Servant Leadership Style in Starbucks


Just as many leaders have the experience of overcoming crises, Howard Schulz, who has grown Starbucks into a global company, is another leader who has survived numerous crises. In 1987, Starbucks, which was just a coffee shop in the town of Seattle, grew rapidly with the help of Schulz, and in 2000 it transformed into a global company with global reach. With the expansion of stores from America to Asia and Europe, the momentum seemed unstoppable. Schultz says, ‘The highest priority for Starbucks is to value our employees.’ This was the philosophy that Schulz has cherished since its founding. The practice of this philosophy can be said to be a factor in the success of Starbucks.Q.1 “Starbucks is forward looking in this respect and strives to attract future business leaders and managers. The idea of planning for one’s own succession can often make people uneasy, but this idea is openly embraced at Starbucks”. Throw some light on the relevance of this statement and explain 5 important roles of a leader?

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The succession plan is not only limited for the smooth transition of managers’ generations and the stabilization of corporate management, but it is also essential for sustainable corporate growth. It is meaningful to change generations only by improving business performance and further developing the company. The person who has succeeded to the position through the succession plan will correctly understand the management vision that the founder has continued to draw, and will devote all his or her power to realizing and developing it. In other words, not only the job title, but also the thoughts and dreams of all the people who have brought up the company will be inherited. Unlike the conventional appointment of a successor, which is apt to be done clerically, the succession plan, in which the mental aspect is taken over, is an indispensable measure to aim for sustainable growth while valuing the unique culture of the company.

If you become a manager or team leader, the succession plan is a human resource strategy that enables managers to face the proposition of business succession that must be faced, and its importance is extremely high. Many managers have been waiting for a signpost to image the image of a company decades later and to move toward it. By considering a large amount of time and management resources spent as an investment for the future of the company, it may be possible to ease the feeling of hesitation in introducing to activate it.

The following roles are important for being a leader.

Setting a Goal

A leader is like a captain sailing across the ocean. If the captain does not set a goal named destination, the ship cannot reach anywhere. So a big part of the role of a leader is to set organizational goals. Conversely, without setting this goal, you cannot lead an organization anywhere. Similarly, if the goals and directions are not fixed, the people under the leader will be confused as to ‘Where should I go and what should I do?’ Therefore, setting goals is a very important factor.

Improve the environment of the organization

Next, the role of the leader is to improve the organization. For example, it is difficult to successfully lead an organization to a goal when the members of the organization cannot communicate with each other. It is also the responsibility of the leader to create an environment where members of the organization can work comfortably.

Serve as a model

The role of a leader is to serve as a model for members. Leaders are members who set an example for members to say, ‘This is the way to do this.’ If the organization has a solid leader, the members are often solid. On the other hand, if the leader has a habit of being lazy, the members may also be lazy, saying, ‘The leader is lazy, so I don’t have to work with such passion.’

You are required to work in a way that will serve as a model.

Encourage members to move independently

No matter how much the leader works deadly and becomes a model, the results that can be achieved will be limited if the members are not motivated. Therefore, in leadership, it is necessary to encourage members to move independently.

Development and production of humanity

It is said that humanity has a large part that is rooted in the unconscious area of the person, and it is difficult to change it. In order to improve it, it is effective to change the inner side even by changing the behavior, attitude, and remarks little by little. As a concrete practice method to enhance humanity, greeting to people, early wake up, communicating (report / contact / consult), and taking four actions at anywhere (organizing / tidying / hygiene / cleaning). Practicing these will not only enhance the humanity of the successor himself, but also have a positive effect on his subordinates and the organization.

Among the elements that make up leadership, there are things that should be actually learned through training and learning, and methods that can be effectively expressed through production. While ‘ability’ is the first element that must be acquired as an ability through training and learning, Humanity is also an important element to direct and appeal. Whether subordinates’ love and ethics, which are the elements of humanity required for leaders, are judged by subordinates mainly by the behavior that can be seen intuitively. Therefore, it is changing the behavior that precedes changing the character itself. In other words, the development of humanity can be said to be reborn as a human being who has a deep affection and high ethics through directing daily actions and communication.

Q.2 “Starbucks has been forced to rethink its traditional strategy of accelerated growth by closing over 30,000 stores. CEO Howard Schultz has cut his salary to less than $10,000 a year, down from $1.2 million”. Throw some light on the relevance of this statement and explain 5 important roles of a leader?

Schultz’s valuation for its employees was established in various systems, further strengthening the bond between partners (employees) and the company. Gaining trust by supporting and guiding followers with that trust as the source. This can be called as servant leadership.

Servant leadership is a leadership philosophy advocated by Dr. Robert Greenleaf of the United States and is based on the idea that ‘a leader serves the other person first and then guides the other person’. It is leadership that deals with subordinates with a sense of service, thinks how to maximize the power of the members of the organization, and strives to create that environment.


There is a method called ‘listening’ as a specific method that has a great effect on improving the impression of affection. Listening seriously to the end without interrupting the story of his subordinates. Not only listening, but listening with a sign of acceptance and understanding, such as ‘Yes, that’s right’ or ‘I understand,’ with a hammer, or repeating the other person’s words is also effective. In communication with people, the most basic relationships that can make you feel affection are acceptance and approval. Based on this principle, the most basic and effective way to get the impression that you are a person with a loving humanity who is interested in you is a symbol of acceptance and approval. It will be listening. In particular, it can be said that it is effective in many cases when a leader who is highly motivated to achieve the goal and is good at logical thinking.

Take responsibility

It is often effective to be willing to take responsibility for any mistakes or mistakes that your organization makes. Even if it’s not actually your mistake, the leader can give the impression that ‘this person is a very neat person’ by expressing that he is responsible. The fact that it is not the mistake of the leader himself is known to subordinates more than the leader. In such case, it is also a great opportunity for the leader to take responsibility and express integrity in order to form a good image.


There are three types of coherence: temporal coherence, interpersonal coherence, and situational coherence.

Regarding temporal coherence and interpersonal coherence, first of all, through attitude surveys of subordinates and feedback from subordinates, try to understand the situations that tend to impair coherence, and the behavior when placed in such situations. However, the attitudes and behaviors that appear there are very different even if you pay attention to them on a daily basis. It is also effective to ask subordinates and others to point you out if you have behaved in a way that is inconsistent.

Regarding situational consistency, the above response is limited. It is very difficult to act in the same way no matter what the situation is, whether you are in a difficult situation or an unexpected situation occurs. No matter how much you try, you may have difficult situations that you cannot handle.

Physical strength enhancement

It is surprisingly effective to strengthen your physical strength if you want to improve it.

Situational coherence is to continue to work hard while leading subordinates toward the achievement of goals, without losing control even in difficult situations.

It is possible to realize that maintaining such an attitude which requires strong mental strength and commitment, and that strong physical strength is required to support it.

Strengthening situational consistency is a principle measure to strengthen energy and physical strength in this way, but in addition to such a straightforward method, it is also possible to use a directing method to increase the appeal effect.

It is to be conscious of actions in symbolic situations that can strongly appeal to your mental and physical strength. For example, ‘On the day after work, everyone drinks late until the next day, they come to work earlier than usual and work with a cool face,’ or ‘when an organization is facing a very difficult situation and is running out of space.’ That’s why you must have a bright expression. ‘

When a subordinate is in a difficult situation, the production that shows the difference from the subordinate by exerting energy and physical strength as a leader gives the subordinate a great sense of trust. Even if you are aiming for a dramatic effect, training to stretch yourself at such times is also effective in strengthening your mental strength.

Confident and Trust

if we see a scene that temporarily loses confident, the sense of trust in the leader collapses, and the desire to follow is suddenly diminished. On the contrary, if a sense of trust is established by a stable attitude and posture from the usual, we will try to follow the leader by encountering the behavior of the leader who is highly appealing in terms of ability, affection and ethics. Given that leadership is a form of relationship that arises based on interaction between leaders and subordinates, trust is the foundation of most basic human relationships. Therefore, the development of trust between leaders and subordinates has the fundamental meaning of the element of leadership.

Q.3 There have been many Leadership Development Initiatives adopted and practiced in many organizations. As a leader list down at least 7-8 Leadership Development Initiatives which you will adopt at your workplace? (to be explained in 1000-1200 words)

E-learning – is also introduced for in-house training such as leader training. When conducting leader training, in group training, we want to emphasize opportunities for mutual exchange of opinions centered on discussions, while participants also need to acquire the basic knowledge and framework that are prerequisites. Often, you will have time to listen to a lecture on basic knowledge before the discussion. In addition, if you want to focus on discussion-based training, you will be guided through a book to self-study in advance, but there is the problem that it is difficult to check and reflect on the learning progress of participants. Therefore, we will introduce e-learning and have participants take e-learning at the preparation stage of group training. By gaining an understanding of the basic knowledge, you can spend more time on discussions without having to spend time on lectures on the day of group training, and you can conduct more fulfilling training.

Group work – means that you can improve your team player skills. Its name implies, is an initiative carried out by multiple “groups”. It is required that the team complete the mission for one given task while cooperating as a team. Naturally, different people have different strengths and weaknesses, and some people are good at leadership, while others are good at being behind the scenes. By doing group work, you can correctly understand your role in the team and develop the skills to contribute as much as possible. And through group work, you can develop the skills of team work and develop human resources who can immediately compete. A group work in which a group discussion is conducted on the given task, and the results are summarized and presented on a simulated paper or whiteboard. In addition to the technical aspects such as whether you can persuasively make a presentation about the results you have derived and whether you can make materials that are visually easy to see, the attitude of the individual who tackles the given task is also evaluated.

Mutual coaching and accountability – Leaders have to learn to be open and honest about their faults, and further, must learn to accept help and counsel from others. Much can be gained from having leaders discuss their struggles and weaknesses with each other and then subsequently hold each other accountable. This serves not only to improve themselves, but also to help others on the management team get better. This could be anything from specific situations that leaders are working through with their teams or the organization to leaders’ personality traits or communication styles.

Assessments – Multi-faced observation evaluation, also called 360-degree evaluation, is a method of observing the behavior of the target person by multiple evaluators and evaluating their abilities, attitudes, and results. The point of this method is to evaluate not only the boss but also the subordinates, colleagues, and the evaluator himself. Unlike the case where only the boss evaluates it, a more objective and highly accurate evaluation can be obtained, so it is possible to determine the treatment according to the individual difference in organizational contribution while ensuring the satisfaction of the evaluation target person. In addition, since it can give the target person a sense of strengths and weaknesses, it is used in both handling decision and ability development.

Mentoring – The mentor is not a boss, but a senior that is relatively close in age. Mentoring is not a one-way way for mentors to teach, but mentee will be aware of themselves, as the mentor and mentee continue to protect, advise, and interact. In the relationship of teaching from senior to subordinates, senior sometimes tries to ask with authority and the subordinates appear to follow but not really understanding the job. The subordinates don’t even notice it, they just get stuck in the senior’s mold. Introduce the mentoring method and let the subordinates think themselves in interactions, it may take some time, but by taking the time, senior will have deeper trust from subordinates. Incorporating mentoring in this way and becoming aware through interactions maximize individual potential. By helping and supporting each other within the organization, can lead to maximize the productivity of the company. It is a teaching method to think about ‘how to do it’ together instead of teaching ‘you should do this.’

Temporary assignments – Stretch assignment is to assign a task that is more difficult than the person’s ability. It is widely known in the field of human resource development as one of the methods for developing the skills of employees. The following are specific examples of assignments for young and mid-level employees and managers.

  • Young and mid-level: Correspondence of irregular business; Business that spans departments and departments; Business improvement; Guidance for juniors
  • Managers: Organization management; Launch of new department / business; Promotion and execution of business reform
  • Posting leadership development opportunities – Organizations can also post opportunities on an internal “marketplace.” These postings can include opportunities available for anyone in the organization, such as a new business plan that needs additional assistance.
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Servant Leadership Style in Starbucks. (2022, Sep 11). Retrieved February 2, 2023 , from

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