In our experience as leadership coaches, and collecting evidence from the literature that informs our methodology, companies that do exceptionally well are often led by servant leaders who are catalysts for change and bring out the best in their people.
In the current social economy, what it comes down when the rubber meets the road is how you relate, inspire, motivate and engage.
In the rarefied air where such leaders breathe, we have repeatedly identified these six habits that translate to exceptional management.
1. They inspire others to find their voices.
In the traditional top-down leadership world, bosses at the top of the food chain will cast a vision, then use power and control to move people to carry out the vision. Today, servant leaders will cast a company vision and enroll their followers to express their voice as co-creators and co-contributors to the vision.
2. They don't complain from their egos.
Venting and complaining is bad for business. When managers complain about not getting their way, influence and credibility goes out the proverbial window. When they do it consistently, they sabotage the workplace and derail team-trust.
3. They respect others.
Cheryl Bachelder, CEO of Popeyes, writes in Dare to Serve that one of the keys to her leadership culture of success was a conscious decision to create a new workplace (with rigorous measures in place) where people were treated with respect and dignity, yet challenged to perform at the highest level. As a result, silos were broken, managers began to listen, and collaboration increased because workers were valued.
4. They listen more and talk less.
Want to hear an insecure leader at work? Easy, just listen to their bragging--a mask for their insecurity. Confident leaders are unassuming and know what they think; they want to know what you think by listening intently. Practically speaking, this forgotten skill of listening well allows their followers the freedom to be part of the conversation. Such leaders will ask curious questions, lots of questions: how something is done, what you like about it, what you learned from it, and what you need in order to be better. Leaders with loyal followers realize they know a lot, and seek to know even more by listening.
5. They celebrate.
Take a cue from Kool and the Gang and celebrate all the good things that happen on a daily basis. Sure, you don't want to turn your office into a party zone and neglect the things that go wrong. But don't downplay or ignore what went right either. Give high-fives, fist bumps and hugs where and when appropriate, and celebrate your people's successes, even the small ones. Create a culture of praise and recognition, from the smallest wins to the biggest victories.
6. They get feedback about their leadership.
You want to know the definition of a fool? It's someone who refuses to accept or look at feedback. A great leader doesn't just put a team together, rolls out a program and leaves the scene. She constantly asks her employees for feedback about what's working, and what's not. She understands that to maintain a healthy work culture, she has to keep her finger on the pulse. Try asking yourself these powerful 15 questions to self-assess how you're doing as a leader.
As you look at these habits above, which ones would you say resonate with you the most as a leader? Which work well for you? I welcome your comments, or subscribe below and lets connect.