Leadership is not about telling people what to do. A true leader shares power, puts the needs of others first, and helps people develop and perform at their highest level. We call this servant leadership. Here are seven things leaders do, and why they are important:
1. They sell, they don’t tell. Servant leaders persuade others with inspiration, not force. A forceful approach may get you what you want in the short term, but it won’t inspire others. A title doesn’t make you a leader. The ability to have an impact, to influence, and to inspire does.Servant leader persuade others with inspiration, not force. Click To Tweet
2. They value diverse opinions. Servant leaders listen to others. They recognize that everyone has something unique to offer. They want to hear different points of view. In meetings, they solicit input from the more reserved team members, who are often silenced by the more outgoing team members.Servant leaders listen to others. Click To Tweet
3. They are humble. Servant leaders understand the importance of being humble and grateful. They know that without everyone’s effort, they simply won’t succeed. They consistently thank their team members, individually and collectively. A servant leader makes a conscious effort to catch people doing things right.Servant leaders are humble and grateful. Click To Tweet
4. They create a culture of trust. Servant leaders do what they say they will do, and they’re dedicated to doing the right thing. When the team fails, they accept the blame. When the team succeeds, they credit the team. They feel the tension between the needs of the bigger organization and the needs of the team and they seek balanced solutions.Servant leaders seek balanced solutions. Click To Tweet
5. They see themselves as part of the team. Servant leaders know their team is their most important asset. The team helps them succeed. When the situation dictates, they roll up their sleeves and help get the job done. If some of the team is working overtime, they show up to support the team.Servant leaders value their team. Click To Tweet
6. They develop other leaders. Servant leaders don’t hoard knowledge in fear that they might be replaced. They know the best way to lead is to create other leaders. They don’t want to be the bottleneck to the team’s success. They allow their team members to present, to give them exposure.Servant leaders lead to create leaders. Click To Tweet
7. They think long term. Servant leaders focus on both the immediate task at hand and the important but “not urgent” activities needed for a healthy organization. They spend a great deal of their time sharing what they learn, helping others through things like career counseling and recommending new ways of doing things.
We all want to succeed and be recognized. Being a servant leader is a great way to work toward creating a positive and productive work environment others want to be part of.
Walt Grassl is a speaker, author, and performer. He hosts the radio show, “Stand Up and Speak Up” and has performed stand-up comedy at the Hollywood Improv and the Flamingo in Las Vegas.