As you all know by now, being a boss does not necessarily make you a leader. And you do not have to be a boss to be a leader. Those lines have blurred a lot more recently.
It takes a lot of passion, dedication, respect, and empathy to be a great leader now. It means being a servant to your people first.
Greenleaf defines the concept of ‘servant-leadership’ as follows:
“A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
Quite the concept, right? In order to be a truly inspired leader, one must step down to let others rise.
Let’s talk about Entrepreneur.com’s list of 4 principles to this type of leadership, shall we? Here are their four ways to foster a better servant leader mindset:
- “Encourage diversity of thought.” Diversity of thought allows for new perspectives and a smarter team as a whole. A great leader is able to recognize that other opinions are far more valuable than copies of one perspective. By having a diverse team, you will be able to foster an environment that people actually want to be a part of. Servant leadership means encouraging those around you to think outside the box and to share all ideas. Power does not rest with solely one person because everyone helps contribute to the thinking and thus creates buy in.
- “Create a culture of trust.” Trust is so easily broken, yet takes a lifetime to earn back once lost. A servant leader creates a safe space for the team to open up, trust, and contribute. This means ultimate transparency and respect. Share knowledge with your team and try not to hide important information about the business as things arise. Communication is so vital– it is also the easiest way to maintain trust amongst each other.
- “Have an unselfish mindset.” Being a leader means giving up your need to be right or first or most important. It’s not about you and it never will be. It’s about your team and what they need from you, from each other, and from the business. Ultimately, as a great leader, you can drive change, but unselfishness is what truly allows you to scale your business and create a long-lasting legacy.
- “Foster leadership in others.” Build up your people. It’s as simple as that. If you grow and foster their development, they will serve the business the way you serve them. Train them to replace you and you will see a much more satisfied, happy, and productive team. Take the time to mentor, coach, or train someone and what how they soar as members of the team and as individual contributors.
It all comes back to vulnerability. I know, I know– how Brene Brown of me to say. Servant leaders offer up pieces of themselves because they can and because they want to. They are transparent and genuine, and they care about their people more than they care about the bottom line. It’s not a weakness to be vulnerable to your team. In fact, it might surprise you how well they respond to that side of you as a human being.