Over the past few decades, people have changed their perspectives about personality-based leadership theories, instead, they are rediscovering servant leadership. Gone are the days of pretentious leadership, the challenges of today call for developing the character and skills of a servant leader, who serves first and keeps his/her people before themselves.
As the CMD of BYLD Group, and the authorized partner of The Ken Blanchard Group of Companies®, I have spent a lot of years in training people and understanding different kinds of leadership styles. With the experience and knowledge gathered over the years, I can say that the true sense of any leadership lies in being a servant leader, which has the three key principles- Standing Back, Authenticity and Humility.
Standing back means having a mindset of observing your people from the back and getting involved when they need your support; provide support when you think you can add value to it; work more like a facilitator or a coach. This will include a lot of listening, questioning, and answering, providing feedback and more.
In other words, this can also be termed as being original where you know and accept yourself as a leader and as a human being and be comfortable with it. Authentic leaders speak only when it is appropriate and do that with a lot of respect. They are appreciative, respectful and behave on the basis of values. They see their team members with a lot of respect and are available to help them without them asking for it. They demonstrate authentic leadership and promote continual learning and growth of their people.
Let us just say, leaders with humility are always humble and ready to learn new things from people irrespective of their position or designation. For example, if they find a junior having more expertise in a particular job role than the leader, they do not shy away from asking “Could you teach me?” or “Can you please explain me in more detail?” They are also open for feedbacks. They ask: “Can you please share your feedback on how you’re experiencing working with me?” Humble servant leaders are more focused on helping others by improving their own knowledge, skills, and competence; communicate openly and accepting feedbacks positively, so they are able to provide better support.
All these three principles are interrelated
A leader who is authentic, he cannot do without being humble and standing back. This position of being a servant leader is an ideal situation of making best decisions and being at the service of others.
Robert Greenleaf, the universally recognized father of servant leadership, wrote forty years ago that servant leadership begins “…with the natural feeling that one wants to serve. A servant leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of the people and communities to which they belong.”
If you are able to relate to all these principles and have this spirit in your heart, I advise you to consider how these can help you and your organization in your people’s development journey.
This blog is an adaptation of a blog written by Maria Pressentin on 9th June - https://leaderchat.org/2020/06/09/rediscovering-servant-leadership-3-key-practices/