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Servant Leadership in Engineering

K&A Engineering’s Core Value of the Quarter is Servant Leadership – and for good reason. Not only is servant leadership a transformational way to empower teams across all businesses, but it is particularly effective in an Engineering setting (and typically underused).

We’ve analyzed the success K&A has experienced after implementing servant leadership as one of its guiding principles. Here’s why a servant leadership approach in an engineering environment works so well.

  1. It prioritizes people over projects. This might seem counterintuitive when it comes to the Engineering field. But projects getting complete on budget and on time require people being motivated and committed to do so. And when employees feel trusted by their managers and empowered to make the best decision on behalf of their organization, they’re also prioritizing their clients’ needs. This is integral when partnering with an engineering firm because clients want to feel heard. There are so many technicalities and nuances when it comes to engineering projects that active listening and collaboration are necessary for success.
  2. It inspires innovation. At the heart of any field relying on new technology, innovation in necessary to solve problems and keep moving forward. When employees feel supported by their managers and a servant leadership style trickles down, frontline employees are inspired to effect change. Afterall, they are the ones who experience the daily happenings in the business; it makes sense that they would inherently produce solutions if they’re encouraged to share their ideas. When their leaders consistently help make their team’s ideas come to fruition, it further solidifies the notion that everyone can have a significant impact on the organization.
  3. It creates organizational agility. Because the engineering field is ever evolving, it’s important for firms to be able to pivot quickly and always remain responsive. Servant leadership gives a certain level of permission and, therefore, power for all employees to accomplish what they think is necessary for success. This means employees act quickly to resolve issues and work in an agile way to meet client needs. It leads to a solution-oriented team that is empowered and comfortable making impactful decisions.

If servant leadership sounds like a principle that could work for you as a leader, here are some tips for implementing it in your engineering organization.

  • Encourage questions – and collaboration on your team. This shows employees they can feel comfortable solving problems in the trenches with you and their peers.
  • Ask your team how you can best support them to do their job well. It proves you trust them to make the best decisions and are there to assist them in moving their ideas forward.
  • Understand what motivates your team. This is important because team members must have a certain level of self-motivation and when it wains, you can encourage them in a way that is most meaningful for them.
  • Prioritize learning and development opportunities for your team. If you’re going to rely on your team to propel your function forward, they must have a passion for continuously gaining knowledge.
  • Have empathy and understanding. A servant leader cares for the whole being of the people on their team – from mental wellbeing to financial security. And partners with them to achieve all their goals.

Servant Leadership is one of the principles that K&A imparts on its leaders and all employees. And it’s one of the reasons our employees rated us a Great Place to Work: 94% of employees at K&A Engineering said it is a great place to work compared to 57% of employees at a typical US-based company. Additionally, 98% noted management trusts people to do a good job without watching over their shoulders. That is the result of Servant Leadership.

If you’re interested in joining an award-winning team, check out our open positions: https://www.kapower.us/careers.