Servant leaders have a profound impact on the value of their companies. By adopting a servant leadership mentality and making a few key changes, you can transform your organization and create a better workplace.
At Four Pillars Investors, we use four key values to help guide the decisions we make in both our personal and professional lives. We believe relationships are the cornerstone of success, the status quo should be challenged, servant leadership builds better companies and teams, and persistence is key to achievement.
When we’re considering investing in a company, we talk about these four elements with company owners and management teams; it’s a useful way to see whether our core beliefs resonate with their own. Although each pillar is a part of our assessment, we’ve noticed that servant leadership has a profound impact across businesses. If you’re looking to improve your company’s culture and thus increase your company’s value, start by adopting a servant leadership mentality.
The Benefits of Servant Leadership
What is servant leadership? This approach encourages leaders to focus on ensuring the growth, development, and success of employees, which then affects overall company success. For instance, Facebook found that people were about 30% more likely to stay with the company when they enjoyed their work, played to their strengths, and continuously gained career-relevant skills and experience.
Unfortunately, experienced leaders tend to overestimate their effectiveness. This can lead to situations where employees lose job satisfaction because they don’t feel like their individual contributions are important. Some leaders also make the mistake of relying on fear tactics or coercion to try to motivate employees. This strategy can produce short-term results, but it will eventually result in employee stress, dissatisfaction, and, ultimately, turnover.
On the other hand, when employees know that their leaders are there to help break down barriers and help them develop as professionals, it creates an environment of teamwork, collaboration, and trust. Individual employees will follow by example and help others even when it’s not required of them, extending the servant leadership approach across the entire organization.
3 Steps Toward Servant Leadership Development
Sometimes, you might think a new approach is hard to implement because you don’t know where to start. Just remember that even if you only make a little progress, it’s still a step in the right direction. Here’s how you can increase business value through a servant leadership mentality:
- Let your direct reports know how you can support them and that you desire to do so.
Make sure your team members know that your job as a leader is to help them achieve their goals. That doesn’t mean you have the bandwidth to do their work for them, but it does mean that you can remove obstacles, help motivate them, pull in outside support from another division, and more. Research shows that the servant leader mentality boosts a team’s performance and overall job satisfaction while also making leaders happier and more fulfilled.
- Build trust by following through.
It’s not always easy for team members to ask for help or rely on you for support. So when they do, be true to your word and follow through on your commitments. At Four Pillars, we use the saying, “Do what you say and say what you do.” When you fulfill your promises, you cultivate a relationship based on trust that’s incredibly transformative. Research suggests that manager relationships significantly impact how satisfied employees are with their jobs — a key factor when it comes to retention.
- Ask your direct reports to try the same style of management.
After your team knows what it’s like the be assisted and supported, you can help spread the servant leadership approach throughout the organization. Encourage your direct reports to do what you’ve been doing and look out for other team members. Try asking: “What have you done recently to help develop your team or help a team member do his or her job more effectively?” As an individual, you can certainly make a significant impact, but you can have an exponentially larger influence when you promote servant leadership throughout your organization.
Servant leadership can be a major change for some leaders, but the potential benefits are worth the effort to adjust. By prioritizing clear and effective communication, stepping in to help your employees when they need it, and building trust, you send a message that you’re there for employees. As a result, they’ll be happier, more productive, and more likely to stick with the company. In turn, this helps increase business value.
Written by Nick McLean.
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