How do you know if a leader’s skills are appropriate for the ever-changing business environment we live in today?
Numerous studies show that the best option we have today is the so-called “leader-servant”. Leaving aside labels, as well as preferring to call those leaders who motivate and inspire others to give their best, one thing is for sure – their actions and behavior stem from their character and integrity.
My experience with servant leaders shows that they do not seek the attention of others, but direct the spotlight on their employees. If we need to be more specific, these leaders can be identified by three characteristics:
They demonstrate selflessness
When they reach a privileged leadership role, the best of them realize that leadership is based on meeting the needs of others. For this reason, they often oppose the traditional style of top-down management, in which managers simply order and employees perform. They are characterized by a bottom-up management style, or in other words – giving priority to the interests of employees over their own. This is not easy to achieve, but it ultimately gives these leaders a competitive advantage.
They give meaning to people’s work
Numerous studies have concluded that when a person finds a goal in his work, it not only makes him happier and physically and mentally healthy, but also improves his productivity. One way to achieve this result is to give your subordinates a chance to connect with the people they serve.
In a well-known study cited by psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant in his best-selling book, Give and Take, three separate groups of employees at a call center for a university scholarship fundraiser were tasked with calling donors and asking them for support. One of the groups told the donors the personal stories of the people who received the scholarship and how it changed their lives.
This group managed to attract 143% more funds than the other two groups, which simply made routine calls without delving into the topic and making special efforts. However, when these same donors were allowed to meet in person with the recipients of the scholarships and ask them questions within no more than five minutes, the funds donated by them increased by as much as 400 percent! What is Grant’s conclusion from this study? Allowing employees to meet the people they help with their work is the biggest motivator, even if their contact lasts only a few minutes.
They serve their subordinates
To significantly increase your impact as a leader, you must remember that leadership is about serving others. To judge your level as a servant leader, you need to ask yourself: What do I do every day to improve the lives of my employees? If your goal is to make each of your employees the best self at work, then you are already on the path to being an exceptional leader.