Tis better to Serve than Be Served

Are you at work to get a paycheck, get recognized, get flexibility, and get out of there... or are you there to motivate and inspire those around you to give their best?

If we look to Fortune's 100 Top Companies to Work For, we find these companies are doing more than offering a paycheck. Many of them achieve this status because they think about how to serve, motivate, respect, and inspire the people they work with. They are using servant leadership.

The Servant Leadership mindset comes from Robert K. Greenleaf, who first wrote about it back in 1970 (yes it's taken almost 50 years for this concept to take root in our American companies.) It basically turns what we think of traditional leadership - where the leader makes all decisions and is fully responsible for them - on its head. Here's what Prof. Dirk Van Dierendonck from Erasmus University of Rotterdam, Netherlands, says about Servant Leadership:

"The servant leader should feel a responsibility towards employees as individuals and must have a sense of stewardship for them and the organisation as a whole. Companies adopting servant leadership within their organisational culture give a lot of attention to developing environments and support structures that foster high levels of employee satisfaction.

In addition, the servant leader works toward building a learning organisation where individuals are encouraged to grow and be of unique value.

There is yet to be consensus in defining or providing a framework for servant leadership, and this is something I have sought to address. Through my research six key characteristics have been identified that when combined, provide a strong indication of how a servant leader should function. In short, servant leadership is demonstrated through empowerment and the development of people; by expressing humility, authenticity, interpersonal acceptance, and stewardship; and by providing direction."

So why, as a job seeker, should you care about Servant Leadership? If you want to work for a company who cares about developing you to be the best you can be and cares to hear your opinions, then one with a culture of servant leadership would be what you're looking for. In fact, there's such dissatisfaction in our workplaces today (Gallup poll on number of disengaged workers), it's actually critical that companies consider building these elements into how they operate. If not, they could risk losing good people like you!

As a leader or manager within your company, check out Robert K. Greenleaf's book or else check out his website to learn more. Our workplaces will be more vibrant and our businesses more successful when we can all be servant leaders.

#ChooseGreatWork #WorkHappy #ServantLeadership

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