Is Servant Leadership that simple? For Yoda, yes, but it takes effort. Servant Leaders live to serve those around them by intentionally making sure everyone within their sphere of influence has the skills, knowledge and resources needed to be their best. It’s a”givers gain” mentality – Put your energy into helping others and results happen naturally.
As a leader, when you put your energy toward serving the people on your team, your team rewards you by performing at a higher level, increasing their engagement, and providing superior service to your customers. When you become a Servant Leader people want to be on your team, want to collaborate with you, and want to give you resources that you need to be successful. Sounds great right? Here’s the catch, the biggest challenge in becoming a Servant Leader is our ego. If you’re truly interested in becoming a Servant Leader you need to check your ego at the door, become intentional, and make building trust your first priority. Here’s how…
Ego is the wild monster in all of us. And we all have one. From power trips, grudges, holding information, political sabotage, and/or simply being a disservice to yourself because you don’t want to potentially make someone you don’t like feel good. Wow, did I open up anyone’s ego closet? Here’s the deal: Great Servant Leaders still have egos they’ve just learned how to tame them. First things first, acknowledge that you have an ego. Second, accept the fact that it gets in the way. Once you acknowledge and accept your ego you can move forward and start becoming a Servant Leader. If you don’t take the time to get your ego in check your attempt toward Servant Leadership will appear self-serving.
Being a Servant Leader takes great intention. Remember, the premise is about helping people around you be the best they can be–that takes conscious effort. As a Servant Leader you need to intentionally create opportunities to serve others. For a leader of a team this may be intentional conversations with each employee on a daily basis, weekly one-on-one meetings, or frequently and consistently seeking feedback on how you can serve your team more effectively. A Servant Leader believes their primary responsibility is to intentionally eliminate roadblocks for employees and others around them regardless of their “job description or title”.
Last but not least is TRUST. Servant Leaders have trust in others and others have trust in them. Remember, it’s a “givers gain” mentality. The pure essence of Servant Leadership is about building trusting relationships. That’s the point! When you become a Servant Leader people want to be on your team, want to collaborate with you, and want to give you resources that you need to be successful because they trust you. Employees perform at a higher level, increase their engagement, and provide superior service to customers because you trust them to do their job. Building trust is the final step and it takes effort. To achieve trust, you need to tame your ego and intentionally serve others consistently. Trust doesn’t happen overnight and it’s the ultimate measurement of great leadership.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.