Watching King Charles’ investiture and listening to the promises he made to the people of the UK, got me thinking again about servant leadership.
At its core, servant leadership is an approach to leadership that prioritises serving the needs of others and empowering them to achieve their potential. It’s grounded in the belief that leaders should be empathetic, compassionate, and humble, putting aside their own ego to focus on the well-being and development of their people.
This style of leadership promotes a culture of trust, collaboration, and mutual respect within a team, and creates a sense of belonging and psychological safety, with team members feeling valued and appreciated.
As a result, team members are more motivated, more likely to engage in open communication, to share ideas and feedback, and to work together to achieve common goals. All of which is good for business, as this collaboration and trust lead to increased innovation, productivity, and a happy work environment.
And there are other benefits too – when leaders prioritise the growth and development of their team members, they create an environment where individuals feel supported to take risks, learn from their mistakes, and grow in their roles. This culture of continuous improvement and personal development helps a business to stay ahead of the competition and remain relevant in their industry.
Of course servant leadership is not a new concept – it’s been embraced by leaders throughout history – think Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, who all put the good of ‘their people’ before their own comfort and needs. It’s the polar opposite of what we see in many of world leaders today, autocratic leaders who are fully focused on what’s best for themselves to the detriment of their people.
While servant leaders bring everyone together through their straightforward honesty and focus on a shared common goal, talking in terms of ‘we’ and ‘us’ and helping every individual in their team to thrive and fulfil their potential; autocratic leaders inspire fear and division, creating an ‘us’ and ‘them’ culture of selfishness and suspicion, which keeps their team reliant on them, feeling insecure and afraid to make a mistake.
Think about your own approach to leadership…
Are you servant leader, autocrat, or somewhere in between? Do you have ‘staff’ who work ‘for’ you and do what they’re told, or ‘team members’ who take ownership for their role and work ‘with’ you to achieve a common goal?
And what about any junior managers you may have? What’s their approach? And what impact are they having on your team and their engagement in your business?
Definitely something to think about, and always something to work on, because you never stop learning as a leader!
Talking of which…why not spend the next couple of minutes with the Be a Better People Manager Scorecard to identify and prioritise what you need to work on to become the people manager and leader your team will want to follow!