SERVANT LEADER.

Posted on July 21, 2021 · Posted in Blog, General, Memo Plus Gold, Personal

The term “servant leadership” has been around for decades, referring to a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organizations, and ultimately creates a more just and caring world.

When first introduced, servant leadership was a revolutionary concept, as most people followed the more traditional command-and-control leadership model.

Instead of telling people what to do, the role of servant leaders is to make sure that their team’s needs are being met. They focus on helping individuals make better decisions and be more innovative.

CHARACTERISTICS OF SERVANT LEADERS.

While traditional leadership is focused on helping an organization thrive, servant leaders put the needs of their employees first. They focus on developing individuals who perform their best.

Good listening skills.

Often leaders are valued by their power, decisiveness, and communication skills. But active listening is more important to a servant leader. They understand the needs of the overall group and listen more than they talk.

Empathy.

This is a key part of connecting with others. Servant leaders can consider a situation from others’ points of view. They truly feel and understand the impact something is having, and this drives the decisions and actions that they make.

Awareness.

This kind of leader is tuned in to what is going on around them. They are situationally aware, in terms of understanding issues involving ethics and values, and strategically aware of how individual actions affect the big picture. They are also more self-aware, from an emotional intelligence standpoint, and understand their own strengths and weaknesses.

Selflessness.

Servant leaders put others first because they realize it is not about their agenda and how they look, but instead about leading other people succeed. If others succeed, then the whole company is successful.

Encouragement.

It is important to understand that people are more likely to perform better if they are led by someone that is nurturing and encouraging. Praise and encouragement can go a long way and are far more effective than punishment and negative feedback.

Openness to new ideas.

A servant leader values different opinions and do not punish people for disagreeing or sharing their opinion. They encourage everyone to be candid and focus on what people are saying and then they evaluate that.

SERVANT LEADERSHIP IN THE WORKPLACE.

Now that we have looked at the characteristics that successful servant leaders possess, let us look at how to apply servant leadership at an organization.

Leading by example

Servant leaders do not think of themselves as bosses, instead they see their roles as stewards. They are guiding the ship and focusing on the well-being of their people, including the resource teams that are needed to be successful. They are also not afraid to get in the trenches and do the work alongside their employees. They take responsibility for things that happen within the company. A servant leader leads by example by demonstrating the values and behaviours that they want to see in others and speak to those that are not aligned to those values.

Cultivating trust

What makes open communication work in a company being run by servant leaders is that there is a strong trust built between everyone. Trust means that a leader’s actions will be based on servant principles and will be the same every time.

Collaboration

Servant leaders are great at making their teams feel like they matter. Encouraging their teams to work together, innovate, and share their opinions shows them that they are heard and appreciated. This can motivate teams to put their best effort, and often results in higher quality work. Sitting down with small focus groups of employees from across the company and listening to their ideas is a great way to facilitate feedback and allow all teams to be heard and feel like they are making a collective difference.

Forward-thinking

A servant leader is a forward thinker. They look at what they have learned in the past and how it has affected the present and could affect the future. Thinking long term helps look at what the company can become and allows decision-making about changes for the future.

Accountability

Traditional leaders believe that they are only accountable to their superiors, if they even think they are accountable at all. Servant leaders, on the other hand, are accountable to everyone in the organization. They welcome feedback on their performance and want to improve their leadership.

Continuous improvement

Servant leaders are committed to the growth of every employee. They want what is best for them and this includes developing other servant leaders. They hold employees accountable for their performance and development.

Typical leaders assume that people automatically know how to do their job once they are hired. Servant leaders view people as an important resource to be invested in and they equip people with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be effective and fulfill their potential. Training and continuous learning are key parts of that. And they take it a step further and often help employees with issues outside of the workplace.

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