In this blog post
People Management through Servant Leadership
Many of you might have heard a famous line from the popular Hindi movie, ‘Chennai Express’, “Never underestimate the power of a common man”.
I personally believe in this and will emphasize on another powerful quote by Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
This is the statement which drives me. No matter what, we should have a mindset that we can impact the world in the smallest possible ways. This cannot be achieved by a single person but a like-minded team. But how do we achieve it?
We have heard organizations talk about 100% productivity, but I say we can get 10x productivity if there is commitment from the employees. When the team is committed, the sky becomes the limit. The world has become more complicated with the rapid change in culture and new teams require new-age leaders who are able to mentor and guide. Servant leadership is a promising leadership style for today’s dynamic environment especially when the cultures of different countries are coming closer than ever before.
Along with this, if the leader has a high Emotional Quotient – he/she can create a working environment that is as much driven by performance as it is by greater cooperation and greater sensitivity towards each other. In other words, an emotionally intelligent manager creates a working environment which is free from prejudice and at the same time is characterized by high performance that emanates from the ability to focus on results and is not influenced by petty conflicts. The point here is that the emotionally intelligent manager focuses on the team members’ needs for intrinsic and extrinsic motivation apart from making them realize their true potential by targeting their need for self-actualization. We need all leaders to create an empathetic and humane working environment and ensure that one’s potential is actualized. Remember – good experience is always contagious…
The success for a leader is that the team should feel comfortable asking the leader questions without worrying that the leader will feel hassled, exposed, or implicitly criticized.
My focus has always been to ensure that everyone feels a part of the team and my personal success is to ensure my team succeeds. Hence, sitting amidst the team instead of a cabin makes me feel more comfortable.
There are a few principles which I try to practice –
- Active Listening
- Empathizing with the team
- Creating a good work environment
- Being self-aware
- Appreciating team consensus
- Give the big picture on how they are helping achieve the organizational goals
- Walk the talk
- Focus on strengths rather than on weakness
- Empower the team
- Growth for the team – diverse experience
- Build a close community/family
- Being inclusive
And finally, to quote Stephen Covey – it’s important to remember that servant leaders are both servants and leaders. “You do serve, but it still requires the other dimensions of leadership —character and competence,” he says. Competence means that the leader has a track record of high ability and achieving results, with skills that are relevant. Character means that results and accomplishments are achieved with integrity and ethics.
In this approach, the team members are placed at the top, and the leader becomes responsible for leading the company by serving their team members. Servant leadership is built on the principle that if you empower and uplift your team, they will respond with renewed creativity, potential, and purpose. Replacing authority with humility helps to create high team performance and create higher profits for the company.
I will conclude by quoting Covey, “Trust is one of the means to achieve servant leadership, and it is also an end that is achieved by servant leadership.”