I am passionate about a concept called Servant Leadership; it’s a style that is almost opposed to the standard thinking of what leadership should be. Many people think that being the leader gives you power and control and yet Servant Leadership is about serving and sacrifice. If you imagine the standard corporate structure with the CEO at the top and take that structure and turn it upside down, the CEO is now sitting at the bottom and sees themselves as the chief servant. Their role is to serve their executive team to ensure they have everything they need to maximize their ability to serve their managers and staff, who in turn will have everything they need to optimise their ability to serve their customers. How important does the customer feel if they know they are sitting at the top of your corporate structure?
Too often we wonder why our staff members are not achieving their potential. As a Servant Leader the answer is more about what you can do to have a greater impact on that staff member achieving their potential. Do they have all the tools they need to complete their tasks efficiently and effectively? Do they have the resources they need, and the knowledge or skills required to achieve their task.
Here’s a simple example of Servant Leadership. When I started with Bartercard I asked our Administration Manager what I could do to help maximise his ability to perform his role. His answer was simple; he needed a new computer capable of processing a lot faster. When I looked at how long his current computer was taking to process even a simple spreadsheet I could see his point and so he got his new computer.
Have you ever asked your staff what they need from you to improve their performance? You might be surprised at the answers. Let me challenge you today to ask them this simple question. Start with your most senior manager, if you have one, and teach them to ask the same. Take your first steps to becoming a Servant Leader and watch your people thrive.
Author: Paul Bolte, President and CEO Bartercard USA.