Developing Servant Leaders: Is it Even Possible?

The concept of a servant leader may seem like an oxymoron. How can one be both a leader and a servant to the same people? It’s actually quite possible—even advisable!leadership
Servant leaders serve those they lead by making sure that others’ top needs are being served. In a way, the leader becomes a facilitator more than a director—providing staff members with the tools they need to effectively perform their tasks as well as making them feel supported and valued.
In an article for SmartBrief by Ken Blanchard, Blanchard—coauthor of the book Servant Leadership in Action, and a widely known business consultant—argues that servant leadership is not only beneficial, but it is essential for organizations.
In fact, he considers servant leadership to be the only way to lead effectively, to build great relationships, and to generate exceptional results. “When you treat your people well—catch them doing things right, praise them when they are doing well, and redirect them when they get off track; when you empower them to bring their brains to work and make decisions—they will treat your customers well.”
Blanchard, of course, is the author of the business classic, The One Minute Manager, which also exhorts leaders to catch their employees doing something right!
Blanchard’s article looks at several examples of, and perspectives on, servant leadership in areas like athletics and big business. The theme is the same: When you do good things for people, you’ll get good things in return. Effective servant leadership helps create a culture of giving and support that will hopefully be felt by your customers and employees alike.
Effective leadership is about more than “being the boss.” It’s about providing a nurturing, supportive environment for your staff so they not only have the tools they need to succeed, but have the desire, drive, and ambition to return the positive support you’ve provided to the organization. That’s servant leadership.