What is Servant Leadership?
Servant leadership is a leadership theory that suggests that effective leaders put the needs of their followers first and prioritize serving others. According to this theory, leaders who adopt a servant leadership style focus on serving and empowering their followers, rather than on achieving their own goals and self-interests.
The theory of servant leadership was first introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970s and it suggests that the most effective leaders are those who:
- Put the needs of their followers first
- Act as stewards for their organization
- Help their followers develop and grow
- Are servant-first and leader-second
- Show empathy and genuine care for their followers
- Create a sense of community among their followers
Servant leaders are said to create a positive and empowering work environment, and to foster a sense of ownership, trust and respect among their followers. They are also seen as effective in promoting long-term change and sustainable growth.
It’s important to note that servant leadership is not a complete theory and it doesn’t account for all the factors that influence leadership. And it also doesn’t explain how to lead in all the situations.
To measure servant leadership, there are different assessment tools, including self-report questionnaires, peer evaluations, and 360-degree feedback. These assessment tools typically focus on measuring the degree to which the leader prioritizes the needs of their followers and acts as a steward for their organization.
Self-report questionnaire to measure servant leadership
Here is an example of a self-report questionnaire that can be used to measure servant leadership:
- Prioritizing followers’ needs:
- I put the needs of my followers first.
- I prioritize the well-being of my followers.
- Acting as a steward for the organization:
- I act in the best interest of the organization.
- I work to ensure the long-term success of the organization.
- Helping followers develop and grow:
- I provide opportunities for my followers to develop and grow.
- I help my followers to reach their full potential.
- Being servant-first and leader-second:
- I see myself primarily as a servant to my followers.
- I place the needs of my followers above my own.
- Showing empathy and genuine care:
- I show genuine care and concern for my followers.
- I treat my followers with empathy and understanding.
- Creating a sense of community:
- I work to create a sense of community among my followers.
- I foster a sense of trust and respect among my followers.
Respondents would be asked to rate each statement on a scale such as 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree).
Please keep in mind that this is just an example questionnaire, and the specific questions and response options will depend on the needs of your organization. And, it is important to validate the questionnaire through pilot testing, which is an important step in developing a self-report questionnaire.
For more details and practical application, Buy specific book – Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results by Ken Blanchard