Leaders are pressed for more and more over time. Whether it is increased competition, technological changes or culture changes leaders simply cannot avoid being asked to give more. With these increased demands and higher stress levels leaders on all levels must develop new ways of engaging and inspiring teams of employees. Being a servant leader can be challenging, but the rewards are worth it.
Over the years I have been fortunate enough to have worked with a couple leaders that embraced the idea of Servant Leadership. These leaders helped me understand that there is no better way to win than by leading with your heart and developing a competitive advantage. Here are a few things that have stayed with me:
Customer-centered goals – to improve the customer’s quality of life simply fuels the heart. Fueling the brain is done by talking about what needs to be done from a business standpoint. If we can shift the focus to winning by making a difference you can fuel both the brain and the heart.
Give the gift – one of the leaders that I worked with often spoke of giving the gift of self-confidence. Letting others know that you believe in them can be transformational. For example, telling someone: “ I have great confidence in you and what you can do!” Offered during especially tough times, these words can empower people to make bold decisions that have a positive impact on the organization.
Talk straight – simply stated, straight talk should be the universal language we use to conduct ourselves and business. One of the leaders I was fortunate to have met along the way employed the strategy in dealing with his teams. This approach led to more solution-based conversations and led to more positive outcomes. He had a way of communicating the unfiltered truth about the challenges we all faced. The result was increased loyalty and new ways of generating feasible solutions.