Servant Leadership Management: Turning the power management pyramid upside down?
Managers and leaders who create and run successful teams are a vital part of any growing business. They’re viewed as the top performers, the ones who can turn a moderately engaged bunch of employees into a tight knit, highly productive team.
Servant leadership management is not so much a model but a way of thinking. It’s about seeing yourself as a servant, in many respects, rather than a leader – catering to the needs of your team and seeing the world from their prospective.
What does it allow you to do? For one, it means you work for your team, for example, making sure that individuals have the skills and training they need to complete a particular task. It means you understand their wants and needs and how they deliver their best in the workplace and it means you’re more likely to involve them in decision making and grow a closer community that acts as a fully functioning, dynamic team.
Models of leadership and management
A management model is the way in which top executives in a company decide to run the business, motivate employees, set and achieve goals and allocate resources. It’s particularly important for businesses that want to attract top talent and retain it. The basic models have been around for centuries but have their limitations.
Many businesses are now beginning to take a deeper look at how they operate and what processes get the best out of their employees.
- The Rational Goal Model: The end goal is everything and the manager uses a range of tools such as time-motion studies, financial incentives and better technology to improve output above and beyond any competitor. The problem is that, especially in today’s information age, it can be ultimately robotic and unfulfilling for those working in the business.
- The Internal Process Model: This came about later in the last century and was an extension of the rational model. Here control was determined by managing information and co-ordinating through set processes of administration. This may lead to greater efficiency but it can also cut innovation and new developments.
- The Human Relations Model: This is more focused on employee needs from a psychosocial point of view and closely matches what we see in businesses today. It’s about treating employees as assets rather than commodities, incorporating highly supportive interaction that not only improves productivity but increases loyalty.
- The Open Systems Model: This takes management to the next level and allows business to cope with continually changing environments. It’s less about control and more about giving the business and its employees the tools to move forward and complete the tasks at hand. It promotes greater innovation and encourages individuals to act on their own initiative.
Effective Managers vs Successful Managers
Success doesn’t mean you are an effective manager. Success can be achieved by being autocratic, for example, dictating what your employees do and how and when they complete particular tasks. Success as a manager can also mean that you get promoted quickly and go onto bigger and better things. But, again, it doesn’t mean you can effectively manage your own team in the best way possible.
Servant leadership management is designed to serve every member of a team and can help develop diversity. Because the needs of staff are put high up on the agenda, it leads to greater loyalty across the board, an important aspect when you are hoping to attract today’s top performers. Workers naturally feel more involved in this environment and that should, theoretically at least, improve productivity dramatically.
In short, autocratic management can get you so far, servant leadership has the potential to drive growth and prosperity for your company that you may not have imagined.
Most managers want to be effective and develop good teams but much depends on the culture and operational methods of the company they work for. Top performers are more likely to be focused on the servant leadership management style because it is productive and better suited to the information age. It’s increasingly the quality companies are looking for when they head hunt the top performers.