The contemporary labor market is experiencing a remarkable revolution, which is arising from the emergence of information technology and communication. Employees are asking for fair and equitable remuneration coupled with a favorable working environment. In addition, workers are increasingly seeking jobs that contribute to their personal development. Furthermore, the labor market is undergoing structural changes due to the prevailing economic changes. A study conducted by the Reserve Bank of Australia (2012) indicates that the highest rate of employee turnover was recorded in 2012.
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Subsequently, organizations are experiencing an increment in the rate of voluntary employee turnover. The above trend shows that organizations are facing a challenge in their quest to foster a competitive advantage with regard to human capital. In a bid to survive in such an environment, it is imperative for organizational managers to incorporate effective leadership in order to influence employees. Servant leadership is one of the most effective styles in influencing one’s followers and achieving personal development goals. Spears (2005) define servant leadership as “a leadership style that is based on putting the needs of the employees, customers, and the community first” (p. 2). The concept of servant leadership is based on the idea of prioritizing the internal and external stakeholders’ needs.
Servant leadership is gaining relevance in the global workplace, as evidenced by the increased adjustment in the traditional, hierarchical, and autocratic leadership styles. Organizations are incorporating the concepts of teamwork and community in their strategic leadership processes. Additionally, organizations are appreciating the importance of involving diverse stakeholders in their decision-making process. The revolution in organizational leadership is also evidenced by the growth in caring and ethical behaviors amongst leaders.
In order to succeed as a human resource manager, it is imperative to develop optimal leadership skills. This paper entails an assessment of the extent to which I have nurtured servant leadership qualities. Moreover, the paper also examines the major changes to the leadership approach that should be incorporated in order to become an effective servant leader.
Assessment of servant leadership
In the pursuit of a career in human resource management and as the current president of a labor union, I have acquired a number of leadership skills. However, I have also experienced a number of challenges in undertaking diverse leadership roles and responsibilities. One of the sources of conflicts at the workplace emanates from the staunch adherence and promotion of effective leadership character and ethics. The current workplace environment is characterized by numerous attacks from colleagues, who undermine the union and its members.
Despite the constant attacks from fellow managers, the commitment to steer the labor union into achieving excellence through servant leadership skills has not been hindered. In the movie, The Mission, Father Gabriel exemplifies servant leadership as explored in this paper. A number of servant leadership qualities have been developed over the years. Some of these leadership qualities are evaluated below.
Communication is a fundamental element in the operation of an organization, and lack of it might make an organization dysfunctional. In order to succeed in the long term, it is imperative for organizational leaders to integrate an effective communication process. The communication process should be both top-bottom and bottom-up in order to provide one’s followers with an opportunity to communicate their opinion and ideas to the top management. However, the communication process may be ineffective if the top management does not listen to the issues raised by one’s followers. Therefore, effective leadership cannot be achieved if the various stakeholders, such as employees, are alienated in the leadership process (Nielsen, 2005).
This recognition has led to the recognition of the importance of engaging subordinates. Listening to subordinates is one of the qualities that have been developed. This aspect has played a fundamental role in fostering collaboration with the subordinates. Furthermore, listening to subordinates has greatly improved the capability and success with which decisions are made. Father Gabriel highlights this characteristic by listening to Mendoza after the murder of Felipe. Effective listening has been enhanced by the appreciation of listening receptively in order to understand the followers’ opinions.
This realization has been a remarkable source of ideas and opinions. The ideas and opinions gathered to form the basis of reflection, which has improved the ability to deal with different leadership issues faced. Secondly, servant leadership has led to a significant improvement in the subordinates’ perception of their value and relevance. Subsequently, collaborating with the led has been critical in minimizing their resistance. Moreover, incorporating the followers’ opinions and ideas provides them with an opportunity to grow in their respective careers, which is a fundamental role in improving morale in the workplace. Furthermore, appreciating the importance of listening to one’s followers also plays a fundamental role in nurturing mutual respect in the workplace.
One of the greatest sources of success in leadership relates to the ability to persuade followers. Leadership positions are often characterized by power and authority. However, the ineffective utilization of power and authority may be a major source of the followers’ resistance. In order to avert such situations, the leadership style adopted has mainly relied on persuasion. The persuasive skills have been critical in convincing the followers on certain aspects.
However, the effectiveness of persuasion has been improved by appreciating the significance of effective communication. This aspect is one of the major qualities of Father Gabriel. In his leadership, he persuades Mendoza to repent after killing Felipe in a duel. Through persuasion, a leader is in a position to foster a high degree of commitment amongst one’s followers in the course of executing their duties. The adoption of effective communication skills has also been relevant in developing a high degree of consensus amongst followers, which is essential in creating a sense of teamwork. Therefore, followers are usually inspired, committed, and responsible in executing their duties.
Considering the challenging nature of the external business environment, it is imperative for organizational leaders to ensure that their employees are adequately motivated in the workplace. Leaders can foster a favorable working environment by being empathetic, which is one of the critical servant leadership qualities. This goal was achieved by understanding and accepting the followers’ needs continuously. This move has improved the ability to assist followers in dealing with diverse life circumstances and difficulties. Furthermore, employees that depict optimal performance are recognized. The success as an empathetic leader has been enhanced by appreciating effective listening on the followers’ ideas and opinions.
One of the factors that have played a remarkable role in succeeding as a leader relates to the appreciation of the importance of assisting the followers to achieve their desired level of personal development by delegating tasks to subordinates. The motivation to delegate tasks has also emanated from the recognition of the view that subordinates have diverse intrinsic needs. Servant leadership has continuously ensured that the employees’ personal growth and development goals are taken into account.
Delegating tasks provides subordinates with an opportunity to undertake challenging roles and responsibilities, which is a key element in ensuring that followers develop leadership skills. Father Gabriel delegates duties to Father Fielding and Mendoza, and thus he focuses on other important issues of the mission. Delegating tasks has often contributed to the followers’ growth, which underscores how Mendoza manages to transform from a murder to a missionary. Furthermore, incorporating the concept of task delegation provides employees with an opportunity to exercise their leadership abilities. For example, followers are faced with situations that require them to apply their problem-solving capabilities, and thus they are provided with an opportunity to progress through their career path, which has been enhanced by the capacity to trust the subordinates in executing their duties.
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Building a community
Considering the changes that organizations are facing, it is imperative for organizational leaders to develop competitive advantage with regard to human capital through the integration of the concepts of teamwork (Northouse, 2013). Subsequently, the concept of teamwork is one of the leadership concepts that have been of great significance in implementing servant leadership. However, the success of teamwork is influenced by the extent to which followers collaborate and share information with their colleagues. Such collaboration might be affected by the existence of conflicts amongst team members. For example, some of the team members might develop a perception of being more relevant as compared to their colleagues, which might affect the extent of collaboration and information sharing.
One of the issues that have been of great significance in the pursuit to develop a high level of collaboration entails ensuring that followers develop a sense of unity. This goal has been achieved by inculcating a sense of teamwork and creating a positive attitude towards the followers. Father Gabriel mobilizes the Portuguese natives and teaches them the art of war to defend their plantations. Followers have been in a position to develop the perception that the overall organizational success is dependent on the synergy developed, which can only be achieved if all employees collaborate with each other.
Effective servant leadership can only be achieved if the leader is aware of his or her strengths and weaknesses. The current leadership roles have been characterized by strict adherence to ethics and values. Thus, one of the most important elements considered in the decision-making process relates to the ethical dimension, which has played an essential role in ensuring that all the stakeholders’ needs with regard to a particular situation are taken into account. Therefore, the decisions made are based on a holistic approach to the prevailing situation.
Conceptualization and foresight
Organizations face diverse challenging situations in the course of their operations. Subsequently, it is essential for organizational leaders to possess effective problem solving skills. One of the elements that have been nurtured in pursuit for leadership is conceptualization, which has greatly enhanced the ability to deal with the current problems faced in addition to anticipating the likely future events. This goal has been achieved by using experiences in the decision-making process. Therefore, the likelihood of experiencing adverse future situations is significantly minimized. Adopting conceptual broad-base thinking has also been of great significance in providing visionary leadership. Furthermore, effective conceptualization has enhanced the ability to establish a balance between the daily organizational operation and the intended future performance.
Approaches to improve servant leadership
Considering the challenges faced in the contemporary business environment, it is imperative for leaders to improve their leadership approach. In a bid to become an effective servant leader, a number of issues will be taken into account. Some of the issues that will be considered are evaluated below.
In pursuit for effective servant leadership, extensive reading will be undertaken in order to gather additional knowledge on how to become an effectual servant leader. Some of the materials that will be considered include reviewing the servant leadership processes of renowned global leaders in different fields. A comprehensive analysis of Father Gabriel’s servant leadership qualities will be taken into account. Undertaking a comprehensive literature review on servant leadership will play a critical role in identifying potential gaps as a servant leader. Subsequently, it will be possible to undertake the necessary adjustments.
Nurturing effective servant leadership skills will also be undertaken by seeking assistance from well-established leaders, who will act as mentors. It is expected that effective mentoring will facilitate progress through the desired career path. However, effective mentoring will only be achieved if an optimal relationship with the mentor is developed. The relationship with the mentor will be based on mutual interest. Additionally, the mentoring process aim at learning on how to improve the servant leadership qualities already developed. Effective mentoring will also play a fundamental role in appreciating the importance of developing synergy in the organization. Previous studies show that mentoring enhances the followers’ level of productivity, performance, in addition to increasing the likelihood of the mentee achieving the set goals and objectives.
Appreciating the importance of balancing-life and work
Despite the past success as a servant leader, it is expected that the workplace will be challenging in the future. Leaders are experiencing new challenges in an effort to lead their followers. Thus, the potential for experiencing stressful situations has increased significantly. In order to deal with such situations, it is imperative for leaders to incorporate effective leadership. One of the issues that will be taken into account entails establishing a balance between personal and workplace demands. Some of the issues that will be taken into account entail creating time to refresh.
One of the strategies that will be undertaken entails integrating the concept of fun in the workplace, such as participating in the most favorite indoor games and jogging. Furthermore, fun in the workplace will also be undertaken by organizing picnics, which will involve all colleagues at the workplace. Such picnics will improve the effectiveness with which the leader gives the followers an opportunity to bond. The picnics will enable the leader to increase the level of job satisfaction. Incorporating the concepts of work-life balance will play a remarkable role in improving the degree of organizational identification amongst employees. Therefore, the likelihood of minimizing voluntary employee turnover will remarkably be minimized.
Servant leadership has gained significant relevance over the past few decades. Its relevance arises from the view that it ensures that all the stakeholders involved in the organization’s operations are fully satisfied. Additionally, its effectiveness is enhanced by taking into account the followers’ needs first rather than those of the leaders. Servant leadership takes into account the followers’ opinions and ideas, which makes them to feel valued and relevant in an organization’s operations.
Attaching value to the followers’ ideas and opinions enhances their level of motivation, which is critical in steering an organization towards achieving the desired level of success. A number of leadership qualities have been achieved in undertaking my duties as a president of a local labor union. However, the current work environment is characterized by numerous challenges, which might affect my ability to lead. In order to become a successful human resource manager, it will be ensured that optimal servant leadership skills are incorporated.
Some of the servant leadership qualities that have been developed over the years include effective listening skills, ability to build a community, conceptualization, foresight, and developing a sense of awareness among others. Appreciating the importance of listening to subordinates’ ideas and opinions has increased the level of collaboration. The subordinates feel valued, which increases their level of participation and contribution in the decision-making process.
On the other hand, the ability to build a community has enhanced the effectiveness of incorporating teamwork in the leadership process, which is a fundamental element in steering organizations towards achieving business excellence. The sense of awareness has improved the effectiveness with which the needs of various organizational stakeholders are taken into account. The sense of awareness has led to the integration of ethics whilst implementing strategic leadership activities. On the other hand, conceptualization and foresight have improved the efficiency and effectiveness of dealing with diverse workplace related problems.
Nielsen, J. (2005). The myth of leadership: creating leaderless organizations. PaloAlto, CA: Davies-Black Publishing. Web.
Northouse, P. (2013). Leadership: theory and practice. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Web.
Reserve Bank of Australia: The labor market, structural change and recent economic development. (2012). Web.
Spears, L. (2005). The understanding and practice of servant leadership. New York, NY: The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership. Web.