MGT321 Assessing Leadership Skills
Leadership is everywhere; it is all around us, at home, at work, and school. Some leaders are good, and some are bad. Some naturally have it, and others must develop their skills to obtain the ability to be an effective leader. There are many styles of leadership that all require a different set of traits and skills. Whether transactional or transformational, leadership is necessary for accomplishing shared purposes. The purpose of this paper is to describe servant leadership, the most important characteristics of a servant leader and to share an example of an individual that exemplifies these characteristics.
A description of Servant Leadership
Servant leadership has many qualities and has had a positive impact on companies, teams, and individuals . Servant leaders focus on putting others needs before the needs of their own; they cultivate vision, culture, and the growth of individuals. Traditionally, the low-level employee serves their direct leader, and then they serve their direct leader, all the way up to the CEO. Servant leadership takes this pyramid of power and flips it upside down. Now the CEO is on the bottom, and they serve up. This behavior goes all the way up to the low-level employees that are now on top; their direct leaders now serve them .
Servant leadership leverages collaboration, teamwork, and the absence of power. Leaders seek to serve and inspire; they work to prepare employees to serve as well . Balance, trust, communication, and collaboration is the goal. Organizations are no more important than the individual because they both provide value and have a need for one another . Servant leadership makes the team, one. There is no one barking orders and telling individuals what to do. It is simply working together to achieve one’s best self. It is this that produces the best work, drives results, cuts back on employee churn, and increases overall employee satisfaction.
The Characteristics of a Servant Leader
Servant leadership requires the ability to listen. Listening is much more than hearing. We hear things all day; we can investigate the sound or choose to ignore it. Listening takes patience and understanding. Listening provides the ability to create an informed response throughout conversation rather than an argumentative back and forth.
Servant leaders should be stewards. Stewardship is having the bravery and strength to hold an individual accountable for their own good . They are aligned with a vision and values and put others before themselves.
Servant leadership caries a high level of acceptance and inclusion. It is important to accept everyone for who they are. It is equally important to identify their strengths and their opportunities areas so that the leader can help with personal growth and put everyone in a position to shine.
Servant leaders are empathetic. Empathy is necessary to get to know someone and to understand them truly. It is natural to compare situations to one’s own experience, but empathetic leaders must know that everyone’s experiences are different, and they impact them in different ways. It is ok to relate, but it is vital to know there is a difference.
Servant leaders are trustworthy and operate with a high level of integrity. Trust and integrity are key to creating relationships. Team members must believe the leader has their best interest in mind and that they will always do right by them. Servant leadership is not about giving individuals what they want; it is helping them find what they need. Sometimes it takes individuals longer to understand the difference between a want and a need, so the leader must help these individuals through that process.
Servant leadership requires foresight. They need the ability to function in the now, but they also need the sense to see what is coming. It is the leader’s responsibility to put everyone in the best position to meet their potential.
Servant leadership requires the skill of persuasion. There is no ordering or coercing individuals to carry out tasks or assignments. The ability to persuade and convince people to do things is a must. Not because they have to do it, but because they want to do it.
Conceptualization is extremely important for a servant leader. They have to truly understand the mission, who the individuals on the team are, and how to best position everyone for growth and future success.
Servant leaders must have the skill of healing. Everyone has issues and external interruptions. A servant leader must wear many hats, sometimes a counselor, and sometimes just a friend. A servant leader has to be what is needed of them. By helping others heal, it creates more inclusion.
Awareness is one of the most important attributes of a servant leader. They must first be self-aware, and then they need to carry a high level of social awareness. By being aware, the leader can manage themselves and relationships; this is what makes an effective leader.
An Individual That Exemplifies These Characteristics
Keith Turner is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Comcast’s Twin Cities Region. Keith is a servant leader and an inspirational leader to everyone that has the privilege of working for him. He always assumes innocence; he gives the benefit of the doubt. He stands not in front of or behind you; he stands right next to you, no matter what the obstacle. Keith has the ability to help you see things in ways you would have never imagined. He is the type of leader that listens, takes your feedback, and adjusts. Keith leads unselfishly and cares more about others than he does himself; he is compassionate, kind, and giving. His support and guidance is unwavering; you can always count on him for help.
Keith believes in people and believes he and those he develops has a duty to serve. He often asks, “What if it was optional to be coached by me?” This has been a guiding principle for his leadership and leaders he develops. Of course, employees have to sit through one on ones, feedback sessions, and other coaching’s, but what if it was optional? Keith actually published an article on LinkedIn, where he goes into detail about this concept. When it is all said and done, Keith Turner (2016) says, “Ditch your title! Not in the literal sense, but know that you being the boss is not a good enough reason for someone to give you their discretionary effort.” (para. 5)
Servant leadership requires a specific set of skills. You must be patient and self-sacrificing. Putting others needs before yourself is how you gain commitment and ultimately build a team focused on self-development and future success. Servant leadership is not for everyone, but now we understand what servant leadership is, the most important characteristics of servant leaders and an example of an individual that exemplifies those characteristics.