If you are in the Leadership Space, no doubt you’ve heard a lot of talks recently around the Servant Leadership Philosophy. There are countless books, articles, blog posts, etc. written about this topic.
Wikipedia defines it like this, “Servant Leadership is a leadership philosophy in which the main goal is to serve. This is different than traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organization”.
Well, no offense to Wikipedia, but in my opinion; they GOT IT WRONG. The focus of all Leaders is most definitely on the thriving of a company or organization; otherwise, we (including every person on our team) would all be out of a job. The difference is, the method in which you get there looks drastically different than the traditional philosophy of fear or power-based Management. The best leaders see that the level of their team’s engagement is the biggest indicator of the thriving of the company or organization. They see that when you have a mindset to serve your people (the most valuable asset of any company or organization); you create a culture of trust and community. This type of culture is what breeds camaraderie, challenge, achievement, and ultimately: results.
So how do you create this culture? By having a mindset of service and building connection with your team. The relationship between a “boss” and “direct report” carries the basis of any other meaningful relationship. It cannot be one-sided. If you expect your team to do everything you ask just because you carry a title, you’re likely not going to make it far. Your results may look something like high turnover, low profit, putting out fires, running in circles, frustration, inner dialogue like “why don’t these people get it” and “why can’t I find the good people.”
Think about the meaningful relationships in your life. I’m talking about the people in your life that you know you can ask for anything (advice, help, money, etc.); the people that will show up for you any time of day; the ones that check up on you just because; the people that you will open up to about anything, the people that always have your back. You are probably conjuring up images of life-long friends, loved ones, mentors.
What do these relationships have in common? CONNECTION. One of our most basic human needs is CONNECTION. Read that closer; one of our most basic human needs is connection. Yep. You heard that right. It’s a need; not a desire, not a “warm and fuzzy” hack.
Think about your role in these relationships. Do you always have a hand out? Do you define the best relationships as those where others are always giving to you, and you don’t have to put much effort in? Or do you define your best relationships as those that you would do anything for the other person? You would drop what you’re doing in a moment’s notice to show up for them. If it’s the latter, you already get it. But maybe you’re just not applying it to every relationship in your life (i.e.: your team). Reframe your mindset around your team to include creating a relationship of service and connection.
It’s not something you do now and then when you’re on your game. It’s a mindset. It’s a lifestyle. It’s WHO you are and how you show up All. The. Time.
If you want a team of badasses that will work their heart out to help move the needle toward the end goal, you HAVE to develop an authentic connection with them. And you do that by living a servant, connection-based mindset; not a “what have you done for me lately” mindset. Not a “why can’t you people just do your jobs” mindset. If you serve them, they will serve you. If they believe that you’ll show up for them; they’ll show up for you.
Anyone that has seen true success in their life in the form of joy, fulfillment, relationships, etc. understands the golden-est of all golden rules. You are going to get double the results in half the time if you focus on serving others as opposed to the “what’s in it for me?” mindset. Leading your team this way, they will see someone that they’re willing to work their guts out for. They’ll see a cause that they believe in. They’ll know that you’ll give them your all, so they’ll give you the same. People ultimately want to know: Do I Matter? Do I Belong? If you can create a culture where people feel like they matter as they belong; results beyond your imagination are going to come back to you. Think about what the ROI could look like in this model. This is what separates Leaders from Managers. As Leaders; we serve our team, we show up for them, we develop trust and camaraderie, we develop a culture that people crave being a part of. This is what makes MANAGING THE BUSINESS so much easier!
So here’s the hard truth; if you’re not getting the results you want from your team, from the numbers, from the engagement; it’s on YOU. Own it. Take 100% responsibility for ALL results from your team. Decide to have a service mindset. Write it down. What does that look like, feel like, sound like? How will I do that? How will I keep myself focused? How will I remind myself throughout the day? What do I hope to accomplish from this? How can I put this into practice? How can I transcend this into my ENTIRE life? Trust me, Friend, if you can master this; you’re going to crush Leadership and Life!