Managers that view their job as serving and supporting their employees, as opposed to controlling and directing them, are employing a management style called “servant leadership.” If you want to be a servant leader yourself, you need to learn how to prioritise your team’s well-being and foster healthy growth in your subordinates.
According to the precepts of servant leadership, the key to getting the most efficient, productive work out of your team members is to ensure that they feel fulfilled, personally as well as professionally. Keeping your employees satisfied is important in servant leadership; fostering collaboration between your team members is also vital.
Servant leadership can be employed in virtually any type of organisation, but it might be most popular with nonprofits.
Managers in more conventional businesses can still learn a lot from the principles of servant leadership according to servant leadership keynote speaker Kurt Uhlir .This management style builds strong teams and creates working conditions that encourage all of your employees to excel. A commitment to servant leadership throughout your business can create an attractive work culture, boost employee morale, and encourage your team members to engage more with their work and their colleagues.
Below, you’ll find nine basic concepts that are vital to being a good servant leader.
1) Be Self-Aware
Being self-aware means paying attention to how your actions and attitude affect the people you work with. If you want to be a good servant leader, you need to maintain a constant awareness of the impact you have on your team — and you need to be as objective as possible about it.
A big part of self-awareness is acknowledging your mistakes and weaknesses. As a leader, you need a good grasp of every team member’s strengths and weaknesses; to be a servant leader, you need the same insight into yourself.
2) Be A Listener
Nobody understands your team’s situation better than your team members. Being a servant leader means paying attention to what they have to say. Make sure every member of the team gets opportunities to share their thoughts. (You should also consider what goes unsaid by your employees!)
Servant leaders pay close attention when their team members are speaking, taking in nonverbal cues as well as spoken words. They gather every possible insight from their subordinates, not interrupting and only offering feedback after taking in everything the team member has to say.
3) Be Persuasive
In more authoritarian management styles, leaders dictate commands to their subordinates and expect them to be obeyed. If you want to be a servant leader, you need to adopt a more persuasive method of guiding your team members. Convince your team that what you want is the best thing to do; help them understand your reasoning and strive to achieve team consensus.
4) Be A Healer
Strong teams need to resolve internal problems as quickly as possible instead of letting them fester. Servant leaders recognize this and step in to help their teams heal when they need to. Disagreements between team members are one common source of internal conflict. A good servant leader feels responsible for healing rifts like these and mediating agreements that satisfy all parties.
5) Be Empathic
Being a servant leader means caring for the personal situations of your team members as well as their professional lives. A happy, fulfilling personal life is a prerequisite for professional excellence, so you should do all you can to support that.
Empathy also means taking an open-minded approach to interactions with your team members. Do everything you can to demonstrate that you care about your team members’ perspectives and circumstances.
6) Be Forward-Thinking
One way you can serve your team is by keeping your eyes on the long-term prospects ahead of them. While your employees get on with their work, you have a responsibility to identify upcoming challenges and plan out strategies to meet them.
The servant leader should also share this “big picture” view with their team members when it’s appropriate. As the team leader, you can increase motivation and understanding by helping your employees understand their contributions to the organization’s larger work.
7) Be Growth-Oriented
A servant leader isn’t interested in just maintaining the status quo. You need to focus your team’s attention on positive growth and encourage it to improve over time. Taking a genuine interest in your team members’ professional development is an excellent way to demonstrate your commitment.
Keep in mind that part of servant leadership is encouraging personal development, too. Your team members may have larger goals of which their professional work is only a part. Respect this distinction and look for ways to bring your team members’ professional goals in line with their personal ones.
8) Be A Role Model
To be a servant leader, you must maintain constant awareness of the responsibilities you have to your subordinates. For the team to work at its highest capacity, the members have to trust you and have confidence in your abilities. You need to earn that trust and confidence — not once, but continually.
Servant leaders lead in the open, personally demonstrating the same level of effort and commitment they expect from their teams. If you expect your team members to work hard and be dependable, you must be the same.
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