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'Servant Leadership' and How Its 6 Main Principles Can Boost the Success of Your Startup

The concept of servant leadership

The actual term for a leader who upends the power pyramid to put others' needs first was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in his influential 1970 essay "The Servant As Leader" in 1970.

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'Servant Leadership' and How Its 6 Main Principles Can Boost the Success of Your Startup

'Servant Leadership' and How Its 6 Main Principles Can Boost the Success of Your Startup

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/307923

entrepreneur.com

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Key Ideas

The concept of servant leadership

The actual term for a leader who upends the power pyramid to put others' needs first was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in his influential 1970 essay "The Servant As Leader" in 1970.

The 6 main principles of servant leadership

  1. Empathy. Give trusted co-workers the benefit of the doubt by assuming the good in them. It goes a long way toward instilling loyalty and trust in you from your team.
  2. Awareness. Care deeply about the welfare of the team members. Don't view them only as cogs in a machine.
  3. Building community. Build community where both employees and customers can thrive.
  4. Persuasion. Rely on persuasion rather than coercion to create internal motivation required to complete the task effectively.
  5. Conceptualization. Servant-leading entrepreneurs focus on the big picture and don't get overly distracted by daily operations and short-term goals.
  6. Growth. Care passionately about the personal and professional growth of each member of the team.

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Servant leadership

Is a leadership philosophy that is built on the belief that the most effective leaders strive to serve others, rather than accrue power or take control. 

Servant leadership vs. other leadership styles

The authoritarian leadership style:

  • The authoritarian style of leadership requires leaders to have total decision-making power and absolute control over their subordinates. Servant leadership upends the top-down power structure.

Similar leadership styles:

  • Ethical leadership urges leaders to show respect for the values and dignity of their subordinates. Servant leadership's emphasis on taking responsibility for the needs and desires of others.
  • Participative leadership style requires leaders to involve subordinates in setting goals, building teams and solving problems but keep the final decision-making in their own hands. Servant leadership includes some of these elements.
Attributes of a servant leader
  • Listening. A servant leader seeks to identify the will of a group and helps to clarify that will.
  • Empathy. A servant leader assumes the good intentions of co-workers and does not reject them as people.
  • Healing. Understand part of their leadership responsibility is to help make whole employees whose sense of self is precarious.
  • Awareness.
  • Persuasion. Servant leaders rely on persuasion not positional authority or coercion, to convince others.
  • Conceptualization. Balancing between thinking big and managing everyday reality.
  • Foresight. The ability to understand the past and see the present clearly to predict how the future will unfold.
  • Stewardship. CEOs, staffs and trustees all have a responsibility to hold the institution "in trust" for the greater good of society.
  • Commitment to the growth of people. Feel a responsibility to nurture the growth of employees.
  • Building community. Find ways to build community in their institutions.
Servant Leader

A servant leader is someone who serves others first, before anything else. 

Traditional leadership tends to be about systems and structures that make...
Servant leader traits
  • Isn’t concerned about acquiring or holding onto power.
  • Isn’t focused on maintaining a certain reputation above all else.
  • Isn’t obsessed with staying ahead of everyone else on the ladder.
  • Doesn’t fear employees gaining skills and knowledge beyond their own.
  • Doesn’t use domination or fear to control people
  • Doesn’t think in terms of controlling people at all, really.
  • Places high value on the community.
  • Is committed to the growth and improvement of those being led.
How to become a Servant Leader
  1. Be a good listener. Try to determine what the desire of the group or individuals are. 
  2. Practice empathy. Empathy allows you to get past surface issues and to discover what is going on.
  3. Embrace concepts of healing. The servant leader recognizes the brokenness of people and looks for ways to make broken people well.
  4. Be aware of the obvious and the subtle, both in your own life and in other’s lives.
  5. Be persuasive. Use the power of persuasion to help people choose the right path as needed instead of demanding the path.
  6. Be able to conceptualize. Servant leaders are big-picture thinkers, thinking of what their team needs to do to accomplish everything, not just the one thing in front of them.
  7. Be a good steward. A steward is someone who holds onto something and keeps it in good condition for others who need it down the road.
  8. Love the community.

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Steve Job's effectiveness boiled down to this:

He inspired team members first so that they were driven to live up to his exacting standards when the situation called for it.

Get this equation backwards and you will wonder why&...

The formula for being an inspirational driver
  • Know your "noble cause." Jobs understood that if teams don’t find their work meaningful, they perceive challenging directives from a leader as arbitrary demands rather than a call to sacrifice for a higher purpose.
  • Tell your story early and often. If you can’t weave your ideas into a clear, compelling story, those ideas remain abstract words likely to be forgotten.
  • Push, but within boundaries. Make sure you have a clear end point and time line in mind before you go into "push" mode. Intense work with no clear end in sight is demoralizing.