According to a recent poll by the Barna Group, only 20 percent of employees across the country rank their boss as a good leader. This should be disheartening at the very least for business owners and those who want to build a credible communications platform. If those who you influence internally don’t respect you, it is very challenging to build influence and trust externally.
I recently listened to a talk by Jeremy Couch, leadership expert and administrator of Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Orlando campus. Couch is a student of all things leadership and he suggests people of influence can be the most effective when they display servant leadership. Servant leadership can be defined as an intentional effort to place the needs of others and the success of the organization over your own.
Couch mentions the four characteristics of an audacious servant leader.
1) Display Humility
Humility is something that we as leaders cannot fake. It is at the core of our souls. Team members can spot a faker in a very short order. A leader that displays humility does so through actions like asking for feedback, praising others and accepting blame when appropriate.
2) Be Authentic
Authenticity is another trait that cannot be faked. It goes against the very nature of the word. An authentic leader is transparent. They are the same at work as they are at home. Authenticity can be shown by someone who doesn’t have it all figured out and is not afraid to share it. Effective leaders may not be the smartest in the room, but they tend to surround themselves with others who are smarter than they are.
3) Elevate Others
Have you heard the adage that good leaders make leaders? This is a result of elevating others. Effective servant leaders want to bring others up to their level. This can happen through encouragement (affirmation), equipping your team by investing in them through time and resources, and by empowering them to make decisions. When your team realizes their leader trusts them, it can unlock heavy amounts of potential.
4) Dream Big
Solid servant leaders dream big and allow their team to share in these dreams. They have a big picture mindset. Most of the time, leaders cannot accomplish their vision alone. They need help. It behooves them to share it with others, allowing their vision to be contagious.
Some say people are only born leaders. Nothing can be further from truth. Leadership is a choice. Be audacious about it!
What are some examples that you have displayed servant leadership in the past?