anagement is a word used widely nowadays and it is becoming more and more popular. However, only a few of the people using this word know what it really means. Management is the act of trying to achieve specific business objectives, by organizing and coordinating the activities inside a business. Management is considered to be one of the four production factors, along with the other three M's (Money, Machines and Material). According to Peter Drucker (1909-2005), “the basic task of management includes marketing and innovation”. Modern management, originates from a study conducted by Sir Thomas Moore( 1478-1535) in the 16th century, called “low-efficiency and failures of certain enterprises”.
However, a good manager is an effective one. In order, for a manager to be effective, he has to be able to finish specific tasks quickly. Moreover, he needs to be a team builder, leader and developer.
The style of leadership that I chose to evaluate is servant leadership. I selected this type of leadership because I was curious on how a servant manager, can control his team without actually controlling it. Moreover, it seems that evaluating servant leadership is important since it gives the possibility to discover the advantages and disadvantages of this method as well as effective ways to improve it.
Servant leader is considered the manager who listens to his employees and put their needs first. Moreover, a servant leader shares power with the employees. Finally, the employees, don't serve their manager, he serves them. It is believed that servant leadership is an ancient philosophy. The first sign of this type of leadership, is found in the Tao Te Ching (4th century BC, page 35) which states “
The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.
The Sage is self-effacing and scanty of words.
When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, All the people say, ‘we ourselves have achieved it!” However, the first time that the phrase “servant leader is used”, is in Robert Greenleaf's essay “the servant leader” that stated the following:
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.”
“The difference manifests itself in the care taken by the servant-first to make sure that other people's highest priority needs are being served. The best test, and difficult to administer, is: Do those served grow as persons? Do they, while being served, become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, more likely themselves to become servants? And, what is the effect on the least privileged in society? Will they benefit or at least not be further deprived?“
Even though this method seems effective, it has both strengths and weaknesses.
Concerning the first category, one of the biggest advantages of servant leadership, is that due to the way that they are treated, employees are more efficient an offer a better treatment to the clients. Moreover, servant leaders create stronger teams and they also create a better environment for the employees. Furthermore, being a long-term concept, this type of leadership, may have a positive influence on the society, since it can be applied on life in general and not only in working conditions. Nevertheless, by handing the employees more responsibilities, they become motivated and they reach to their full potential.
On the other hand, due to the fact that this type of leadership is long-term, it needs a lot of time for the company to get the most out of its workers. This is why servant leadership, is not preferred neither by companies who need a structure and good organization to survive nor by companies who need to make profit fast. Furthermore, probably the biggest problem with servant leadership is that the manager has low level of control on his team, and thus there might be incidents of disobedience and exploitation from the part of employees. However, the above-mentioned weaknesses, have not stopped big companies like Toyota, Starbucks and 7 eleven to be out on the market for a servant manager.
Since the method has a few weaknesses, it can be understood that there is space for improvements. First of all, the whole process could become more intensive and as a result it can become a short-term method so that even companies who are in need of profit as quickly as possible can imply this technique. Moreover, in order to avoid exploitation and disobedience by the employees, the manager should be stricter with the staff without however becoming authoritarian or autocratic.
To sum up, I stand for the fact that servant leadership is a good way of management both for the company and the people involved. However, the method has some disadvantages and thus has room for improvements, which must happen carefully, so that the idea behind servant leadership does not vanish.
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