By Jose J. Ruiz
First things first, what “servant leadership” is. It is a leadership style in which the leader places the importance on the followers, not on the power on top. The leader leads by serving consciously through inspiration, motivation, and exercising care for the well-being of the followers and the stakeholders, not on an accumulation of materialistic possessions. The term was first coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, which was published in 1970.
Now, the question is: Is servant leadership only relevant in non-profit organizations? The answer is: no. Both for-profit and non-profit organizations can benefit greatly from servant leadership. In fact, for-profit businesses can expect to increase their revenue because leaders who serve as servants make employees and customers feel good about themselves, which can improve relationships between themselves and with the organization.
Servant leadership is ideal for an organization that aims at a long-term existence, meaning it continuously generates revenue for many years to come and has a large pool of customers that makes up a huge chunk of the market share pie. Here are the five main reasons why servant leadership is key to company longevity.
First, focus on long-term growth, not short-term gains. A servant leader ensures that every action was done and every conflict solves would serve its purposes optimally. With the best discretion that comes with less friction, a company can expect to see long-term growth, instead of short-term gains.
Second, focus on caring and kindness, not self-serving ego. When a workplace is filled with care and kindness, less friction means increased camaraderie and trust. Both are key to getting things done quickly and with minimal error.
Third, create a pleasant and positive environment, which is key to productivity. When employees can focus on their tasks better because they feel secure in a “utopian” company culture. They also understand that their leader is always ready to assist them whenever they hit a roadblock, instead of judging them for “lack of skill” or “lack of initiative.”
Fourth, save much time, due to less egocentric and less confrontational office politics. Knowing that their leader is always there for them and work colleagues are on their best behavior, employees do not need to waste time thinking about office politics. Instead, they can deliver their best results with a good purpose.
Fifth, people can grow as mature individuals without feeling pushed. Working in an environment where caring and kindness are the organization/company culture, employees can learn to prioritize based on what’s really important for others’ wellbeing. They learn to see things from others’ eyes, instead of their ego.
In conclusion, there are many advantages of exercising servant leadership in organizations. Both the people and the organization can grow meaningfully in a positive direction by serving all stakeholders with humility and awareness of positivity.
ABOUT JOSE J. RUIZ
Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the executive recruiting firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures. An important part of his time is spent on research work focused on organizational effectiveness centered on leadership and culture. Prior to joining Alder Koten, Jose was a Principal with Heidrick & Struggles’ Global Industrial Practice based in Houston, TX and Monterrey, Mexico. His professional experience also includes leadership positions in engineering and operations management for manufacturing organizations in the US and Mexico. This experience includes serving as vice president and general manager at Holley Performance Products. Jose serves on the board of Shelmex and on America’s Council of the Association of Executive Search Consultants where he also chairs the Boutique and Independent Search Firm Forum.
Jose holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Gonzaga University and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical and electrical engineering from the Instituto Technologico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey. He is fluent in English and Spanish.
Jose can be reached at jose.ruiz@alderkoten or at his office in Houston +1 (713) 476–9000
ABOUT ALDER KOTEN
Alder Koten has recruiters and research teams in Mexico and the United States. The firm was founded in 2011. Its headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. Alder Koten recruiters serve multiple industries including automotive, building products, construction & projects, consumer markets, energy & chemicals, equipment & industrial products, financial services, life sciences, medical devices, maquiladora, mining & metals, professional services, renewable resources, technology, and transportation & logistics. The firm is a proud standing member of the Association of Executive Search Consultants. The Association of Executive Search Consultants was founded in 1959 as the Association of Executive Recruiting Consultants (AERC) for the dual purposes of creating a professional association for the most competent and reputable search firms, and for providing clients and prospective clients a means by which to differentiate qualified and ethical practitioners.