Can a servant leader be successful in an organizational environment?
A servant leader can be success in an organizational environment. Many well known and established companies have utilized this style of leadership. There are world-class organizations that have been identified as utilizing the principles and concepts outlined in the servant leadership philosophy. Companies such as Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Steak-n-Shake, and TD Industries have modeled their management practices around the servant leadership concepts and are considered as top places to work in America. Chick-fil-A also attested that its success is largely due to the manifestation of principles and characteristics of servant leadership practices. With these types of companies as examples, researchers have a basis for contending that servant leadership philosophy is gaining much validation.
Each of these company have been able to overcome the perceived barriers of servant leadership. Perceived organizational barriers that prevent the servant leadership practices are the organization's culture, the fear of change, and the lack of knowledge regarding the servant leadership philosophy. However, if a leader who desires to practice servant leaders in his or her organization can overcome these perceived barriers, he or she can make a great impact on the individuals and the organization. The practice of servant leadership profoundly affects the nature of an organization. Research has shown that something as simple as openly communicating with others allows for the creation of trust, the exchange of information, and increased loyalty between leaders and organizational members. Additional benefits to adopting the philosophy of servant leadership include improvement in the decision-making process, increase in productivity, improvement in morale, and reduction in employee turnover. It is surprising that more organizations have not seen the need to provide better support for their leaders to practice the servant leadership philosophy.
People need someone in their corner, someone to encourage and cheer them on while they are achieving goals set out by the company. A servant leader is the someone that people need. Leaders need to support and help individuals in the organization to win. The days of the manager being judge, jury and critic rather than cheerleader, facilitator and listener are over. The concept of servant leadership is a wonderful way of symbolizing what the manager of today - and of the future - is going to have to be successful. Servant leaders take a great interest in the people they lead. Literature suggests that the servant leader is distinguishable through the care that is taken to ensure that other people's highest priority needs are being served. For example, instead of followers serving the needs of the leader, the leader ensures that the needs of the subordinates are met. Through training and skill building, empowered followers are developed and encouraged to creatively solve problems. The goal of the servant leader is to strengthen others and to encourage a collective approach to fulfilling organizational objectives. So having said that, let's serve!