Servant Leadership. What is it, and why is it important?
Wikipedia defines servant leadership as both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Servant leadership is NOT about bringing your team coffee daily, dropping off their dry cleaning or picking up their kids. Servant leadership is about teamwork, being fair and recognizing the efforts of others. A great leader knows how to influence and inspire others. Here are six quick ways you can incorporate servant leadership values into your own leadership style.
1) Be part of the team. The servant leader knows their team is their most important asset. The team helps them succeed. “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” Henry Ford.
2) Be humble. This leader understands the importance of being humble and grateful. The servant leader knows that without everyone’s effort, they simply won’t succeed, and they let their team know it. “Gratitude is the sign of noble souls.” Aesop.
3) Develop other leaders. We’ve all probably worked with people who greedily hoarded their knowledge in fear that they would be replaced. A servant leader fosters their teams’ strengths and is there to create other leaders. They know the best way to lead is to create other leaders. “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby.
4) Cultivate the art of persuasion. This leader is able to persuade others with inspiration rather than force. “Because I’m the boss,” may get you what you want, but it won’t honestly inspire others. “Leadership is not about a title or designation. It’s about impact, influence and inspiration.” Robin S. Sharma.
5) Listen. A great leader listens to others. They recognize that everyone offers something unique and wants to hear different points of view. “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully.” Ernest Hemingway.
6) Be worthy of trust. Great leaders do what they say they will do. They do the right thing. “Success is simple. Do what’s right, the right way, at the right time.” Arnold H. Glasow.
People want to work for someone that they trust and they know values their contributions. In the end, we all want to succeed and be recognized. Being a servant leader is a great way to work toward achieving that success.