The history of servant leadership can be traced back to ancient times. The concept is rooted in the belief that leaders are servants first and foremost and that their primary purpose is to serve the people they lead. This philosophy was first espoused by Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, who said, “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”

The term “servant leadership” was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970, but the concept of servant leadership has been around for centuries. In its simplest form, it is a leadership style in which the leader puts the needs of others first and serves them. They take on many organisational roles, such as coaching, mentoring, or teaching. However, an essential characteristic of servant leaders is that they are always looking out for the best interests of their team or organisation.

While servant leadership is often associated with Christianity and other religious teachings, it is not limited to any one religion or belief system. Instead, it is a way of thinking and acting that can be practised by anyone, regardless of their personal beliefs.

Peter Drucker, one of the most widely-known and influential thinkers on management, once said, “The leader is the servant. The leader’s purpose is to create a context in which people can become fully functioning human beings.” In other words, a leader’s role is to put others’ needs before their own and help them achieve their potential.

In today’s organisations, servant leadership is more critical than ever before. With the unprecedented challenges we face as a society, it is more important than ever for leaders to put the needs of others first and serve them. Here are five reasons servant leadership is essential in today’s organisations.

Servant leaders create more engaged and productive employees.

When you put the needs of your employees first, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and productive in their roles. In addition, employees who feel valued and appreciated are more likely to go above and beyond for the organisation, which benefits everyone.

Servant leaders build trust within the organisation.

 When you demonstrate that you care about others and are willing to put their needs first, you build trust within the organisation. Trust is essential for an effective and cohesive team. When there is trust, people are more likely to take risks, be innovative, and work together for the common good.

Servant leaders create a positive workplace culture.

When you prioritise others over yourself, you create a positive workplace culture that attracts top talent and fosters a sense of community within the organisation. People want to work for an organisation that cares about its employees and is committed to making a positive difference in the world.

Servant leadership fosters creativity and innovation.

Encouraging employees to share their ideas and giving them the freedom to experiment can lead to new and innovative solutions to problems. Servant leaders create an environment where employees feel comfortable taking risks and challenging the status quo. This leadership type can help organisations stay ahead of the competition and maintain a competitive advantage.

Servant leadership promotes ethical behaviour.

When employees feel like they are working for a fair and just leader, they are more likely to behave ethically. Servant leaders set the tone for an organisation by acting ethically and expecting employees to do the same. This leadership type can help organisations avoid scandals and maintain a positive reputation.

Servant leadership is a powerful approach to leading others that can help individuals and organisations achieve great things. Leaders who put the needs of others first create more engaged and productive employees, build trust within the organisation and create a positive workplace culture. Please contact us to find out how we can help your organisation. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

Author: Mick Murphy