Great leadership starts at the top but those people did not just appear. They were once individual contributors who demonstrated one or more trait that caused others to want to follow them. As Jeff Boss discussed in his article, “How Servant Leaders Fill the Gap“, these people stepped in and filled a gap to make others believe in them as helpers genuinely concerned about the success of others.
It was more than the expertise, brilliance, assertiveness and/or finances that made people want to flock to them. The attraction to their leadership style was the ability to influence others based on the following 7 reasons:
People who serve others are non-judgmental and respectful of others’ challenges and circumstances. They have an understanding of how obstacles can be overcome. They find a way to help others get through the roadblocks as if it was their personal experience. It is important to those who serve others to be the person that is called upon in the time of need.
This establishes the trust that this person will not reveal confidential information and will give helpful advice. Solid leadership is exhibited by those who have empathy which translates to a natural influence over others.
People who help others are not out of touch with reality. They are not hung up on themselves with a false ego that makes them unlikable or unreachable. When you are focused on helping others, it is not about you; it is about the person(s) you are serving.
There are enough frauds in the world. Those who serve have to be real with the ones they are serving. It provides the unequivocal relaxed atmosphere needed to be genuine and transparent in a safe environment. Leaders who have operated in this fashion as servants create the trusted environment for others to be comfortable with their vision and strategy.
Carrying someone’s bags, coat, purse, briefcase, coffee, meal, etc. is considered a privilege for those who are grateful for the opportunity to serve someone with a higher professional, political or financial status. Humility will cause you to roll up the sleeves, get dirty, stay up all night, work on the weekend and do whatever it takes to complete a job to your satisfaction.
Servant leadership puts the needs of the organization over the needs of the leader. Leaders who remain humble are focused on the outcome of the organization and team and will risk themselves to uplift the group for success. The people who eventually follow this leadership regime are trustworthy and reliable.
Focus is key in making sure others are taken care of in any capacity. There can’t be distractions that keep the servant away from serving the individual to the fullest needs. Servants will often be in the midst of the positive and negative discussions regarding those they serve. Servants have to weed out the noise and focus on the task. Great leadership ignores the noise and is not distracted from the purpose.
Servants are mini project managers and understand what it takes to accomplish anything assigned to them. This translates well into leadership because these future leaders will understand what tasks need to happen and the right people capable of handling them. Further these people know when oversight is needed. Be careful with this one because good leadership will also force accurate reasoning to scale back and delegate to others.
6. Work Ethic
Whatever it takes! No sleeping, eating, extracurricular activities, phone conversations, Internet browsing or company picnics/gatherings is an accepted mantra in the servant’s perspective. The respect for the work is more important than any other accolade.
The servant that cannot be outworked is the leader who will not be outworked and will have high expectations to outperform himself. He thrives off of the competition with himself to be better in every aspect. Leadership viewed as dependent upon hard working individuals is highly respected. By default, it causes others to work hard as well.
There will be downtime and free time. The servant knows how to balance that correctly to get ahead of the needs of those being served. Self-discipline increases the foresight of anticipation. This can counteract any issues that can be the result of last-minute and potentially chaotic decision-making. Great leaders know the difference between right and wrong and good and bad and will implement the self-discipline required to balance effectively to ensure there are minimal crises.
Leadership is in your future with these seven transferable skills. If you are helping or serving someone right now, this is just the start from the bottom to soon be on top!
Written Temeko Richardson is a management consultant with two decades of experience in devising corporate strategy, architecting operations, and advising C-suite executives and leaders at Fortune 500 companies. She created Run Life’s Course™, a program that encourages participants to deter life’s and business’ challenges through discipline, diligence, definition, and discernment.