My favorite study in leadership is and most assuredly will always be servant-leadership. Leaders who serve are are the most effective leaders. If you want good followers let others know you truly care for them. You cannot fake being a servant-leader; you must simply become one. Some have a difficult time understand this principle, because all they want others to do is to serve to meet their own leadership goals. These are the leaders that always like to take charge of others without input.
I’ve heard it said,
The best way to learn something new is to listen to your critics.
When we are challenged, our first reaction is to shutdown, but servant-leaders listen to those around them. Listening is one of the most difficult tasks we can do. If we listen to others, we may find things about ourselves we never knew before. This helps us to learn more about our strengths and more importantly about our weaknesses.
I have worked for people who only want to work with “cogs in a machine.” I probably do not have to tell you, but those who serve in this position do feel like cogs in a machine. These people clock in, do their job and go home. They do not have anything real invested. In most cases it is not that they do not want to do a good job, but they really do not feel important enough to invest anything more. When followers feel they are supported and cared for they know their input and skills are valid. These are not cogs in a machine, but are fully committed to the success of the organization.
Having followers who are committed launches an organization into new hemispheres of greatness. Apple is one of these organizations where thought is valued. Allowing innovation brought Apple to great heights, which have made a huge impact in the world. Who has not heard of Apple! Even while you read this, you are not thinking of fruit, but of technology. Caring, supporting and allowing innovation creates this type of environment.
Create by building an environment of innovation.