Servant leadership means doing whatever you can to help your colleagues and peers become their very best. Key elements of this philosophy include a commitment to developing others, foresight, and stewardship of resources and trust. Every servant leader will naturally encounter situations where they want to see their peers develop as servant leaders, too. As you prioritize this part of your employees’ growth, consider these steps that can accelerate their journey to leadership.
Nurture Skills and Goals
Listening is high on the list of the most important characteristics of a servant leader. The first step toward inspiring employees to practice servant leadership is to listen to what direction they want to grow. If someone wants to learn more about compliance and documentation, for instance, putting them in a customer service role might not be the best idea. By listening, you will pinpoint the various strengths on the team and learn how to develop the group in a way that moves you beyond bottlenecks or other challenges. As each person feels fully utilized and empowered, they will be inspired to lead in the workplace because that effort advances their goals.
Create a Culture of Trust
For servant leadership to truly take root and thrive in an organization, there must be a culture of trust. Employees must be able to rely on the leader to provide what is needed on the path to success. The leader must continue to believe in the employees even when one specific project or situation might seem like a step back. One study published in Harvard Business Review found that employees in a high-trust workplace reported 74 percent less stress, 40 percent less burnout, and 13 percent fewer sick days. Servant leadership and the trust that develops from the approach have major benefits to a business.
Encourage Foresight and Shared Perspective
Another beginner step in developing as a servant leader is to adopt long-term thinking and start researching what is next for the organization. When evolving an employee as a servant leader, allow them to suggest contacts or new strategies that might improve life for their peers down the road. This is especially true when it comes to networking, which is a vital skill for any leader. Not only does it help form connections that can solve problems and drive growth, but also networking builds a professional’s reputation in their own industry.
These tips, that can help inspire servant leadership in your employees, are really just advice for practicing servant leadership yourself. By listening to employees and pivoting to meet their goals, you deepen loyalty and build trust. As that trust is expressed through the culture, it is safe to try new things. In that environment, leaders will step up to help and serve each other, naturally following the example of those around them. For help achieving the dream, call on Alpha Kappa Psi for insight and support.