What is Servant Leadership and how to Apply it at Work

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This course has given me the opportunity to learn about various leadership styles and methods, evaluate my personal and professional values, and assess my strengths and weaknesses in being a leader and a follower. I have developed a greater appreciation of the skill and dedication it takes to become a great leader and have been presented with excellent examples of leaders to model. By implementing these leadership styles and techniques that I have learned, I am confident that I will be able to lead and cultivate a team effectively. Although I feel confident in my leadership abilities, I understand that there is always room for improvement. A few of the areas I have learned that I need to develop include finding the right balance of leadership styles and the right motivation technique that will cater to my team members, managing my emotions and helping my team manage their emotions, making sure to avoid “tunnel vision” so I put my team before myself, and understanding how to better handle storming. I need to take time to build relationships with my team, so I understand them on a personal level. By doing this, I will understand how to better lead and motivate them. It will also cause me to care about them and I will be more apt to put them first. I will practice meditation and self-control techniques to help me view decisions logically instead of emotionally and I can teach these techniques to my team. I can also encourage time to destress while at work to help my team think more logically. I need to research storming and speak with mentors who have already dealt with storming with their team members. By gaining their perspective and advice, as well as the information gained through research, I will have a better understanding of what to expect and how to appropriately deal with it.

As I lead my team, I will use my strengths of self-confidence, positive attitude and outlook, motivating people to deliver the vision, being a good role model, and emotional intelligence to guide me. I will also use my values of respect, trust, honesty, integrity, and loyalty to keep me focused and ensure that I treat my team and my company the right way. Based on my strengths, weaknesses, and values, I think that the challenges I will face are more likely to be based on the initial lack of trust and confidence that a team has with a new leader, and a differing opinion in values amongst the team. For example, if a team member believes that it is acceptable to lie or misrepresent information to myself, other team members, or our clients, it will be a big disappointment and challenge that will need to be addressed. I believe that these disappointments and challenges may be avoided though, by modeling the way. By my example, I can further emphasize what I have verbally communicated to be my expectations of behavior and interaction. It will not only show them that I take my expectations seriously, it will also build their confidence and trust in me because I hold myself to the same standard. As I continue to face these leadership challenges, in addition to my positive attitude and outlook, self-confidence, and emotional intelligence, I will also use Tuckman’s Stages of Development to help me.

I believe Tuckman’s forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning stages will appropriately handle any challenging situation or circumstance that I may encounter with my team. To keep myself motivated and encouraged, I will focus on managing my emotions at work, so I don’t become too discouraged to begin with. I will also surround myself with positive influencers that will mentor me and encourage me as a leader. To keep my team members motivated and encouraged, I will make sure that the workplace is toxic free and free of groupthink. If toxicity does find its way into the team, I will be sure to address it immediately so that it doesn’t spread. I will also make it a practice to recognize the strengths of my team so they understand that I appreciate their individual abilities and their contributions to the team. The Five Practices and Ten Commitments are great techniques to help my personal and professional growth as a leader. By Modeling the Way, I will lead by example. Instead of just verbally communicating my expectations for my team, I will show them working alongside them. I will never expect something from my team that I am not willing to do myself. By Inspiring a Shared Vision, I will effectively and clearly communicate my vision for my team and company with enthusiasm and my team will be energized to work together to reach the goal.

By Challenging the Process, I will encourage the team members to always think of ways to improve. By encouraging new ideas, I will ensure that my team continues to take risks and continues to advance by learning from our mistakes. By Enabling Others to Act, I will build relationships and collaboration amongst my team members and will also develop confidence and competence to take on projects and deliver solutions. By Encouraging the Heart, I will celebrate and recognize that everyone is important and needed to complete the task. When a goal is met, I will recognize each individual team member to help them know that they are valued. While reading “Serving First for the Benefit of Others: Preliminary Evidence for a Hierarchical Conceptualization of Servant Leadership” by Grisaffe,, VanMeter, and Chonko, I found that the servant leadership style has great benefits to individuals within the company, the company, and the clients. By putting others first, the individuals are more inclined to put aside their unethical behavior and greed and instead focus on serving in order to benefit those around them. Sometimes this also means that the needs or wants of the company become secondary to the needs of the client (Grisaffe, VanMeter, Chonko, 2016). By doing this, a culture of authenticity, humility, caring, and collaboration is developed amongst the team and within the company. According the article, when a leader is a servant leader, he or she cultivates a “pay it forward” mindset that builds relationships within and without the company (Grisaffe, VanMeter, Chonko, 2016).

Interpersonal conflicts are minimized and there is greater satisfaction both on a personal and professional level from all those involved (Grisaffe, VanMeter, Chonko, 2016). This information aligns with the information discussed in week two of this class regarding Greenleaf’s concept of Servant Leadership (Mindtools, n.d.). It also notes that servant leadership augments transformational and transactional leadership styles. Because of the changes that servant leadership encourage, the performance of the team members rises and ultimately the company’s success is greater than companies who only implement transformational or transactional leadership methods (Grisaffe, VanMeter, Chonko, 2016). Because of this, I plan to implement servant leadership into my leadership style. Serving others and putting others first coincides with my values and I believe that it will grow a culture of trust and loyalty within my company, which will benefit my team and my clients. I appreciate the idea of putting the client’s or a team member’s needs over my own or my companies desire for growth or revenue. I have seen a company compromise itself too many times and sacrifice others for money and I do not want to make that mistake. Not only does it cause disloyalty and fear among team members, it develops an idea that money and growth are more important than values and people as well as sends a message to the community that the company only sees them as dollar signs and they are not truly valued as anything else. Based on my day to day responsibilities, I believe that Tuckman’s Stages of Development, Goleman’s Six Leadership Styles, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, and Emotional Intelligence are most relevant to me. Tuckman’s Stages of Development allow leaders to understand how a team interacts and grows. It helps the leaders to understand the challenges a team face, especially in the beginning, and how to overcome them (Mindtools, n.d.).

Goleman’s Six Leadership Styles give leaders the qualities needed to be effective and direction on how to use them in various situations that may arise (Casali, 2018). By realizing that each team member is unique and will respond differently, the different leadership styles give the leader methods to adapt and effectively lead each person. Maslow’s Hierachy of Needs helps leaders understand what is important and necessary for team members to feel fulfilled so that they will be effective and motivated (Leadership Central, n.d.) (McLoed, 2018). Emotional intelligence is important to leaders because it gives them tools necessary to overcome emotional problems such as negativity, worry, stress, anger, and frustration that are inevitable in the workplace (Mindtools, n.d.). By using these tools, a leader will be able to transform negative emotions into more positive emotions for himself or herself as well as for the team which will increase the productivity and happiness of the workplace (Mindtools, n.d.). Leadership behavior relates to an organization’s success because the leaders set the tone for the workplace. For example, in the first week of class we discussed how the Office character Michael Scott’s behavior and character influenced his team. He was not respectful or mindful of them unless it suited him, and in return, they felt the same way about him. Consequently, they were not effective as a team, working together towards a common goal. He worked, and they worked, but not together.

Leadership behavior also has the ability to motivate and inspire a team when faced with challenges or it has the ability to crush momentum and breed toxicity and negativity. An example of this is when Goleman’s Six Leadership Styles were discussed, and I researched great leaders who have inspired their organizations to succeed. Oprah Winfrey had the ability to successfully motivate and inspire those around her and she cultivated a culture of loyalty and trust. Through her leadership behavior she was able to rise from a daytime talk show host to one of the wealthiest women in the world with a following of millions even after her talk show ended. As I have discussed in previous weeks, my leadership goals include incorporating emotional intelligence, Goleman’s Six Leadership Styles, and Tuckman’s Stages of Development. I also understand that continuing to develop my leadership abilities is important for myself as well as my team, which is why I will surround myself with mentors and leaders that I respect and have already been successful. They will continue to teach me skills that I will need as a leader and I will also continue to do research on my own. I have already signed up for additional leadership classes through my local small business development center, and they send me emails with links regarding leadership trends and techniques that may be helpful. As stated above, emotions can impact the success of leaders and organizations.

Negative emotions, such as stress, worry, anger, and frustration can create a toxic work environment if not controlled (Mindtools, n.d.). Emotions spread and feed off of each other and if a leader does not stop negative emotions, they can destroy an organization. By using emotional intelligence and leadership styles, a leader can maneuver through the negative challenges, understand where they are coming from and why, and how to stop them and change them into something positive (Mindtools, n.d.). This creates a positive work environment where team members are being fulfilled, happy and motivated. In turn, team members will work together towards reaching the overall success of the organization and achieving the leader’s vision (Mindtools, n.d.). Effective leadership contributes to an organization’s success by developing team members to be the best version of themselves, recognizing the obstacles and challenges that may occur and strategizing methods to overcome them, and inspiring a vision of success among the team members.

My former supervisor exemplified developing team members to be the best versions of themselves. He maintains a positive attitude even in the face of difficulties. When I worked with him, he encouraged me and motivated me to pursue my education and fought for me to be allowed to take job related trainings and courses through the company. My CEO and General Manager at the time did not see the value in allowing me to go to training conferences, but because of my supervisor I was able to take the courses and became better in my position. As a result, I was able to understand concepts that were previously foreign to me and develop strategies that benefited the company’s relationship with its customers and increase revenue. His care and trust in me inspired me to be better and loyal to him even when my loyalty for the company waned. Another example of effective leadership contributing to the success of organizations is based on my husband. He has recently become the general manager of the local radio station on the Indian reservation where we live. This was a transitional appointment where the former general manager was recently elected to be a councilman for the tribe and my husband was appointed the general manager in his place.

My husband has encountered many challenges while in this new position, but he has been able to inspire a vision of success among the team members which has revived the workplace. He began by implementing trainings for team members and working to develop their weaknesses while complimenting their strengths. He has worked with his team to develop strategies that overcome the challenges which has made the team feel valued and appreciated. The community has noticed a change in the programs provided and the attitude of the team members, and my husband has been shown gratitude from the tribal president for his leadership. Implementing effective leadership requires hard work and focus in the leader. Some individuals are born with an innate sense of leadership, but instincts are not what make a great leader. Anyone can become a great leader, but it necessitates knowledge of leadership skills and characteristics, and the honing of those skills. Being a great leader also demands that the leader be someone worthy of respect, trust, and loyalty. By learning and implementing leadership styles, traits, emotional intelligence, and stages of team development, a leader can successfully cultivate a team that will enthusiastically strive to perform effectively and reach the organization’s goals.

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What Is Servant Leadership and How to Apply It at Work. (2022, Feb 06). Retrieved December 2, 2023 , from

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