Servant Leadership Principles: Sharing vs. Reserving Power
Servant leadership is the foundation of successful leaders. Servant leaders believe that sharing power and being servant-minded drives better results than reserving power for oneself.
Sometimes people in power have a false belief that giving their team members power minimizes their own. But refusing to share power does more harm than good. When leaders refuse to share power, it creates a dysfunctional environment in which team members don't feel valued or heard. This can lead to:
- Low morale
- Decreased productivity
One of the primary principles of servant leadership is to share power amongst your team, knowing that when you empower those who you lead, you build trust and respect amongst followers, boosting productivity, creativity, and morale within your workplace.
As a leader, are you looking for new ways to share power with your team members? Here are three methods you can use to get started ...
Open Lines Communication
Open the lines of communication with your team. Including more people in the decision-making process leads to better outcomes.
- As a leader, you have hidden biases that affect your actions and thinking. Including more people when problem-solving ensures these hidden biases are rooted out and helps you build a longer list of actionable solutions.
- Shared leadership builds the foundation for accountability amongst individual team members. When team members help craft a solution, they are more invested in making sure that solution is effective.
Another way you can share power is by asking questions that encourage engagement from your teammates. Include your team members in the problem-solving process rather than solving the problem yourself and then directing them on how to fix it.
Questions you might ask include:
- "Are we heading in the right direction?"
- "Is there anything else we can do to meet our goals?"
- "Are we collaborating as efficiently as possible?"
Encourage Skill Building
Developing a strong foundation of servant leaders within your organization ensures you have employees who are:
- Capable of making decisions without being told how to act or feel
- Able to communicate effectively with one another
A leader who reserves power won't help team members build skills for fear that those individuals might rise up and assume a leadership role themselves. A servant leader who shares power, on the other hand, encourages team members to build technical capabilities and interpersonal skills, knowing that a more experienced team will drive better results. In essence, servant leaders build servant leaders.
Lead by Example
Don't be a leader who hides their flaws. Servant leaders are authentic in word and action. They share their failures, missteps, and fears so their team members feel safe doing the same. This builds trust and simplifies collaboration because employees feel comfortable sharing ideas and criticism.
Following servant leadership principles is important for creating a successful team. When team members feel empowered by their leader, they are more likely to be productive and contribute positively to the overall goal of the team. A servant leader sets the example for others by serving first, which establishes trust and builds relationships based on mutual respect.
Want to take a deeper dive into servant leadership? Download What Is Servant Leadership and How Can Women Harness It in the Workplace? today.