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Command-And-Control Gives Way To Servant Leadership

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Posted on Monday, May 8, 2023
By: Hailey Heimbach
Categories: General

Command-And-Control Gives Way To Servant Leadership


The Great Resignation has shined a very bright light onto the leadership practices in companies across the country. Leaders discovered that employee satisfaction hinges not on perks but on feeling heard and valued as a person. The pandemic, new work-from-home requirements, and two years of constant stress and economic uncertainty has also shifted a paradigm for workers. More and more, employees demand better working conditions so they can achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Empathy and understanding, paying more attention to opportunities for each employee to learn and grow, and adopting a "servant leadership" management style are replacing the "command and control" model.

What is Servant Leadership?

Don't confuse the kindness of servant leadership with softness. Originating in the 1970s, servant leadership focused on creating a workplace environment where employees grow and thrive. The philosophy behind it is that when employees are supported, well-trained, trusted, and empowered to do their jobs, they're more committed and engaged. In a servant leadership environment, employees take more ownership over their responsibilities and feel comfortable enough in their workplace to make mistakes, say "I need help," or come to their supervisors with actionable suggestions.

The business becomes more successful because the people in charge of operating it – the employees – have a higher degree of engagement and thus self-incentivize. Instead of a cold-war style environment of disgruntled or resigned employees doing the bare minimum to satisfy their corporate overlords, a servant leadership-managed team nurtures the well-being of its employees, resulting in a more natural team dynamic and a higher level of employee satisfaction.

Putting Servant Leadership Principles Into Practice

Servant leadership is a big trend across many industries, and managers are full of questions:

  • Who do we serve?
  • How do we help?
  • How can I make a difference?
  • Authentic leadership is a more transparent management style focused on sharing information, the thought process behind different decisions, and more openness to give-and-take for employee suggestions and concerns. Instead of managers hoarding information and simply doling out job assignments and expectations, authentic leadership involves sharing as much information about the company, reasons for change, and goals for the changes as possible.

Servant leadership takes this model one step farther and includes empathy and empowerment. Leaders talk less, listen more, and value employees' insight, making them more responsible for creating their own path to success.

How Does Servant Leadership Add Value to an Organization?

Servant leadership focuses on seeing employees as the whole person, not just the job that they do. All people have the innate desire to be valued and cared about and a need to belong. When a leader can help meet those needs in the workplace and remove obstacles employees need to succeed, productivity increases, and employees feel more comfortable taking initiative.

Servant leaders lead to serve the needs of their employees, giving them the tools (equipment, training, and support) they need to do their jobs and anticipating their needs. This kind of support also creates camaraderie among your teams, and, through the example that servant leaders set, team members become more supportive of each other.


If you're struggling to retain your top talent, or if a recent employee opinion survey reveals that many workers feel unsupported by or disconnected from their managers, then perhaps a shift to servant leadership for your key managers and team leaders is necessary. Encourage your managers to lead with empathy, or even consider taking one of the many servant leadership courses available online. You may be surprised at taking a step back can enable your teams to take several leaps forward.

Tagged:General, Information, Chamber, Tips and Tricks

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