5 Reasons Why You Should Switch to the Rare Servant Leadership

By Jose Ruiz

Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.

Of all leadership styles, servant leadership is among the rarest, which is understandable due to the rare leadership qualities required. The combination of personality traits that would make up the “servant leader” cannot be found easily among available candidates or, even, the world’s population. It requires a heightened level of awareness to make it work. Some organizations even train candidates for such qualities.

First things first, what “servant leadership” is. It is a leadership style in which the leader places the importance on the followers, not on the power on top. The leader leads by serving consciously through inspiration, motivation, and exercising care for the well-being of the followers and the stakeholders, not on an accumulation of materialistic possessions. The term was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, which was published in 1970.

Now, the question is: Is servant leadership only relevant in non-profit organizations? The answer is: no. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations can benefit greatly from servant leadership. In fact, for-profit businesses can expect to increase their revenue because leaders who serve as servants make employees and customers feel good about themselves, which can improve relationships between themselves and with the organization.

Servant leadership is ideal for an organization that aims at a long-term existence, meaning it continuously generates revenue for many years to come and has a large pool of customers that makes up a huge chunk of the market share pie. Here are the five main reasons why servant leadership is key to company longevity.

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First, focus on long-term growth, not short-term gains. A servant leader ensures that every action was done and every conflict solves would serve its purposes optimally. With the best discretion that comes with less friction, a company can expect to see long-term growth, instead of short-term gains.

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Second, focus on caring and kindness, not self-serving ego. When a workplace is filled with care and kindness, less friction means increased camaraderie and trust. Both are key to getting things done quickly and with minimal error.

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Third, create a pleasant and positive environment, which is key to productivity. When employees can focus on their tasks better because they feel secure in a “utopian” company culture. They also understand that their leader is always ready to assist them whenever they hit a roadblock, instead of judging them for “lack of skill” or “lack of initiative.”

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Fourth, save much time, due to less egocentric and less confrontational office politics. Knowing that their leader is always there for them and work colleagues are on their best behavior, employees do not need to waste time thinking about office politics. Instead, they can deliver their best results with a good purpose.

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Fifth, people can grow as mature individuals without feeling pushed. Working in an environment where caring and kindness are the organization/company culture, employees can learn to prioritize based on what’s really important for others’ wellbeing. They learn to see things from others’ eyes, instead of their ego.

In conclusion, there are many advantages of exercising servant leadership in organizations. Both the people and the organization can grow meaningfully in a positive direction by serving all stakeholders with humility and awareness of positivity.

About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.