You’ve very likely heard the phrase Servant Leader before. It’s been around for at least 50 years after being first coined in 1970. And after reading an article or two on it, you’ve found it to be an agreeable notion. Trouble is, how can you build that agreeable notion or approach into your daily game? And is it worth it? And does it make sense in amongst the relentless pressures and expectations of your day?
Well for one, if you’re curious about (and hopefully you are) you simply need to stop and take stock. Adopting a servant leader approach today is the single most important thing you can do to effect positive impact on your business, large, super-large or small.
Don’t think of it being a U-turn or a 180° on your credibility as a leader. And while we’re on it, a ‘Leader’ can honestly be anyone tasked with the responsibility of nurturing people success - and that includes managers, supervisors, directors - whatever. And in every respect, it applies to every team member too.
First and foremost being a servant leader is all about supporting those in your care and less about managing them. Providing strong direction, the tools for the tasks, and a safe and supportive environment remain your responsibilities. But so does ensuring that your people understand that you are serving and supporting their needs emotionally and rationally to succeed - in fact, it’s the single most important attribute of a servant leader. And your stakeholders and shareholders will thank you for it too.
Why? Today’s world is more connected than we realise and appreciate. And we’re not talking solely technology here. As we begin to move past and learn to live with covid, people will continue to be the most precious asset in any business. Yes - it’s awkward and seemingly dismissive to think as people as assets, but as a measure of value - even the sums, numbers and ‘bottom-lines’ will show that engaged well served and supported people always make a strong difference in business performance. Right now, people are making decisions on which businesses will provide them with best ‘environment’ to succeed and realise their full potential. These are not selfish equations being made here. We’re not talking cynically here about ‘free-loaders’ or anyone looking for an ‘easy-ride’ either - instead we are talking about a servant leadership culture evidenced at every degree across a business that attracts, nurtures and retains like-minded people, where the principles of servant leadership and the inherent opportunities for success are very visible. Like having a choice and a voice in how people can win, and eat, sleep and succeed - well. Look at it if you will from a customer-centricity perspective. Customers are people, they share the same hopes and dreams as your people and you. Bringing well supported people together to face-down challenges and succeed together is the best kind of commercial success, ever.
Put it another way, everyone’s looking for the same thing - like light in the darkness, that brightens, grows nurtures and enriches the human experience. Being emotionally and rationally connected with all the people that look to you, is crucial to your success too. That’s the job of a servant leader, and in fact it’s no ‘job’ at all: it’s an exhilarating privilege.