Servant Leadership Workplace-Freedom

Freedom in the Workplace

If you could only choose one word to describe what servant leadership brings to the workplace, what word would you pick?

Me? I might pick freedom.

Here are 10 workplace freedoms I’ve enjoyed when working with servant-leaders:

  1. Freedom to Implement. Surveys show that these are the top three workplace frustrations: (1) micromanagement, (2) micromanagement and (3) micromanagement. Servant-leaders usually leave the implementation to those who do the implementing.
  1. Freedom to Accomplish. It feels good to accomplish a goal and it feels bad to have goals changed in midstream. Servant-leaders know the importance of allowing those whom they lead to finish what they start.
  1. Freedom to Fail. In today’s business world, innovation is often necessary for survival. To create conditions that produce innovation, servant-leaders don’t punish failure, they learn from it; servant leaders know when to embrace failure as part of the creative process.
  1. Freedom to Grow. People who can’t grow in the workplace become disengaged or they quit. Both cases are costly. Servant-leaders focus on the growth and development of people – and reap great benefits in doing so.
  1. Freedom to Have Fun. Show me a high-performing workplace and, nine times out of ten, I’ll show you an environment where people enjoy themselves. A servant-leader knows that fun is both a cause and a consequence of high performance.
  1. Freedom to Go Home. People get tired at the end of a long day, a long week or a long month. People have families and occasional obligations outside the office. The servant-leader allows team members to go home when they need to go home.
  1. Freedom to Dream. Nothing great happens without a dream. More than a dream is necessary, but the dream must be there first. Servant-leaders encourage the dreaming of great dreams at work.
  1. Freedom to Dissent. Servant-leaders create the environment where any team member feels comfortable to dissent. Indeed, servant-leaders often encourage dissent as a way of finding the best ideas. They discourage groupthink.
  1. Freedom to Be Different. The workplace is filled with external diversity and internal diversity – especially diversity of thought. Servant-leaders value diversity and recognize that diverse teams can be especially innovative.
  1. Freedom to Take Opportunities. Servant-leaders want the best for others. In developing team members, servant-leaders willingly prepare them for great opportunities – even for opportunities outside the company. In so doing, servant-leaders breed fierce loyalty. They often have minimal employee turnover on their teams.

Robert K. Greenleaf offered this “best test” of a servant-leader in his landmark 1970 essay, The Servant as Leader: “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?”

I am sure we could add more freedoms to this list. What would you add?