Servant Leadership and HPO

Servant Leadership an Idealistic Philosophy or the key to a High Performance Organization (HPO)?

Source: AHOLD Europe – Human Resources Update 12

My name is Servant-Leadership-and-HPO. After my graduation (business Administration at VU University) I became part of the HR Services Support Team. I really like working at Ahold Europe and learning in practice. However, my “scientific heart” is still bouncing. During my graduation I did my master thesis research at the VU medical center in Amsterdam on the topic of Servant Leadership and High Performance Organizations (HPO). Servant Leadership is an idealistic leadership philosophy whereby there is to an extreme extent “bottom up” leadership instead of “top down” by which empowerment, stimulation and trust in the employee is essential. One could argue that the Servant Leader is more concerned about the growth and well-being of the employees, rather than primarily focusing on organizational goals.

A big challenge ahead; the VUmc was implementing this leadership philosophy since 2000, but never measured the effects of their efforts against the organizational performance. Besides, up until now there was no practical or scientific evidence that Servant Leadership would improve organizational performance in order to become a HPO (an organization that achieves financial and non-financial results that are better than those of its peers over a period of at least five to ten years).

André de Waal, one of the biggest management thinkers in the Netherlands, founder of the HPO concept and my personal inspirator guided me through this process. Now almost eight months later, I am still busy with this subject. André and I just finished our article based on my master thesis research, which will be published in the Management&Organization (M&O) yearbook. As a result of this publication André and I will give a workshop during the annual M&O congress on the 24th June in Ermelo. The theme of the congress is “Leadership in Organizations”; a theme which is also very much relevant to Ahold Europe looking at all changes the organization is going through. During the workshop we will discuss the results of my research, what Servant Leadership is and is not and the role of Servant Leadership in creating and sustaining a HPO. I am really proud that my research turned out to be my first publication. If you want to share this “moment of fame” with me you are very welcome to follow my workshop on the M&O congress.

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