Servant Leader

BLUF: Provide your team members with servitude so that they get to where they want to be mentally, physically, and emotionally.

I was listening to Tim Ferriss’s podcast featuring Ray Dalio this week.  Ray laid out a great way to think about being a leader; be a servant leader.

What does it mean to be a servant leader?  You establish a position in which you put the needs of everyone else in front of your own.  Lifting your team members up and allowing them to efficiently and productively perform their work is going to keep you far ahead, then pushing them down below you all the time.  This is not a cream rises to the top situation.  If you are never providing your team members with a culture for them to grow and give them what they need, then you are ultimately telling them that they don’t matter.  This in turn reduces productivity and esprit de corps.

Your job as a leader is to provide many of things to your team members with one being to provide mentorship.  Your guidance and feedback to a team member is crucial in building a strong culture.  You should always want to see your team members succeed even if it is moving on to a new opportunity outside of your team.

This mindset goes with my previous musings about being a participant in your leadership and not a dictator who doles out tasks and just oversees.  I cannot stress enough how it looks to team members when you hand out all the work and then go have a nice 2 hour lunch break and then come back and sit on the phone for a while talking to a “customer”.  Finally, they sit back and take all the credit for the great work the team has accomplished.

I am pushing all of my chips in on servant leadership and participative decision-making.  Here are two books to help out with this subject.

  1. Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
  2. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action