Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Traits of Servant Leadership

"Top down" leadership is the most common, easiest and traditional. I work for a company where it is most prevalent and I always thought it to be the most efficient form of leadership. Lately, I started realizing that there is even more effective form of leadership that can produce the best environment for everyone - The Servant Leadership. A leadership that emphasizes trust, empathy, collaboration and the ethical use of power. Till date, I am searching for a true servant leader in my organization. Here are some of the traits that I personally feel are absolutely required in a true Servant Leader:

1/ Authenticity - Always be your real self in every circumstance. Hold the same values in whatever role you have. A true servant leader is not only visionary but also an honest, authentic human being. The one who is willing to admit his mistakes, who doesn't let's his ego prevent him from apologizing to someone lower in hierarchy. Being authentic is first knowing yourself and then being yourself.

2/ Vulnerable - Being honest with your feeling in the context of your work. Being open with your doubts, fears and concerns about an idea, an employee's performance, your own performance and being able to admit mistakes openly particularly with your employees. Being vulnerable takes a great deal of courage because it is contrary to traditional leadership where most people are told to believe that power comes from our ability to maintain control. A true servant leader always believe that power comes from realizing that we can't be in control and we must depend on others.

3/ Accepting - Acceptance is more important than approval. Most of the conflicts in workplace originate because of personality rather than product or process. The art of acceptance does not imply that you accept everyone's ideas without critical analysis, discussion and judgment - only that you accept ideas as valid for discussion and review, and that you focus on the ideas themselves, not on the person who presented them.

4/ Be Present - Having your whole self available at all times - available to yourself as you try to bring all your values to bear on the work at hand, and available to others as you respond to the problems and issues and challenges of the team members, colleagues, managers, employees, vendors and customers.

5/ Be useful - Be a resource for your people. One of the primary functions of the manager/ leader is to assure that people get the resources they need to do the job. To be a leader who serves, you must think of yourself as their principal resource.


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