Servant Leadership – their success is your success!
This element of servant leadership is the easiest to comprehend: a leader knows that when their employees succeed, they succeed as well. There is no ‘I’ in team. Once again, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so if one link breaks, the whole chain falls apart. But if every link is strong and capable, then the chain can withstand almost anything. A leader must work with their employees by coaching them (https://vitalsparkconsultancy.co.uk/management-training/coaching-for-results/), guiding them, offering advice and help when needed in order to help them meet deadlines, achieve their goals and grow professionally. As employees succeed and become an asset to the company, leaders will feel the success as well because they will have the satisfaction of knowing that the employee reached success with their help and will continue to do great work under their guidance.
Share the power
For some leaders, learning to share the power can be one of the hardest obstacles they face. After all, leaders are supposed to have a sense of power and use it when they can! But a servant leader knows that when they share the power with their employees, learn to be empathetic and share successes with employees, they in turn gain more power in the end and become an even better leader.
Being empathetic toward employees can seem like an easy concept, but many leaders actually do not practice empathy with their team, which can lead to unhappy employees. Empathy should not be confused with sympathy – empathy allows you to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see how they feel. By being empathetic, leaders are able to share the power by metaphorically getting on the employee’s levels and understanding the problems and challenges they face and how it affects the work they do. It shows the employee that their leader listens to their problems and recognises their efforts, which in turn can actually boost their confidence and create a desire to work harder for their leader.
Be more empathetic:
- Use active listening
- Understand personal challenges or obstacles
- Do not mistake empathy for weakness
Learn to Delegate NOT Dump!
Many leaders have a problem with proper delegation. Many leaders fear delegating tasks because they fear the employee may not complete the task the right way, so the leader develops the old attitude that “if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself”. However, this type of thinking can be harmful to the servant leader and their team of employees. A leader must learn to delegate to not only ensure that they are not doing all of the work themselves, but delegating also instills a sense of trust among the employees when they know that their leader can trust them to do something right.
Tips for delegating:
- Assign the right task to the right person at the right time
- Give clear instructions
- Ensure understanding before releasing
- Follow up in a timely way
- Ensure it’s seen as motivating not de-motivational!
Know when to step in
As a servant leader, it is natural to want to serve our employees and to assist them in every challenge that they face. It’s natural to want to hold their hand at times until they have finally reached their goal. But a leader must also know when they need to step back from the employee and when is the right time to step in and help. Employees should possess the right knowledge and skills (called Growth Levels) to work a task or complete a project. Of course the employee will face challenges or have trouble in some area, but the employee must first try to work out the problem themselves. Although a leader may observe the employee and see when they are challenged, the leader must know that it is appropriate to stand back while the employee works through the problem. Only when the employee cannot progress further or is at a point in which they do not have any skills or knowledge of, can the leader step in and offer help or guidance. It can be a hard balance between letting the employee work on their own to learn more and doing everything with them every step of the way, but a servant leader can find an equilibrium somewhere in between and benefit both the employee and the leader.