Have you ever been on a team where it seemed that nobody wanted to change? Everyone was comfortable proceeding “as is”. This is a major problem, as people that are stuck in the past are a detriment to future growth and improvement.
Living in the past delays progress.
A servant leader must always be on the lookout for this paralyzing environment. Things you might hear from people stuck in the past include:
- “This is how we have always done it”
- “That won’t work”
- “I’ve already tried that”
- “I’m not qualified to make that decision”
- “It seems to be working just fine the way it is”
If this sounds familiar it is time to take action. A leader’s attitude significantly impacts how a team looks at progress and the need for forward momentum. Servant leaders encourage risk-taking. They challenge people to figure out improved processes and procedures. They provide development opportunities. They treat mistakes and failures as learning opportunities and celebrate successes both big and small.
Servant leaders stay focused on a better future.
Questions servant leaders ask to help the team stay focused on a better future might include:
- “I forgive you. What can we learn from this experience to make it better next time?”
- “We need to increase output by 5%. What needs to be done to make that happen?”
- “I’m sorry. What can I do better to improve this situation?”
- “Do we have best practices that we can apply in other areas?”
- “How will we celebrate when we accomplish this goal?”
- “What are you learning that if you shared would help others grow?”
Servant leaders have an attitude and understanding that status quo is not OK and build an environment that fosters daily improvement. Having an attitude of looking out the windshield instead of the rear-view mirror is contagious. When people know that risk-taking is rewarded, that mistakes are not problems but learning opportunities, and that wins are celebrated, they will want to join the efforts in creating a better future.
How are you doing in driving a better future with your team?
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. Philippians 3:13-15