How Servant Leadership Can Bring Trust Back to Human Resources

how servant leadership can bring back trust in human resources Geneva College

Human Resources (HR) is one of the essential functions of a business. This department provides advocacy for employees, ensures each employee has access to and an understanding of the benefits available to them, and acts as a vital part of the executive team that makes decisions that affect employees.

Because of those responsibilities, HR professionals must understand and act out the principles of Christ-like leadership in all of their interactions with the employees they serve. Christ-like (or servant) leadership is the embodiment of the way that Christ himself treated others. In business, servant leadership in human resources creates an environment where employees are empowered to be creative, ask questions, and do their best work, knowing they have the support of their leaders.

What servant leadership looks like
Christ-like leadership is an approach that centers on the people you are leading. Thus, Christ-like leaders always lead with integrity, honesty, openness, and conviction. They look to use their position as a leader to improve both their own life and the lives of the people they are leading.

Servant leaders always look for ways to uplift the people they’re leading and support them in their challenges. They ensure that their employees have the tools and support they need to be successful. Where some leaders may be looking for ways to make themselves more successful, servant leaders focus their energy on making their team more successful, because they understand that their team’s success is also their success.

How Christ-like leadership can improve the HR function
Unfortunately, there is a growing issue in business: many employees do not trust their HR representatives. This lack of trust occurs for a variety of reasons. According to a 2018 article from Forbes, those reasons include a lack of focus on serving employees, a lack of objectivity in HR professionals, and the fact that HR often serves as the bearer of bad news in an organization.

These perceptions lead to employees feeling like HR is there to serve management—not them. This perception can lead to a lot of negative consequences, such as employees not using benefits that would improve performance, not reporting harassment or other inappropriate workplace conduct, and developing an “us vs. them” mentality toward management. Up to 80% of employees surveyed at 18 top tech firms stated that they do not trust HR. It is a genuine issue that businesses have to address.

Christ-like leadership can help address all of these issues because it helps HR put employees at the center of their work. Servant leaders in HR will confidently address issues their employees are encountering, provide them with the support they need, and focus on the employees they are serving, instead of themselves, in all of their actions.

The challenge of implementing servant leadership is that HR professionals have to continually practice being a Christ-like leader and modeling these behaviors for other employees. If they are saying one thing, but behaving differently, employees will see through it, and the relationship between HR and employees won’t improve. 

In a Society for Human Resource Management article about servant leadership, Art Barter, founder and CEO of the Servant Leadership Institute and CEO of Datron World Communications, Inc. says, “As leaders, we can say anything we want, but we’re going to be judged on our behavior.”

Learning Christ-like leadership at Geneva College
For those who want to build a career as an HR professional — and want to ensure that Christian principles are at the center of all they learn—Geneva College’s Bachelor of Professional Studies in Human Resources is the place to start.

At Geneva College, we build all of our classes on a biblical foundation, so you will be prepared to live out the principles of Christ-like leadership both at work and at home. While you learn the foundational principles that will make you an excellent HR professional, you’ll also learn how to apply them in a Christ-centered way. This approach is especially useful for HR professionals, who need to be able to build relationships and uplift the employees they serve.

If you’re ready to begin your bachelor’s degree in HR. We offer small class sizes, online programs, and the chance to build relationships with your professors and fellow students. At Geneva, you can start your career off on the best foot possible!

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