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How Executive Leaders Increase Effectiveness with Servant Leadership

Written by Terri Wallin

There are exhaustive resources on leadership styles and, with little agreement on what style is best, there is an executive leadership style that makes a difference in employee satisfaction – servant leadership.

Servant_Leadership_Empower_TransformTo transform your organization with high performing employees that guide you to favorable financial and operational results, consider embracing and consistently modeling the characteristics of servant leadership.

The main guru on servant leadership is Robert K. Greenleaf, who in 1970 coined the term. After working at AT&T, he spent a large part of his career studying and training on management related topics.  Larry C Spears, President and CEO of The Robert K. Greenleaf Center of Servant Leadership, extracted 10 key characteristics of a servant leader from Greenleaf’s work.

The 10 characteristics of servant leadership are:

  1. listening
  2. empathy
  3. awareness
  4. healing
  5. building community
  6. persuasion
  7. stewardship
  8. foresight
  9. conceptualization
  10. commitment to the growth of people

A transformational leader exhibits these characteristics and assumes a servant leadership style. This servant leadership style is powerful and effective in getting results.

I’ve led as a servant leader for most of my career and can personally attest to the effectiveness of servant leaderships in transforming culture and teams. A servant leader paints a vision that people are excited to make happen. They work to help you achieve the vision and actually do it enthusiastically.

An executive servant leader empowers others to make things happen. Executive leaders who embrace the servant leadership style are not threatened by sharing power with employees. As long as the executive is clear on decision-making authority, employees feel empowered to move forward within the boundaries given by the executive. Employee(s) are able to make a decision within boundaries and, if decision-making is clear, great informal leaders rise to the occasion and change and grow before your eyes.

When decision-making is clear, and employees are able to make decisions within boundaries, great informal leaders rise to the occasion and change and grow before your eyes. Informal leaders influence their peers in a positive way where you soon have the entire team going in the same direction.  Teams accomplish goals never thought possible. Employee satisfaction increases.

Servant leadership is one of many styles of leadership, but personally I feel it is one of the most effective if you have lofty goals requiring a transformation of culture or operational processes.  With today’s economy and an ever-changing market place, there is no shortage of transformation needed in an organization

What are you doing differently in your executive leadership style to help your teams accomplish great things? Try servant leadership and watch your team grow in confidence and achieve the impossible.

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