Servant leadership is an important concept that has been gaining traction in recent years. It is a type of leadership that is based on the idea that leaders should serve their employees first and foremost. The key qualities of a servant leader involve putting the needs of employees first and fostering a culture of trust.
You need to embody the qualities that make a servant leader successful in order to lead by example.
In this article, we’ll take a look at how you can be a leader your employees look up to. So let’s dive right in!
4 Must-Needed Qualities of a Servant Leader
1. Be their go-to person.
Being a servant leader means showing you’re here for your employees, that they can come to you with any problem they have. That means that you should be open, honest, caring, and humble. If you are not willing to put yourself out there as their go-to person, you will never be able to inspire your team. Here’s what you should do.
You need to be empathetic.
Try to recognize and understand their feelings and be relatable. You don’t want them to think that you’re just some upper-class, order-shouting dictator who observes everyone from behind the desk. They will never be able to open up to you this way.
It can be quite difficult to remember everyone’s name if you’re managing over 100 people, but it’s important to do this. According to a study, forgetting people’s names sends a message that you’re not interested in them. A servant leader cannot afford to put this idea in his team’s minds.
Keep your door open.
Your office door should be open to anyone. Do not ask your secretary to stop anyone unless you’re in a meeting or occupied with something else. Furthermore, in a personalized email or a conference room meeting, you can let everyone know that they can always come directly to you for any work-related problem. This will work wonders in giving you an image of someone who cares.
Be a confidant.
Whether new or old, employees can make mistakes from time to time or may not know how to do a specific task you asked for. Instead of lashing out at them for being incompetent, try to be polite and respectful. Ask them where they’re having a problem and try to solve it. This will tell that employee that if they have a work-related problem that they cannot share with anyone, you are the person to trust. This will also empower your female team members to come to you if they are facing any kind of workplace harassment.
“Leadership is about empathy. It is about having the ability to relate to and connect with people for the purpose of inspiring and empowering their lives.” Oprah Winfrey
2. Encourage ideas.
A servant leader is always open to new ideas, encourages them, and is willing to adapt to change. It’s important that a leader can think outside the box and not get stuck in old ways of doing things. As a servant leader, you have to be willing to try new things in order to keep your organization moving forward. Here’s how to foster a culture of idea-sharing.
By encouraging ideas, we mean you should encourage communication without judgments. Often, many employees do not share what’s on their minds for the fear of being humiliated or judged. Maybe you don’t do these things, but their associates can. So you need to be direct and clear about the no-judgment policy. This will allow everyone to speak their minds freely, even shy or introverted people.
Try to appreciate everyone bringing their ideas to you. Even if you don’t like it, try to politely tell them why you think it might not be the right step. Try to provide them with insights on how they can improve their brainstorming process and give them a pat on the back for hard work.
“The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen.” Simon Sinek
3. Be their steward.
Stewardship is being responsible for your team members’ actions, decisions, and performance. So being a leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure everything that goes on in your organization is in line with its goals.
If anything goes against the goals, you need to set an example by working on fixing things instead of pointing fingers. As a result, this will let employees know that you are there for them if things go wrong. However, you will still make them right their wrongs instead of letting them slide.
“Leaders inspire accountability through their ability to accept responsibility before they place blame.” Courtney Lynch
4. Empower your people to be leaders.
Servant leaders act in the best interests of those they lead. This means that they do what they can to help their employees reach their full potential. You should always be willing to put your employees first when making decisions.
Furthermore, try to let them make decisions…even if they fail. They need to learn the ropes of leadership in the practical field. Also, keep them close to you and let them observe you. This way, they’ll have the concepts of servant leadership instilled in their minds from the start.
“Leaders can let you fail and yet not let you be a failure.” Stanley McChrystal
A Leader Who Serves Their Team is a Leader Who Rules Their Hearts
Leading is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Consequently, it’s a journey that requires dedication, patience, and the ability to guide and empower your team in order to achieve success.
The aforementioned four qualities make up a servant leader no matter where you are in life right now. By developing and embodying these qualities in your own leadership style, you’ll be on your way to being the servant leader in the truest sense of the word.
The best part is that your team members will recognize your efforts and work harder to not disappoint you.
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