Welcome to our Lift Your Leadership Series, a series of simple habits to encourage you to expand, stretch and challenge yourself with your leadership and where you want to take it.
The intention and focus is to allow you time to reflect and action those ideas that resonate the most with you in order to get the most out of your leadership or management as we kick-start 2018.
Each of the habits has an action step to allow you to reflect and then implement something towards what you have learnt.
And, while you will find that you have a number of habit strengths, you will also find one or two of the habits that you could probably develop and therefore grow into over the next year.
Try not to judge yourself against any of these habits. Rather, notice what each habit says to you and then decide which resonates as an area for focus.
Let's get started!
9 Key Habits of Successful Leadership
One: Servant Leadership
To become a leader, you need first to be the servant....
And, one of the hardest parts to stepping up is in learning to serve.
What is Servant Leadership and why does it matter?
Simply speaking, servant leadership is a leadership philosophy.
Where traditional leadership typically involves the exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid", the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
Servant leadership turns the power pyramid upside down; instead of the people working to serve the leader, the leader exists to serve the people.
Servant leadership is an ancient philosophy. There are passages that relate to servant leadership in the Tao Te Ching, attributed to Lao-Tzu, who is believed to have lived in China sometime between 570 BCE and 490 BCE:
The highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware.
Next comes one whom they love and praise.
Next comes one whom they fear.
Next comes one whom they despise and defy.
When you are lacking in faith,
Others will be unfaithful to you.
When his task is accomplished and things have been completed, all the people say, ‘We ourselves have achieved it!’
the king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers]
the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people.
Servant leadership can be found in many religious texts, though the philosophy itself transcends any particular religious tradition. In the Christian tradition, this passage from the Gospel of Mark is often quoted in discussions of servant leadership:
42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them.
43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,
44 and whoever wants to be first must be servant of all.
45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Why Servant Leadership Matters
When leaders shift their mindset and serve first, they unlock purpose and ingenuity in those around them, resulting in higher performance and engaged, fulfilled employees.
Unlike leadership approaches with a top-down hierarchical style, servant leadership instead emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power.
At heart, the individual is a servant first, making the conscious decision to lead in order to better serve others, not to increase their own power.
The objective is to enhance the growth of individuals in the organization and increase teamwork and personal involvement.
A recent behavioral economics experiment demonstrates the group benefits of servant leadership: teams of players coordinated their actions better with a servant leader resulting in improved outcomes for the followers (but not for the selfless leaders
1. How can you practice Servant Leadership in your team today?
2. In what situations would Servant Leadership benefit you and your team?
3. In what situations would it be inadvisable to use Servant Leadership?
2. Consider the quote above: where could you use the meaning behind this quote to drive your walk as a servant leader?