The traditional view of leadership careers is rapidly changing in the complex and global world of business. One form of management that is gaining popularity in the worlds of business and academia is servant leadership.
Servant leadership is the recognition that the way that we are behaving as leaders influence the behavior of our employees. It has become one of the fastest growing trends in leadership and management circles.There are many qualities of servant leadership but these five are at the core of this way of life:
Check your ego at the door
According to the article “How to Become a Servant Leader”, Servant Leadership is a way of life that influences and encourages people to serve others first. This means that those who are interested in careers that involve team leads and upper management have to learn to put the needs of stakeholders before your own career advancement. Stakeholders are employees, customers, and those in your supply chain, not just the needs of stockholders.
Don’t Know, Ask
You should be comfortable asking your employees “What do you need from me to be successful in your job?” In my sales management positions, I constantly asked this question. Sometimes the answer was extravagant, like a day care center, sometimes it was simple, such as more flexibility in closing deals. Your employees are “on the frontlines” five days a week, their perspective can can be vital to company success.
Give Credit to the Team
Shalija Purohit explains an all too familiar scene in management. Many managers take credit for success and blame the employees for mistakes. An effective manager does the opposite. Careers based on taking the credit can be lonely when your employees don’t trust you. An effective manager needs the trust of those on their team to get the job done quickly and efficiently.
Give Employees Room to Grow
An important part of learning is making mistakes. Don’t be afraid to let employees try to perform a taks a different way or explore a new idea. I am always encouraging peole under me to try new things, you never know when the next great idea will come along.
Favoritism Isn’t Allowed
You are not going to like everyone you work with. This doesn’t mean that you can let your opinion of a person color your judgement. You don’t need to like someone to respect their qualities as an employee. And if those on your team see you are a fair leader they are less likely to begrudge assignments or fight amoungst themselves.
Careers in leadership include more than just managerial positions and these 5 qualities of an effective manager are beneficial for anyone who seeks a leadership role where they work. Many business schools now encourage servant leadership skills in their programs, but anyone can exhibt these charaterstics. Just remember to treat others fairly and how you want to be treated and you are on your way to becming a servant leader.