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7 Reasons Why Servants Are Better in Leadership

7 Reasons Why Servants Are Better in Leadership

Great leadership starts at the top but those people did not just appear. They were once individual contributors who demonstrated one or more trait that caused others to want to follow them. As Jeff Boss discussed in his article, “How Servant Leaders Fill the Gap“, these people stepped in and filled a gap to make others believe in them as helpers genuinely concerned about the success of others.

It was more than the expertise, brilliance, assertiveness and/or finances that made people want to flock to them. The attraction to their leadership style was the ability to influence others based on the following 7 reasons:

1. Empathy

People who serve others are non-judgmental and respectful of others’ challenges and circumstances. They have an understanding of how obstacles can be overcome. They find a way to help others get through the roadblocks as if it was their personal experience. It is important to those who serve others to be the person that is called upon in the time of need.

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This establishes the trust that this person will not reveal confidential information and will give helpful advice. Solid leadership is exhibited by those who have empathy which translates to a natural influence over others.

2. Reality

People who help others are not out of touch with reality. They are not hung up on themselves with a false ego that makes them unlikable or unreachable. When you are focused on helping others, it is not about you; it is about the person(s) you are serving.

There are enough frauds in the world. Those who serve have to be real with the ones they are serving. It provides the unequivocal relaxed atmosphere needed to be genuine and transparent in a safe environment. Leaders who have operated in this fashion as servants create the trusted environment for others to be comfortable with their vision and strategy.

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3. Humility

Carrying someone’s bags, coat, purse, briefcase, coffee, meal, etc. is considered a privilege for those who are grateful for the opportunity to serve someone with a higher professional, political or financial status. Humility will cause you to roll up the sleeves, get dirty, stay up all night, work on the weekend and do whatever it takes to complete a job to your satisfaction.

Servant leadership puts the needs of the organization over the needs of the leader. Leaders who remain humble are focused on the outcome of the organization and team and will risk themselves to uplift the group for success. The people who eventually follow this leadership regime are trustworthy and reliable.

4. Focus

Focus is key in making sure others are taken care of in any capacity. There can’t be distractions that keep the servant away from serving the individual to the fullest needs. Servants will often be in the midst of the positive and negative discussions regarding those they serve. Servants have to weed out the noise and focus on the task. Great leadership ignores the noise and is not distracted from the purpose.

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5. Detail-Oriented

Servants are mini project managers and understand what it takes to accomplish anything assigned to them. This translates well into leadership because these future leaders will understand what tasks need to happen and the right people capable of handling them. Further these people know when oversight is needed. Be careful with this one because good leadership will also force accurate reasoning to scale back and delegate to others.

6. Work Ethic

Whatever it takes! No sleeping, eating, extracurricular activities, phone conversations, Internet browsing or company picnics/gatherings is an accepted mantra in the servant’s perspective. The respect for the work is more important than any other accolade.

The servant that cannot be outworked is the leader who will not be outworked and will have high expectations to outperform himself. He thrives off of the competition with himself to be better in every aspect. Leadership viewed as dependent upon hard working individuals is highly respected. By default, it causes others to work hard as well.

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7. Self-Discipline

There will be downtime and free time. The servant knows how to balance that correctly to get ahead of the needs of those being served. Self-discipline increases the foresight of anticipation. This can counteract any issues that can be the result of last-minute and potentially chaotic decision-making. Great leaders know the difference between right and wrong and good and bad and will implement the self-discipline required to balance effectively to ensure there are minimal crises.

Leadership is in your future with these seven transferable skills. If you are helping or serving someone right now, this is just the start from the bottom to soon be on top!

Featured photo credit: http://www.financebuzz.io via cdn.financebuzz.io

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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