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 19: Equip Your Team With What They Need

At SLI, we say servant leadership is to inspire and equip those we influence. Leaders must equip their teams with everything they need to be successful and that includes having the right tools to use — be it a computer or a power screwdriver. Howard Behar, former CEO of Starbucks, has said, “If you want someone to mop the floor, let them choose the mop.”

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Leadership Tip 18: Take Time to Explain the Bigger Picture

Power-driven leaders love to give orders. Their attitude is, “just do your job and don’t ask questions.” A servant leader, on the other hand, will take the time to explain the bigger picture of why a certain task needs to be done. Servant leaders will paint the bigger picture to motivate and engage employees.

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Leadership Tip 17: Have a Problem? Check Your Process

All of us have worked in situations where problems arise. I am not talking about fires that must be put out immediately, but those pesky problems that come up time and time again. Normally, we call together the team members in the department affected and discuss how we might change a process to resolve the issue. Do we ever question the makeup of these problem-solving teams? Maybe we need to expand our thinking and include some folks from other departments who might have insight on the issue. What other areas might this problem affect?

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Leadership Tip 16: Servant Leadership Small Groups at Work

As Datron World Communications got into the process of culture transformation, we learned the power of using small groups to support the leadership team. These groups, made up of about 10 leaders, gather once or twice a month to share challenges and triumphs. The most important ground rule is “what is shared in the group, stays in the group” and that confidentiality is taken very seriously. There is no set agenda and no deliverables. Helping each other and learning to trust each other opens the door to stronger teams and problem-solving. The value of having a group of leaders you can share with and offer help to is priceless.

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Leadership Tip 15: Build Connections with Co-Workers

Most of us have people we work with who we really don’t have a relationship with. We talk to them because we must get work done. When we need their help, at times it is almost like they are an adversary, not a teammate working for the same end goal. Servant leaders seek to build connections with all the people they work with. The result is a working environment where people care about one another and better work gets done.

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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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