Servant leadership is a leadership style in which the goal of the leader is to serve those around them. It is different from the traditional leadership style where the leader’s main focus is profits and growth.

With differing needs in the workplace, a “one leader to rule all’ does not meet the need of the future workforce who are looking to be “part” of something not just a cog in a wheel.

Traditional leadership depends on the use of perceived power and hierarchy, whereas servant leadership puts your focus firmly on what’s best for the people that work alongside you.

No longer should we be using terms like human resources or human capital. But see those that we serve as part of the journey towards purposeful outcomes and success. If we create people-driven businesses through servant leadership by very definition, we create companies that serve and generate better outcomes.

The accountants no longer define success through numbers, but our people through continuous growth and development, nurturing, and open communication will actually drive successful businesses.

As a leader it requires a shift in mindset and to serve first, you benefit as well as your employees in that your employees experience endless personal growth, while the business naturally grows and evolves through increased engagement and a sense of purpose.

Servant leadership is driven by a key set of skills and mindset adopted by those who lead. It isn’t a case of just being a bit nicer and saying yes to every demand, but an awareness that you are dealing with people and their most basic needs allows you to understand where they stand and where their passions lie.

As a leader, it’s dangerous to expect your team to care as much as you do about your business, but that doesn’t mean they can’t care enough to make a huge difference. Your job as a leader is to bring the best out of people and put them in a position to succeed in both their work and personal lives.

There are a few things that you need to have in your leadership toolbox to develop your servant leadership style:

  1. Look at your motivators – are you passionate about developing talent?
  2. Are you self-aware and do you expect the standards of yourself as the same as those that work alongside you?
  3. Be humble. You are not supposed to know everything.
  4. Do what you say you are going to do.
  5. Focus on results but share why you are trying to achieve them.
  6. Always be looking ahead for bumps in the road to protect your team.
  7. Listen to hear not to respond.
  8. Ask for help and praise those who know better.
  9. Coach all day every day but set expectations.
  10. Be vulnerable but not weak. Show you are a person too but also lead with conviction to provide confidence.

Being a servant leader does not mean you are a slave to your team’s needs; in fact, it’s the total opposite. It is being aware of them and guiding them, which creates growth and positive outcomes for all parties.

Servant leadership infographics

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