I recently read a very interesting article written by CEO and president of Asset Living, Ryan McGrath, which focused on mindset as a leader and how to truly get the best out of your people.
Traditionally, leaders have been taught that their direct reports and subordinates all work to serve them, but this line of thinking is fundamentally flawed and leads to more issues than not.
As mentioned by Ryan, employees aren't working for you, you are working for them. This concept of leadership known today as "servant leadership" has steadily gained traction among modern day corporations. The concept of servant leadership is the core belief that focusing on your staff's growth and wellbeing is not only beneficial for company morale, but also good for business. Happy employees leads to more productive, motivated and growth oriented individuals - all important elements that lead business towards long term success.
So, how can you cultivate a culture of servant leadership at your company?
Be A Listener
An effective leader listens first and talks last. Some times the most important question a leader can ask is "What do you think". When you need a problem solved or a strategic plan put in place, the people you employ will likely have more intimate knowledge or subject matter expertise that come up with a solution or a new idea.
Do coach; don't manage!
A servant leader is not a boss. They don't tell someone what to do and delegate. They coach and empower. Servant leaders are transparent and will lead with honesty. They will share their failures, as well as their successes. Typically, a leader that shares their mistakes will see better results. Showing vulnerability displays transparency and instills trust in your team and the organisation.
Lead by example
There are arguments that suggest servant leadership is more of a "lifestyle" as opposed to an organisational technique that can be introduced swiftly. As a leader, how you carry yourself matters. Are you kind, compassionate and attentive or are you autocratic, controlling and demanding? As a leader, you must demonstrate the attitude and behaviour you want others to have when faced with adversity. Lead with empathy and compassion. Remember that you are working with people and people react to those they can relate to. By consistently focusing on the "we" rather than the "me", you will lead your business with success but also promote a healthy culture for all your staff.