When you think of a leader, what comes to mind? What about a boss? If these two terms are not synonymous in your vocabulary, then the remainder of this post is for you.
Imagine two scenarios:
- You show up to work only to be yelled at by a superior demanding that certain tasks get done in an unreasonable amount of time. There is no appreciation when you meet their extreme expectations, and you feel like you have been stuck in the same position for too long.
- Your boss asks how projects are going and asks if there is any way they can lend a hand. Not only do they go out of their way to provide assistance, but they make sure you have all the tools necessary to reach your full potential.
These might sound like two extremes, but scenario 1 exists far too often. There is one simple way to revolutionize how you lead which creates an environment where everyone thrives. This is done through something called servant leadership. Most people view leaders as someone who is at the top and commands people below. Servant leadership flips that idea around and puts the leader on the same level as his subordinates getting the work done with them. The boss from scenario 2 embraces this idea and lets it show in how he directs his employees.
In my six years of employment working various jobs, I have experienced both forms of leadership. A scenario 1 boss creates an environment of hostility and fear in the workplace. Not only do employees dread coming to work, but they are motivated to only put in enough effort to get the boss off their back. A scenario 2 boss creates a warm and trusting environment that employees love. Not only do they look forward to work, but they want to go above and beyond because their boss leads by example.
The beauty of servant leadership is that it does not stop there. One of my favorite quotes is from Todd Wagner. He says, “Great men use power to serve others.” Part of being a servant leader is not just leading by example, but it is using your available resources to ensure that your employees are maximizing their potential and advancing in their careers. If you master this skill as you move up the corporate ladder, there will be no limits.
This idea of leadership is easy to grasp but much harder to put into practice. As a student myself, it is something I constantly strive for because acting as an effective servant leader is not something that happens overnight. I know that if I begin trying now, it will come much easier when I do start off in my career.
Now think of the best boss you have ever worked for; do you see any similarities between how they lead and how a servant leader acts? Perhaps you can think of a terrible boss who does the opposite of what servant leader does. Regardless of which category your superiors fall under, understand that servant leadership is the golden standard. When you put it into practice, you will soon realize that it is a challenging and humbling experience. However, the quicker you adopt the upside-down view of leadership, the better off you will be.