Give away the spotlight: How to lead like a servant28 Aug 2017
Many individuals have a hardwired view of what a ‘strong’ leader is – someone who takes charge, is first on the scene and who everyone else defers to. Leaders, particularly in today’s competitive world, are typically thought of as outgoing, attention-drawing pioneers at the forefront of whatever business they’re in charge of. However, there are more subtle ways of successfully running a team.
Gandhi, Jesus Christ, Mother Teresa – what do all these important figureheads have in common? They were servant leaders. This might initially seem to be an oxymoron, but it is actually possible to be both a leader and a server, even in a large enterprise. Let’s look at the details of this leadership type and determine how individuals looking to be better bosses can benefit from leadership training.
What do all these important figureheads have in common? They were servant leaders.
What does it mean to be a servant leader?
The fundamental principal behind servant leadership is that the traditional workplace hierarchy is thrown out the window. Rather than expecting the employees to serve the employers, these kinds of leaders are eager to serve their teams instead. In exchange, these leaders receive the respect, admiration and loyalty of their workers.
Many well-known thought leaders are in full support of this model. Author S. Chris Evans shines some light on his definition of being a servant leader, and claims it’s the most effective form of leadership:
“I define servant leadership as a person’s dedication to helping others be their best selves at home, work, and in their community,” he explains. “Anyone can serve – and lead – from any position or role in a family, workplace, or community.”
As the title suggests, being a servant leader requires an incredible amount of humility and self-sacrifice. These people are not looking for fame or personal glory – they want to cultivate a collaborative environment in which the employees thrive and carry the business. According to leadership guru Scott Pritchard, servant leaders value diversity of opinion, encourage others, think in the long term, embody humility and foster leadership qualities in others.
What’s it like working with one?
If you’re an employee working under a servant leader, you’re in luck. Rather than claim responsibility for the successes of the team, these types of managers give it all back to their employees. They provide guidance and support, enabling the people working under them to become confident leaders themselves.
The best way to thrive under a servant leader? Take the ball and run with it. Employees operating under these types of people have the opportunity to be independent and innovative – a servant leader will encourage this kind of behaviour.
The best way to thrive under a servant leader? Take the ball and run with it.
How can I become one?
Servant leaders cultivate other servant leaders. Through their actions, these people inspire others to see the value of taking the backseat as a leader. Luckily, this means that if you are a part of an organisation that is run by a servant leader, there’s a good chance you can start becoming one yourself simply by following in their footsteps.
If, however, you’re working somewhere that isn’t led by someone with this style, you might need some help developing a knack for servant leadership. This is where ICML comes in. We provide managers and leaders throughout enterprises with the communication skills training and management training they need to be successful, humble and inspiring leaders.
For more information about ICML’s courses in Melbourne and across Australia, get in touch with us today.