Wednesday, June 13, 2018

The Six Dimension of Servant Leadership


In today’s world, leaders are being called upon to provide a new kind of leadership: servant leadership. Gone are the days when a simple “command-and-control” pattern worked. The old military style of the “kick-in-the-rear” has outlived its time. It no longer fits contemporary social values, and it is no longer very effective.

An effective leader is one who is highly effective in six major dimensions of accomplishment in working with others:

Vision and Values
To be a good visionary you have to be able to see the big picture, understand what’s happening, and decide where your team needs to go. You must have a clearly defined vision for your team’s success.  You know what they want to accomplish and each team member’s role.  You must keep up to date on current events in their field.  You’re also knowledgeable and informed, so you’re able to make timely decisions.  You need to foresee problems and plan for them.  Service leaders are role models for the values that they represent.

If you don’t know where you want to go, any road will take you there. – Anon 

Direction
Your job as a leader is to help people get things done. People work more productively when they have clearly defined goals to achieve. You make the strategic vision into a reality. A leader sets the overall direction for the team. This means choosing what’s most important for the team to accomplish, setting goals to accomplish it, setting priorities that keep everyone’s mind on the goals on a day-to-day basis, and helping everyone understand the plan.

A leader’s job is to turn great thoughts into crude deeds. – Peter Drucker

Persuasion
It’s not enough to have a clear vision and a sense of direction, although those are critical elements of effective leadership. You must also be able to get others to see, understand, and believe in the vision. When the whole team believes in the leader’s vision, they are more likely to commit to achieving that vision.  Leaders convey self-confidence in themselves and in their abilities.  They are able to communicate effectively with their team to ensure that each member is clear on the team’s direction and priorities.  They frequently remind the team of the goals and mission in order to keep them on target.  Leaders are good listeners.  They allow others to communicate their ideas and create an atmosphere where they are comfortable doing so.  Leaders follow through on their decisions and see them through to completion.

Being an effective leader means knowing how to “enroll” others in your vision. – Warren Bennis

Support
You are there to help when people need you. You help them keep their minds focused on the real priorities, and maintain a positive frame of mind about their work. Leaders ensure that everyone functions well as a team and provides the team with the tools and resources required to achieve the desired outcome.  You need to have the skills to think logically and analytically. You need a good command of essential facts and figures. And you must be able to approach problems systematically. They encourage creativity and provide guidance to resolve issues quickly and efficiently.

Great ideas need landing gear as well as wings. – Anon.

Development
You must help people develop their capabilities and express their potential, both individually and collectively. People don’t thrive as individuals when they’re stuck in dead-end jobs, doing the same old things over and over. Everyone needs to be challenged at times, to take on new things, and to learn new skills. An effective leader is one who sees to it that people have a chance to grow.

Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions. – Oliver Wendell Holmes

Appreciation
One of the deepest human needs is the need for appreciation.  Servant leaders give respect and recognition where it is due.  They show team members that they care by showing respect and appreciation for their efforts.  A good leader can inspire people and help them feel good about what they’re doing. It could be as simple as communicating their gratitude.  In return, these leaders receive loyalty, dedication and higher productivity.  Leaders encourage team members to contribute ideas and they value these ideas.

The deepest craving in all human beings is the need to be appreciated. – William James

Leaders at all levels of the organization need to be comfortable with all six of these dimensions. Of course, each of the six will come into play in a particular form, depending on the level involved. At the senior manager level, Vision and Values tend to be critically important. So are Direction and Persuasion. The other dimensions are also important, of course, but in different ways. At middle levels, interpreting the Vision and Values and the Direction become important. At the frontline level, tactical leaders usually have to focus much more closely on getting the actual work done. The dimensions of Support, Development, and Appreciation become critically important. The six dimensions of servant leadership apply equally well in situations where the leader or would-be leader has no formal managerial authority. 

These six dimensions represent the traits or skills necessary to become an effective Servant Leader.  By evaluating your current skills and comparing them against the items listed above, you will be able to get an idea of the skills you need to develop.


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