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Leading with purpose: the impact of servant leadership on business performance

Updated: Jun 10, 2023


Leading with purpose: the impact of servant leadership on business performance
Leading with purpose: the impact of servant leadership on business performance

Servant leadership is a management approach that emphasizes putting the needs of others first, supporting their personal and professional growth, and empowering them to achieve their goals. This approach to leadership has gained popularity in recent years as more businesses recognize its positive impact on employee engagement, productivity, and overall business performance. In this blog, we will explore the concept of servant leadership and its impact on business performance, supported by research and data.

What is Servant Leadership?

The concept of servant leadership was first introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970, who described it as a philosophy where leaders prioritize the needs of others, including employees, customers, and communities. Servant leaders are committed to serving others, not just themselves, and they work to create an environment where everyone can thrive.

Servant leadership involves a variety of practices, including:

  1. Empathy: Understanding and caring for other's needs and perspectives.

  2. Listening: Being attentive and open-minded when others speak.

  3. Healing: Addressing the emotional and spiritual well-being of others.

  4. Awareness: Being aware of one's own strengths and limitations and acknowledging others' contributions.

  5. Persuasion: Convincing others to follow through inspiration rather than coercion.

  6. Conceptualization: Thinking beyond day-to-day operations to create a long-term vision.

  7. Foresight: Anticipating potential problems and developing solutions to overcome them.

  8. Stewardship: Taking responsibility for the welfare of the organization and its employees.

  9. Commitment to the growth of people: Helping others to grow and achieve their full potential.

Impact of Servant Leadership on Business Performance

Research has shown that servant leadership can positively impact business performance. In a study by the University of Illinois at Chicago, researchers found that servant leadership was positively related to job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and employee engagement. Additionally, the study found that servant leadership was negatively related to employee turnover, suggesting that employees are more likely to stay with companies that prioritize their needs. Another study published in the Journal of Business Ethics found that servant leadership was positively related to employee creativity, job satisfaction, and organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). OCB refers to actions that employees take that go beyond their job requirements and benefit the organization, such as helping others, volunteering for extra work, and suggesting improvements.


In addition to these benefits, servant leadership can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. A study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found that servant leadership was positively related to customer satisfaction and loyalty in the hospitality industry. The study found that hotels with servant leaders had higher customer satisfaction and loyalty levels than hotels without servant leaders.

Conclusion

Servant leadership is a management approach that emphasizes putting the needs of others first, supporting their personal and professional growth, and empowering them to achieve their goals. This approach to leadership has been shown to positively impact employee engagement, productivity, customer satisfaction, and overall business performance. By prioritizing the needs of employees and creating a positive work environment, servant leaders can help their organizations thrive and achieve long-term success.

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