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In the spirit of constant learning, I’m thrilled to share an exciting adventure—three days immersed in witnessing an amazing leadership duo in action. This experience was a sparkling rain of insights, unearthing gems that now illuminate my work in coaching clients and guiding tech leadership.
It was a crazy weekend! Picture this: constant technical difficulties, emerging war, and emotions running high. Instead of shying away, we embraced it all, diving into the chaos to process and feel everything that needed acknowledgment. This training went beyond the realms of mere education; it was a trove of wisdom waiting to be discovered.
In the midst of this dynamic training, a moment of clarity emerged: a servant leader isn’t necessarily someone with superior knowledge or skills. Rather, it’s an individual who takes on the responsibility of enhancing the team’s well-being. Envision that colleague who not only tidies up the team’s kitchen, takes smart meeting notes, and organizes events but also steers the entire team towards corporate goals, equipping them with the necessary tools for success.
The Tale of Servant Leadership
Come with me! You are walking into the office and finding your leader standing beside you, eager to understand your challenges and provide support. This is the essence of servant leadership – a mindset that places the team’s needs at the forefront, fostering collaboration, empathy, and shared success. Simple and easy! Let’s unpack it and see how it could look like in typical software development day.
Putting Others First
Your leader proactively seeks to understand the hurdles you face in coding a complex feature, offering resources and guidance to ensure your success.
Empathy in Action
A servant leader actively listens when you express concerns about a tight deadline, offering support and adjusting expectations to alleviate unnecessary stress.
A servant leader isn’t just focused on project deadlines; they invest in your skills, providing opportunities for training or pairing you with a mentor to enhance your coding expertise.
What is NOT Servant Leadership
Now, let’s explore behaviors that deviate from the principles of servant leadership.
Instead of involving the team in crucial decisions, an authoritarian leader imposes decisions without considering the valuable input of the tech team. Such leaders often make decisions in isolation or with a select group of team members who are known for supporting their views.
Lack of Empathy
A leader who dismisses your concerns without offering support or understanding is not practicing empathy. Their inclination to prioritize tasks over well-being is frequently accompanied by external pressure from higher-ups to deliver results. In this scenario, it becomes evident that they have yet to fully embrace Leadership Rule Number 1: to shield the team from corporate challenges.
A leader solely focused on meeting project deadlines without considering your professional development isn’t embracing servant leadership. Typically, they do not prioritize their own learning and view training and diverse events as a waste of time and money. This perspective hinders both personal and team growth.
Tips for Transitioning Managers
Embarking on the journey towards servant leadership is an inspiring aspiration. Who wouldn’t want to live in a narrative where these principles are seamlessly woven into their team’s daily reality? However, the transition from aspiration to implementation requires more than good intentions. Without a structured plan and supportive company’s culture, the dream risks remaining a mere tale.
For current managers looking to switch to a servant leadership style without compromising company efficiency, here are two valuable tips:
Align Servant Leadership with Company Goals
- Identify areas where servant leadership can complement existing workflows and contribute to the achievement of company goals.
- Showcase how a focus on team well-being, open communication, and continuous learning can enhance overall productivity and innovation.
Foster a Culture of Accountability
- Implement clear performance metrics and objectives that align with servant leadership principles.
- Encourage team members to take ownership of their tasks while providing the support and resources necessary for success.
Why Does Servant Leadership Matter?
In the tech-driven landscape, servant leadership is not just a leadership style; it’s a game-changer. Embracing servant leadership nurtures a culture built on trust, empowerment, and an unwavering commitment to continuous improvement. This approach not only aligns directly with the principles of the agile manifesto but also resonates profoundly with the ethos of the DevOps movement, propelling teams toward collaborative success in the ever-evolving tech world.
So, techies, let’s celebrate and embrace servant leadership. Look around, and if you see these principles in action, you’re in the right place. And if not, let’s champion this approach together and create an even more remarkable workplace.