If you want employees, then boss them around! But if you want a team members, learn how to be a leader.
Are You a Boss or a Leader?
Around my office, we talk a lot about being more than a boss. You know, the person who just makes all the rules and signs the paychecks? But it’s easy for some people to assume being “in charge” is all it takes to be a leader.
The truth is, leadership isn’t about power or a fancy title. It’s about influence and your ability to positively affect those around you. That’s something we can all have, but the way you go about building influence is important.
One of the best ways is through servant leadership. In fact, it’s one of the guiding principles of our leadership coaching. In simplest terms, servant leadership is about putting your team first and yourself second. It starts and ends with your desire to serve, which is not to be confused with being subservient.
Picture a typical organizational chart with the leader in the ivory tower at the tip-top, and the employees at the bottom. Servant leaders turn that pyramid on its head, creating a new order where the needs and well-being of the team matter most. Servant leadership has nothing to do with building fame, wielding power, or micromanaging tasks. Servant leaders are fiercely committed to the growth and empowerment of the team, as well as to building community in the workplace and with customers.
Servant leaders don’t need a special degree, but they do need a unique blend of personal traits:
Actions always speak louder than words. Servant leaders tell the truth, do what they say they’ll do, and treat everyone with a caring heart. When in doubt, follow the Golden Rule: “Do to others as you would have them do to you” (Luke 6:31 NIV).
To develop a close relationship with your team or customers, they must know they are respected and valued. That means asking good questions and paying attention.
Servant leaders understand everything starts and ends with their team. That requires them to have an open mind, understand the points of view of others, and value the input and opinions of their team.
The ability to really look at yourself, and know your own strengths and weaknesses, goes a long way toward understanding the needs and behavior of others. Research suggests self-awareness plays a huge part in success.
Servant leaders know the only way to grow a quality team and build unity is through the power of persuasion. If you want employees, then boss them around. If you want team members, explain why you do what you do, and make them part of the process!
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