In Ken Blanchard's book, Servant Leadership in Action, Mark Miller shares the 5 strategic ways great leaders SERVE. For many leaders, they seek to find ways to lead their team in a manner that leads to success. Leaders want their teams to be happy and productive. In order to do so, I offer this model by Mark Miller for your consideration:
See and shape the future
"Leadership always begins with a picture of the future" (p. 35). One key aspect of working with people is that we all bring different viewpoints to the workplace. As leaders one strategy that I have found to be extremely effective is to paint the collaborative picture. I have talked about this before - even if we see the same thing, we are going to interpret it differently. It's not right or wrong, it is human nature. For leaders it is essential that we answer the following questions WITH our teams: Where are we going? What are we trying to accomplish? What are we trying to become? and why does it matter? According to Miller, if you don't know the answers, start figuring them out. Clarity will often come in the midst of activity (p. 35).
Engage and develop others
"Engagement is about creating the context for people to thrive" (p. 35). What does success look like for your team? If you don't know, then how will you know you have been successful? In every opportunity there is a chance to learn. This can be a hard phrase to swallow - but as leaders, we need to remember that even when our team is struggling, there is an opportunity for us to learn. As leaders, if we want our teams to become successful, we cannot just sit back and wait. We need to commit our energy towards developing the team. By placing our energy and focus on the development of others, we are setting us up to be successful.
"Hey, I have an idea!" I have to imagine this sends a shiver down the backs of my team. I am a big picture thinker and I love coming up with creative ways to reinvent a process. I get bored with doing the same thing over and over - which can be good and bad at times. As leaders, I believe we need to be open to seeing our work through multiple lenses. We need to be willing to ask if how we are doing our work is the best way and we need to show vulnerability and acceptance to our team if we try something and fail. Even if you don't like the idea of change, I encourage you to have the discussion with your team as it may bring perspective that will make everything better.
Value results and relationships
When times are tough, there is nothing worse than not having others to turn to. As a leader, we need to ensure that we live the values that develop relationships and bring us together. As the Dalai Lama has said, "we cannot and need not eradicate our ego; rather, we must make sure it is a serving ego and not a deserving ego" (p. 21). Placing a value on our relationships will pay off in numerous ways in both success and failure. If we don't approach our work as a team, we are going to find silo's that bring blame and frustration inward when things don't go right.
Embody the values
"The gap between what we say and what we do as leaders can be lethal" (p. 36). There is nothing worse than a leader that lives a, "do as I say, not as I do" lifestyle. Teams are smart - they know when you are not truthful and they know whether or not you will jump in and do the work with them when it is needed. If you are a leader that is telling your team to develop relationships, yet you can't tell me anything extra about each of your employees - then you are doing it wrong. If you don't build relationships - you don't build trust. Without trust, people will not follow you.
I hope these 5 ways great leaders SERVE resonated with you. I did a podcast covering this topic through a little bit of a different lens. I would encourage you to check it out (https://anchor.fm/jason-weber4/episodes/Episode-5-Great-Leaders-SERVE-e15o6jt)
Let me know what you think about these 5 ways. How do you interpret them? In what ways have you seen them benefit you and your team?
Blanchard, K. & Broadwell, R. (2018). Servant leadership in action: how you can achieve great relationships and results. Polvera Publishing : Oakland, CA.