It is natural to think that a culture of servant leadership might be “soft”, and primarily just focused on making sure that people are cared for, and the primary objective is to make sure everyone is happy.
Servant leaders certainly do care for their people, and focus on creating a positive environment for their people to work in. But they are definitely not “soft”!
High performing servant leaders know that they must create an environment of unrest, one in which people know that status quo is not OK. They know that they must constantly “raise the bar” on expectations so that they, their people, and their organization are constantly improving their performance.
To effectively raise the bar you must get the right people on the team. Insuring that you have people that are high performers from both a technical performance and values performance standpoint is the most important aspect of having a high performing organization.
Next, servant leaders insure that they measure the key drivers of their business. It is important to keep score so that you know if in fact you are improving in those key areas that drive success within your business.
Metrics are very important to people’s engagement in their work as well. How long do you think you would bowl, if there was a sheet hanging midway down the alley, which didn’t allow you to see how many pins you knocked down, and the electronic scoreboard was shut down? I am guessing not long, as it would not be any fun, not knowing how well you were doing.
The same is true in business. People want to know how they are doing. It is fun, knowing that you are having a good day, and driving improvement for the organization.
Servant leaders also insure that everyone within their sphere of influence knows what a good day looks like. Their people know what it means to get an “A”.
Servant leaders take people to places where they wouldn’t normally be able to get to on their own. They raise expectations, and hold themselves and their people accountable for the achievement of those expectations.
How are you doing in your efforts to constantly drive improvement within your area of responsibility?
Mark Deterding works with leaders to help them develop core servant leadership capabilities that allow them to lead at a higher level and enables them to achieve their God-given potential. He does this through clear communication, empowering and developing people to allow them to succeed. He values relationships as well as results, and works to embody his values in all decisions and actions. For more information visit: https://triuneleadershipservices.com/
Nice column. We often run into people who believe servant leadership is soft. To the opposite, I believe it to be the hardest journey. To have A Heart for Service and A Head for Results creates a potential paradox, but time has proven that taking care of employees and stakeholders first ultimately takes care of the results. In the same fashion, choosing to be servant first results in a better form of leadership. So, we choose the hard journey and life is meaningful.
Philip, you are so right! Data would illustrate that driving a culture of servant leadership within an organization leads to significantly better results than the norm. So why wouldn’t everyone want that, and achieve it. Well as you say it is an extremely hard journey. However, there is nothing more significant than taking that journey and committing to a life of servant leadership. Thanks for your heart for servant leadership and all you do to advance those principles!