Leadership- Read These Two Resources
9 Qualities of the Servant Leader
At first blush, you may think a servant leader literally takes on the role of a servant. Taken to an extreme, that definition would look like this:
As you pull into work, the leader meets you at your car, opens your door, and welcomes you to the office. Maybe the leader gets you coffee mid-morning and drops by in the afternoon to see if you need anything. When you need assistance on a project, or maybe just someone to do the grunt work, there your leader is, waiting for you.
No, that isn’t servant leadership.
Servant leadership is a blend and balance between leader and servant. You don’t lose leadership qualities when becoming a servant leader.
9 Qualities of the Servant Leader
- Values diverse opinions
- Cultivates a culture of trust
- Develops other leaders
- Helps people with life issues
- Sells instead of tells
- Thinks you, not me
- Thinks long-term
- Acts with humility
A servant leader is one who:
1. Values diverse opinions.
A servant leader values everyone’s contributions and regularly seeks out opinions. If you must parrot back the leader’s opinion, you are not in a servant-led organization.
2. Cultivates a culture of trust.
People don’t meet at the water cooler to gossip.
3. Develops other leaders.
The replication factor is so important. It means teaching others to lead, providing opportunities for growth and demonstrating by example. That means the leader is not always leading, but instead giving up power and deputizing others to lead.
4. Helps people with life issues (not just work issues).
It’s important to offer opportunities for personal development beyond the job. Let’s say you run a company program to lose weight, or lower personal debt, or a class on etiquette. None of these may help an immediate corporate need, but each may be important.
The hallmark of a servant leader is encouragement. And a true servant leader says, “Let’s go do it,” not, “You go do it.”
6. Sells instead of tells.
A servant leader is the opposite of a dictator. It’s a style all about persuading, not commanding.
7. Thinks “you,” not “me.”
There’s a selfless quality about a servant leader. Someone who is thinking only, “How does this benefit me?” is disqualified.
8. Thinks long-term.
A servant leader is thinking about the next generation, the next leader, the next opportunity. That means a tradeoff between what’s important today versus tomorrow, and making choices to benefit the future.
9. Acts with humility.
The leader doesn’t wear a title as a way to show who’s in charge, doesn’t think he’s better than everyone else, and acts in a way to care for others. She may, in fact, pick up the trash or clean up a table. Setting an example of service, the servant leader understands that it is not about the leader, but about others.
Top 10 Qualities That Make A Great Leader
Having a great idea, and assembling a team to bring that concept to life is the first step in creating a successful business venture. While finding a new and unique idea is rare enough; the ability to successfully execute this idea is what separates the dreamers from the entrepreneurs. However you see yourself, whatever your age may be, as soon as you make that exciting first hire, you have taken the first steps in becoming a powerful leader. When money is tight, stress levels are high, and the visions of instant success don’t happen like you thought, it’s easy to let those emotions get to you, and thereby your team. Take a breath, calm yourself down, and remind yourself of the leader you are and would like to become. Here are some key qualities that every good leader should possess, and learn to emphasize.
Whatever ethical plane you hold yourself to, when you are responsible for a team of people, its important to raise the bar even higher. Your business and its employees are a reflection of yourself, and if you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit.
As we do at RockThe Post the crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs and small businesses I co-founded, try to make a list of values and core beliefs that both you and your brand represent, and post this in your office. Promote a healthy interoffice lifestyle, and encourage your team to live up to these standards. By emphasizing these standards, and displaying them yourself, you will hopefully influence the office environment into a friendly and helpful workspace.
Ability to Delegate
Finessing your brand vision is essential to creating an organized and efficient business, but if you don’t learn to trust your team with that vision, you might never progress to the next stage. Its important to remember that trusting your team with your idea is a sign of strength, not weakness. Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as your business grows. The emails and tasks will begin to pile up, and the more you stretch yourself thin, the lower the quality of your work will become, and the less you will produce.
The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalizing on them. Find out what each team member enjoys doing most. Chances are if they find that task more enjoyable, they will likely put more thought and effort behind it. This will not only prove to your team that you trust and believe in them, but will also free up your time to focus on the higher level tasks, that should not be delegated. It’s a fine balance, but one that will have a huge impact on the productivity of your business.
Knowing what you want accomplished may seem clear in your head, but if you try to explain it to someone else and are met with a blank expression, you know there is a problem. If this has been your experience, then you may want to focus on honing your communication skills. Being able to clearly and succinctly describe what you want done is extremely important. If you can’t relate your vision to your team, you won’t all be working towards the same goal.
Training new members and creating a productive work environment all depend on healthy lines of communication. Whether that stems from an open door policy to your office, or making it a point to talk to your staff on a daily basis, making yourself available to discuss interoffice issues is vital. Your team will learn to trust and depend on you, and will be less hesitant to work harder.
Sense of Humor
If your website crashes, you lose that major client, or your funding dries up, guiding your team through the process without panicking is as challenging as it is important. Morale is linked to productivity, and it’s your job as the team leader to instill a positive energy. That’s where your sense of humor will finally pay off. Encourage your team to laugh at the mistakes instead of crying. If you are constantly learning to find the humor in the struggles, your work environment will become a happy and healthy space, where your employees look forward to working in, rather than dreading it. Make it a point to crack jokes with your team and encourage personal discussions of weekend plans and trips. It’s these short breaks from the task at hand that help keep productivity levels high and morale even higher.
At RockThePost, we place a huge emphasis on humor and a light atmosphere. Our office is dog friendly, and we really believe it is the small, light hearted moments in the day that help keep our work creative and fresh. One tradition that we like to do and brings the team closer is we plan a fun prank on all new employees, on their first day. It breaks the ice and immediately creates that sense of familiarity.
There may be days where the future of your brand is worrisome and things aren’t going according to plan. This is true with any business, large or small, and the most important thing is not to panic. Part of your job as a leader is to put out fires and maintain the team morale. Keep up your confidence level, and assure everyone that setbacks are natural and the important thing is to focus on the larger goal. As the leader, by staying calm and confident, you will help keep the team feeling the same. Remember, your team will take cues from you, so if you exude a level of calm damage control, your team will pick up on that feeling. The key objective is to keep everyone working and moving ahead.
If you expect your team to work hard and produce quality content, you’re going to need to lead by example. There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss down in the trenches working alongside everyone else, showing that hard work is being done on every level. By proving your commitment to the brand and your role, you will not only earn the respect of your team, but will also instill that same hardworking energy among your staff. It’s important to show your commitment not only to the work at hand, but also to your promises. If you pledged to host a holiday party, or uphold summer Fridays, keep your word. You want to create a reputation for not just working hard, but also be known as a fair leader. Once you have gained the respect of your team, they are more likely to deliver the peak amount of quality work possible.