The great Mahatma Gandhi said, “It is while losing ourselves in the service of others that we find our true selves.” And Nelson Mandela further added, “I stand not as a prophet before you. I am a humble servant of you. the people.’
The idea of servant leadership is being passed down through generations and from the greatest exponents in world history. It begins with the instinct that one wants to serve, to do his bit for the greater cause. And then there are conscious choices that implore one to aspire, aspire to lead. The acid test of servant leadership is: Are those being served to grow as humans? While being led, do they become autonomous, freer, wiser?
For a start, project managers need to put the needs of those being led before their own. Power, money, prestige; they corrupt. While the desire to serve the team holistically lifts the morale of the whole bunch. Servant leaders avoid taking the credits and they own up the mistakes. Servant leaders operate on a highly balanced emotional intelligence.
Servant leadership is about putting the team above themselves and the focus should be improving each individual while keeping the end goal in mind. Servant leadership is the model to look up to by the leaders of the new age. Project Managers must exhibit these traits while leading effective teams. And it doesn’t matter if you rolling out a new product or overhauling the dated processes.
Lasting leadership is built around the traits that leaders practice for their subordinates. They publicly acknowledge the contributions and accomplishments of their team members. They behave in a dignified manner and importantly they listen. During crucial times, they spend time with team members. With a focus on engagement, trust, and productivity they drive the whole bunch positively.
Servant leaders have a habit to honor different and often counter opinions. They breed an environment of psychological safety. Team members are not desisted rather encouraged to come up with their respective innovative ideas. The general group norms in such teams are open, simple, and empowering.
Often, leaders fall into a more authoritarian role as they lack leadership training that might lead them to a more harmonious style of leadership. They fail to empathize with those following them. However, when a quick and critical call is to be taken for a certain course correction, Authoritative leaders can chip in as they don’t depend on approvals from others.
Different leadership styles work for different people. Every model of leadership has its share of merits. However, if irrespective of their style, every leader takes a leaf out of the servant leadership handbook, the transformation from a good to a great leader is just possible and very much within the reach. A self-reflection about one’s leadership style can make all the difference.
PS: We are saying with all the humility around that we have been encouraging Servant Leadership in all our endeavors. Yes, additional wisdom can be imparted even as we see some leaders are just innately good at it.