Service leadership is a people-oriented approach that also focuses on a decentralized organizational structure. According to Jit et al. (2017), the main components of this style are empathy, awareness, healing, listening, stewardship, foresight, and compassion. Each of these elements reflects the willingness to interact with the staff and participate actively in the work process, not shifting tasks to subordinates but interacting with them on an equal footing. Ingram (2016) argues that the basic principle of servant leadership “is to serve the followers” (p. 23). In addition, this form of interaction with colleagues implies working to elevate employees to a higher level through individual efforts. Finally, ethical behavior is a mandatory principle of this type of leadership, and a management style may be characterized by concessions and a personal example.
Servant leadership is highly effective when productive communication among colleagues and mutual support are the elements of the workflow. In a team where each employee seeks to fulfill one’s individual ambitions, this approach can be unsuccessful. Jit et al. (2017) note that empathetic and altruistic handling may contribute to increasing a firm’s competitive advantage, which is a benefit of servant leadership. In addition, close communication with colleagues allows for establishing a stable work process and mutual understanding. Nonetheless, as the disadvantages of this style, Ingram (2016) mentions a long period of professional development, a potential lack of authority in the team, as well as the risk of losing control over colleagues’ motivation. These aspects should be considered to apply servant leadership in organizations.
By following the aforementioned servant leadership principles, a social work practice can enhance one’s authority by working hard and performing the assigned tasks responsibly. Stimulating employees’ success and rewarding their high results can serve as tools to engage colleagues in active work and realize their professional potential to the full extent. Moreover, a specialist in this profile needs constant contact with different people, which is a valuable factor in expanding knowledge and sharing it with colleagues.
Ingram, O. C. (2016). Servant leadership as a leadership model. Journal of Management Science and Business Intelligence, 1(1), 21-26. Web.
Jit, R., Sharma, C. S., & Kawatra, M. (2017). Healing a broken spirit: Role of servant leadership. Vikalpa, 42(2), 80-94. Web.