s in it for the leader? CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership Pat Falotico describes it as “magic.” When you put the employee first, their performance increases exponentially.
For decades researchers in knowledge management and business psychology have been preaching that valued employees perform better. The proof is in the data. Study upon study shows that employees that are supported and valued return the favor with high rates of satisfaction and performance. Servant leadership positively impacts employees and allows them the freedom to reach their career performance goals.
How Do You Create Servant Leaders?
The process of creating serving leaders does not happen overnight. Etech began this journey in 2009 and continues. Many people who have achieved leadership roles were trained in competitive atmospheres. Creating Servant leaders is a process that requires retraining and adopting a new approach to interpersonal relations.
It is not impossible, but it does require looking within to identify how you can alter your personal qualities to become more dedicated to service in the workplace. Former president of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership, Larry C. Spears identified ten qualities of a Servant Leader. They are an excellent place to start if you want to learn how servant leadership impacts employees.
10 Qualities of a Servant Leader
Studying the ten qualities of a Servant leader helps a leader learn how to prioritize employees’ needs over their own. Short term, the focus is on serving employees better, long term, the goal is to increase satisfaction levels and performance goals.
It’s not enough to listen to what your employees are saying, you need to hear what they are telling you truly. Servant leaders are committed to giving their employees their full attention and demonstrating that they understand the importance of what they are being told. While listening, show you are considering their information by taking notes, looking at their body language, and offering immediate feedback.
To be useful as a leader or an employee, people need to be emotionally healthy and whole. Not all employees will come to you in a fully healed state. Servant leaders are aware that people may need to support mentally and physically. Have a directory of resources in place to offer people the support, resources, and knowledge they need to do their job effectively. In addition, Servant leadership requires leaders to ensure their workplace is a healthy and engaging environment for employees to prosper within.
Servant leaders understand that perspectives and viewpoints can differ widely, so they put aside their thoughts while listening to others. This allows them to be more empathic and gain a deeper understanding of their employees’ intentions.
Conceptualization is a quality that allows you always to see the bigger picture. It is easy for leaders to get caught up in the day-to-day shuffle, but it is more important to understand the long term mission and vision of your company. Etech reminds its leadership team to stay focused on our long-term objectives to make sure that our employees’ and teams’ daily work align with the vision. A long-term focus helps everyone remain motivated and avoid unnecessary distractions.
Before becoming a Servant leader, an employee needs to be able to look deeply at their behavior and emotions to see how they affect others. Many people in the modern world are only concerned with how they feel, but a servant leader is more concerned with how their behavior is affecting others.
As part of self-awareness, servant leaders readjust their behavior to be sure that it affects employees positively. This ensures that their actions and emotions remain aligned with deeper values. Developing emotional intelligence is an invaluable tool for a Servant leader.
A Servant Leader does not demand that their employees fall in line but instead encourages people to work towards a group consensus. Everyone must believe in decisions for them to become useful tools in the workplace.
A cornerstone of Servant leadership is that the organization is not a place of business, but instead a unique community. As a leader, it is your job to create a community that your employees want to be a part of. You can do this by offering plenty of interactive experiences such as social events and daily social chat before meetings are underway. Many employees will spend more time at work than they will with their family; the goal of a servant leader is to build a second work family that welcomes and comforts its members.
Commitment to Employees Growth
While a Servant leader is dedicated to serving others and enhancing their personal qualities, they are even more focused and committed to encouraging the professional and personal development of their employees. Training assessments and personal meetings are a great way to find out what personal and professional goals your employees have so that you can more effectively help them reach their goals.
No one has 20/20 vision when it comes to business. Still, you can learn to more accurately predict what will happen in the future by carefully evaluating past experiences, learning from them, and then identifying patterns that are still present in the workplace. Intuition is also a large part of foresight, learn to trust your gut, and let it lead you in your decisions.
Servant leaders understand they need to take responsibility for the performance their team displays, and the actions of individual team members. You are accountable for what happens in your workplace, whether or not you played a role in the final result. If you don’t like the way something occurs, it is up to you to readjust behaviors so that the same event does not happen in the future.
Do you like the idea of working in a team environment where you are more significant than the job? Join us at Etech, where servant leadership is not only our ideology but also the basis for all of our business decisions. Experience what true employee satisfaction feels like at Etech.