Servant Leadership: How leaders can put their employees first


Servant Leadership: How leaders can put their employees first

By , September 12, 2022
servant leadership & employee ownership - succession plus

The term ‘servant leadership’ is often referred to by management consultants and also appears in some of the academic literature covering employee ownership. But it is often misunderstood. For me, the definition, originally outlined by Robert Greenleaf, can be summarised by six key ideas:

  1. Leadership is not about controlling people; it’s about caring for people and being a useful resource for people.
  2. Leadership is not about being a boss; it’s about being present for people and building a community at work.
  3. Leadership is not about holding onto territory; it’s about letting go of ego, bringing your spirit to work, being your best and most authentic self.
  4. Leadership is less concerned with pep talk’s and more concerned with creating a place in which people can do good work, can find meaning in their work, and bring their spirits to work.
  5. Leadership, like life, is largely a matter of paying attention.
  6. Leadership requires love.

Some well-known examples of servant leadership include Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr and Mother Teresa.

To become a servant leader, you can start by working on the following 10 characteristics:

  • Listening.
  • Empathy.
  • Healing.
  • Awareness.
  • Persuasion.
  • Conceptualisation.
  • Foresight.
  • Stewardship.

As you can see above, the Servant Leadership philosophy appears to go hand in hand with employee ownership, building your people up for the betterment of not only themselves but the business they are working for. If you’d like to discuss implementing an employee ownership model into your business, please get in touch.

Craig West

Craig West

Executive Chairman | Succession Plus

Craig West is a strategic accountant with over 20 years of experience advising business owners. His background as a CPA in public practice has provided invaluable experience in the key issues of concern to business owners.

In March 2014, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of the SME Association of Australia, Australia’s largest small business organisation representing over 300,000 business owners.

In October 2014, he was awarded the Exit Planner of the Year at the Exit Planning Institute Annual Conference in Texas, USA, due to his innovative development of an exit planning process to help business owners maximise business value and achieve a successful exit.

Craig’s proprietary structure - a Peak Performance Trust - has won the Australia-wide award for the Employee Share Ownership Plan of the year twice in four years.

In November 2018, Craig launched SME Experts in partnership with Mark Bouris’ Mentored on Podcast One and quickly grew the monthly podcast audience to over 26,500 downloads; in October 2019, he released a new podcast focused on medium-sized businesses - Mid-Market Matters.

In July 2021, Craig joined the NSW Committee for STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners) – focusing on advising families across generations.

Craig has also launched a SaaS platform, Capitaliz (which captures the 21-step process), to assist other advisers internationally deliver advisory services at scale.

In November 2021, Craig was appointed Executive Chairman of NSW Leaders, a business mentoring group for leading NSW businesses.

In July 2022, Craig West received the award of Doctor of Business Administration for his research thesis titled “Examination of the key factors driving business exit options in Australian Small and Medium Enterprises.”

Craig is passionate about encouraging business owners to think strategically, maximise the value of their business and achieve a successful exit.

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