One of the challenges my tech clients have to deal with as leaders is how to keep valuable employees engaged and loyal.
With the technology industry moving so fast and new technologies developing all the time, it can be difficult to find and retain the right skills. But delivering successful projects depends on have the right mix of skills and experience in the team.
In previous blogs, I’ve highlighted the importance of becoming an employer of choice as a way of improving your ability to attract skilled staff. Companies like Atlassian, Cisco and Google trade off their reputations as great employers and exciting places to work as a way of maximising their appeal in the marketplace, with the flow-on effect that talented professionals compete for the chance to work there.
Some of my recent learnings have identified the positive impacts when leaders embrace a servant leadership model. Now servant leadership is nothing new. It’s been around for hundreds of years and is a major theme in the Christian bible and various other religious doctrines.
It had a resurgence in popularity in the 1970s after researcher Robert Greenleaf started promoting the benefits of this approach. He identified 10 characteristics of effective servant leaders, including such traits as
- Awareness of themselves and others,
- Good Listening skills;
- High levels of Empathy;
- Persuasiveness and Influence;
- Foresight and Vision;
- Building Community, Commitment to the Growth of others and Stewardship.
Servant leaders demonstrate Respect for others and lead with Humility. They’re not doormats – they are strong, assertive communicators who demonstrate authenticity, value diverse opinions and approaches, and place the team before self.
Companies like ServiceNow, FedEx, Starbucks, Marriott International and KPMG have all gone on the record to about the benefits they derive from a servant leadership approach.
More importantly, independent research studies have also provided concrete evidence of how servant leadership improves business metrics. One study by The University of Illinois’s Chicago Business School recorded:
- 6% increase in job performance
- 8% increase in positive customer service ratings and
- 50% increase in staff retention.
Another study of 154 teams by Professor Sen Sendjaya found that servant leadership boosted employee creativity and team innovation … and what ICT organisation couldn’t use more of that in today’s fast paced world?
If retention is an issue for you, let’s talk about how a servant leadership approach could help to improve employee engagement and deliver real benefits for your organisation.
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