The most popular topic these days is about leadership. There are thousands of people teaching how to be a leader. You can find online leaders with or without title, leaders with a lot of experience and leaders with no experience. People who never led even a single person are writing and advising seasoned professionals on how to better help team grow and develop.
The topic of leadership is interesting because people can’t say what really a good leader is. In the late 90’s of the past century and early years of the 21st century he leadership paradigm defined leaders as people who are ready to risk everything, people who are ready to run the extra mile to ensure company sustainability and growth. Leaders were seen in these years as people who are goal oriented and they only needed to ensure right people for reaching their goals. Leaders were described as charismatic but harsh persons using every resource to reach their goals.
Then, in the beginning of the 21st century another paradigm turned out from the shadows – the paradigm of the helping leader. This paradigm came to show that leaders are people who are interested in employee’s life, that they don’t harsh hard until the goal is reached, that they show compassion and understanding.
The new era of leadership started with terms as a compassion, understanding and support. These terms were converted from words to actions. Their conversion has grown from a simple statement to large lists of activities, annual strategies and deep analyses of what motivates, engages and retains people in the companies. Leaders were refocused from caring only for the goals to caring for the people.
And that philosophy grew up as the theory of the servant leader – the leader ready to sacrifice his status to help others grow.
But many leaders still associate this help and servant behavior only with material things. They give people joy at work by building for them fun environment (or they think it is fun), by giving flexible perks and ensuring people get what they say they need at the moment they want it.
And employees grow as over satisfied kids who want more and more without even caring of what they have. And then when they give their notice leaders start asking themselves why is a certain employee so ungrateful for what they’ve had in the company.
The problem here is in the hands of the leaders. They tend to be understanding and helpful, but in most cases, leaders miss important parts of the helping others grow paradigm.
If you are trying to become an servant leader ready to stand up and defend people in the team with all their specifics than you need to understand the real value of the servant leadership elements. Here is a list of an expressions and behaviors that can help you in your mission to become the servant leader of tomorrow employees need and want:
- Let others see you serve and encourage them to join you – If you want to see others following you then start with showing to them that you really want to help them, not only you. Make them understand what an impact you can make as team if you work together, but not limited by a leadership layer.
- Make sure they know that you care – People want to see that leaders really care about them. Show them that you care not only about the results, but also about the people working to achieve these results as a person.
- Invest in your people – Investment is a powerful tool that can help you win people to your cause. It comes in a different form, but don’t be limited by investing only in trainings. Invest your time to show people your commitment to their growth.
- Don’t place restrictions on your willingness to serve – People hate to wait. When you limit your willingness to help them only to several areas or time frames, they won’t see you as a developer, but as someone who wants to show them how much he/she differs from them.
- Self-aware – People need to see that they interact with people. They need your share of what you are good at and where you still need to develop. Self-awareness helps them understand you better and also helps you show others that you also develop with them.
- Foresight – this is kind of strange area, but if you want people to trust you about their development then you need to prepare with data on what can happen if they go, or don’t go a certain path with you. Here you can help yourself with making a predictive analyzes for the future and share it with the employees you work with.
- Collaborative – Show people that you are available when they need you. Do not isolate yourself for several topics or cases. Be there where they need you and when they need you and help them with their challenges.
- Humble – Do not use your position to show people that you stay above them in the leadership ladder. Don’t push others to the limit just to show that you have more formal power than them.
- Listen – When an employee shares something with you listen carefully. Show them that you have time to listen to their problems with understanding.
- Trusting –Leaders who support others trust in their decisions and support them. Be the one that supports employees’ actions without criticism and readiness to stop them at any time when you don’t feel comfortable.
- Integrity – Openness and honesty boost employees’ powers for success. Try to be as honest as you can to them, without hiding information or put on hold a feedback that can help employees further raise their self-awareness and plan and execute for success.
- Don’t Abuse Authority – One of the most common mistakes of the weak leader is to go ahead with authority. Don’t go in the way execution of a certain task or a project with your hierarchical position power. This can be accepted as a rude and arrogant behavior and your act can cause disengagement and low motivation. If you want to change something in the way employee works try with explaining why you want this change and to what will it bring.
- Coach – Most leaders – seasoned or not – are tempted to give solution to a problem that arises. Yes, maybe you have the experience, but you won’t help neither you or your employees if you always give them solution. Instead of giving the solution try to help employees reach their own decision by only helping them through the way with questions and proposals for directions.
- Result oriented – Employees are committed to achieve results. They don’t want to sit in one place and wait for your attention, just to receive the next task or project. If you are weak and slow your employees will either copy your behavior or quit. You need to show others that you appreciate results and that you want to achieve them. In short if you need result-oriented people show them an example they can follow.
- Resolve Conflict – Employees need you to be there when a conflict arises. If you step back in a tuff situation then you show them that conflicts are tolerated. Step into the conflict with the intention to solve it and restore balance. Show employees how you want them to act if a conflict arises.
If you want to further succeed you need to adapt new styles and techniques. Developing together with your team is the new paradigm of the growing leaders and companies. The paradigm of the servant leadership can upgrade your knowledge and skills and make you successful in the fas changing world of today and tomorrow challenges and opportunities. Results are now a function of leader behavior to their employees. If you miss that important detail you will find it harder and harder to stay at the top and your company will soon become a B player at the field. You need to make investments in the leadership to keep yourself on the A players level and keep your winner position in the 21st century.