By Jenny Tucker
It is possible to earn the accolade of being The Best Boss Ever! You just need to get in touch with your better self. Being a Servant Leader is all about building your EQ to emotionally support your people and truly care about them. In basic terms: serve, not be served.
Research shows that employees are no longer prepared to put up with the rule and control style of leadership, and will jump on the current trend for The Great Resignation if they feel their work life is toxic - particularly Gen-Z.
In a recent episode of Brené Brown's Podcast series, "Dare To Lead", Brown invited organisational psychologist, Adam Grant and inspirational speaker, Simon Sinek to think about ‘What’s Happening at Work’. Brown believes “people aren’t okay”, often craving open conversations about how they are feeling. The trio all agree that human connection is the way forward, with relationships needing constant maintenance. “Although people don’t always want to bring up problems because they don’t want to be a burden,” says Adams, “it’s helpful just to say what’s going on and have it acknowledged. Then you can respond to it.” Leaders need to listen, be involved, nurture and appreciate.
Here are the five main traits of a Servant Leader…
1. Shows humility
Being the boss doesn’t mean you need to exert power or peacock your abilities. A Servant Leader encourages their team to make decisions and take ownership. They recognise that stepping back isn’t about being weak, it’s having enough humility to give others the opportunity to step up.
2. Listens carefully
There is much to be learnt from paying deep attention to another person’s opinion on a topic, or utilising their expertise. Servant Leaders know they can reap precious information from intent listening, as well as helping their people to feel involved and respected. Taking a non-judgemental and curious approach is a powerful way to build connection, and to read the signs when extra support may be required.
3. Values People
Servant Leaders are adept at showing appreciation and admiration. They understand it’s not all about what a person might bring to an organisation; they see the human qualities and uniqueness of an individual’s character. This helps to instil confidence and trust, empowering that person to believe in themselves too.
4. Builds trust
This is the crux of it all. If employees deeply trust their managers to do right by them, they will feel secure and valued. Equally, if a manager trusts the team to produce high quality work, there is a two-way authentic and collaborative culture. Research shows over and over that trust is the foundation for successful relationships.
5. Always Caring
A caring boss is not a ‘soft’ boss. Boundaries, leadership and accountability still exist, but interactions stem from being respectful and empathetic. A Servant Leader keeps kindness at the core of everything they do.