Servant leadership is a life long journey that requires daily attention. The choices you make throughout your day can either positively or negatively impact the lives around you. We have created weekly tips to help you in this process of self and organizational improvement. Subscribe now to start receiving these weekly tips via email.

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Leadership Tip 14: Creating a Department Exchange

Do you hear your team talking about other teams they interface with in a negative way? Is your company caught up in an “us versus them” culture? Some years ago, the supervisor in a department I led came up with a great idea: a department exchange. She scheduled time with each department our group interfaced with to have an informational get-together. In these meetings, each department explained what it does, described its challenges, and what it needed from us and why. Together, we looked for ways to improve our communication with each other.

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Leadership Tip 13: Delegating Tasks Can Build Trust

Want to build trust in your team? Learn to delegate the work that must be done. Yes, loosen your death grip on those file folders and task lists and look at the situation with new eyes. Who else on the team can do this task successfully? Can you think of a better way to show you trust your team’s ability than delegating work to them?

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Leadership Tip 12: Equipping Your Team with Clear Communication

As a leader, do you feel strongly that certain tasks should be done a certain way? Have you ever wondered why the outcome of a project is not what you’d envisioned even though you feel you were so clear in your instructions? A servant leader’s role is to equip their team in every possible way. Clarifying expectations is a vital part of equipping people. Our teams should understand what the deliverable should be and if how they get there is important or not.

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Leadership Tip 11: Behave the Talk

We’ve all heard the expression, “walk the talk.” It’s supposed to mean a person is being authentic and doing what he says he’s going to do. We have a different term at the Servant Leadership Institute; we call it, “behave the talk.™” We believe serving others does not come naturally to most people, but if they practice servant leadership behaviors and begin to behave their talk, their mindset will change and a true servant leader will emerge.

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Leadership Tip 10: Do Those You Influence Trust You?

Have you ever wondered if the people you influence trust you? Stephen M.R. Covey, world-renowned expert on trust, has said nothing is as fast as the speed of trust and people can get good at creating it. Do you speak truthfully with no spin? Do you do what you say you’re going to do?

Challenge: This week, ask your group three questions (making names optional). Do you trust your boss? Do you trust management? And do you trust your co-workers? It may be an eye-opening experience.

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Leadership Tip 09: Show Your Humanity by Apologizing

Apologies are powerful things, don’t you agree? In a business setting when a leader says, “I’m sorry,” it makes a lasting impression on employees; you’ll climb 10 points on the likability scale and increase trust. Servant leaders show they truly care when they’re able to sincerely admit they were wrong and show their humanity by apologizing.

Challenge: Do you need to apologize to a co-worker or direct report today? Is there someone in your personal life who deserves an apology for something you did or neglected to do? Show some courage — say “I’m sorry” this week.

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Leadership Tip 08: Reflection is a Powerful Tool

The practice of servant leadership is tough; it is not for the weak of heart or head. It is vital to take the time to reflect on how you are doing as a leader at work and in your personal life. The change in your mindset cannot take place in a day or a week. As Todd Hunter, author of Our Character at Work, teaches, “servant leadership requires an interior renovation of the heart and soul.”

Challenge: Add to your calendar this week a scheduled time for reflection. It will strengthen you tremendously and help you become the non-anxious presence your team desires and deserves.

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Leadership Tip 07: Servant Leaders Don't Point Fingers

Servant leaders don’t point fingers at others when problems occur. Playing the blame game is completely unproductive; it’s best to look at yourself first. As the situation or circumstances are discussed, the truth will unfold. The people involved will be smart enough to see where the weak links are and plan corrections accordingly.

Challenge: Do you have employees who are struggling with a project? What is your role as their servant leader? Have you equipped them to be successful? Think about it this week and take action if necessary.

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Leadership Tip 06: Fighting Gossip Wherever You Find It

Avoid gossip within your sphere of influence and try to stop it whenever you can. This is a huge task and difficult to achieve, but just think how much more we could accomplish when we declare a “no-gossip” zone in the workplace.

Challenge: Fight gossip by asking people direct questions when they pass along a tidbit that falls into that category. “Is talking about this useful to our thinking and what we are trying to accomplish?”

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Leadership Tip 05: Correcting a Culture of Lateness

There is a culture of “lateness” that exists in many companies. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. and people start moseying in around 9:10-ish. What does that say about the importance of the meeting? What is the message that it sends to the person hosting the meeting? Do you think they might feel diminished? Being consistently late sends the message that the only person who matters is you. Servant leaders commit to honoring other people and believe everyone’s time is valuable.

Challenge: This week, be on time to every meeting and if that is not possible, communicate to the organizer that you will be late and why. Being on time will help you build trust with everyone you influence.


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