Leadership/Management Development – By Melissa Alleyne
Servant leadership directly affects employee satisfaction and growth.
I once came across this quote, “An amazing boss is hard to find, difficult to part with and impossible to forget.” As I read this, the term “servant leader” came to mind. I realized that this type of leadership is what makes the difference between success and failure in many businesses.
Today we are navigating through everchanging times, and it is essential to build a team-oriented environment. Most vital is a leader who will strive to empower their direct reports to be all that they can be. It is even more important to have leadership that allows flexibility, supports autonomy and finds a teaching moment in every situation.
Many corporations are beginning to recognize the importance of servant leadership, as it directly affects employee satisfaction and growth and ultimately increases retention. Servant leadership consistently results in more of an “I can do it” versus an “I don’t think I can do it” attitude.
I once had a boss who would tell our team, “Growth seldom exists without discomfort.” He encouraged autonomy and challenged us to go above and beyond what we thought we were capable of. Even when we felt we were not qualified to do a task, he would remind us that to grow, we must step out of our comfort zones.
When we fell short of the goal, he provided constructive feedback and encouraged us to look at what we did that worked and what we could have done differently. I never felt like a failure but looked at it as a learning opportunity that helped me to function better in my role. Focusing on what I learned in the process versus the outcome helped me to improve my performance.
Since my experience with my amazing boss, I would advise anyone going into a leadership position to:
- Be self-aware: Set and prioritize goals and always take responsibility for your actions, positive or negative.
- Focus on developing your team: Build a team that is diverse, with varied skills, backgrounds and personalities. Encourage collaboration among your team and give them the resources they need to accomplish the goals.
- Effectively communicate: Always give concise, detailed instructions, so that the task to be completed is clear.
- Have an open-door policy: While boundaries should be in place, providing opportunities for your team to have access to you and to one another when needed is vital to building trust.
- Provide empathetic, yet strong feedback in a non-judgmental manner. Be available to give input and suggestions to help streamline processes and ultimately, promote working smarter.
- Focus on training: As Richard Branson famously said, “Train people well enough so they can leave, but treat them well enough so they don’t want to.”
- Last, but not least, be flexible and do not micromanage: Policies and
regulations are necessary to successfully run a business, but recognizing your team as professionals who are qualified to do their jobs is also necessary for success in business.
Once you experience a servant leader – specifically your boss – you will look back and wonder how you ever made it with anything less. Furthermore, you will have a positive example of the type of skills and characteristics required to lead a successful team and what you will strive to be when you are a leader.
Melissa O. Alleyne, RN, BSN, OCN, is a trainer, IV therapy & clinical education, for B. Braun Medical. Email Melissa at email@example.com.