Most leaders started out as followers. Leadership comes from mastery of a concept or idea and inspiring and motivating others to achieve a common goal. Good leaders have spent significant time in the trenches and never stop, even after they’re promoted.
Being a leader and being the boss is not synonymous. Leadership requires a willingness to take on more responsibilities than the team and to be willing to work just as hard, if not harder. Sadly, if you are in a leadership role and act like a boss, you give leadership a bad name. The imagery of someone sitting at a desk with their feet up while others do the work that they claim for themselves leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. The idea is that leaders have paid their dues and don’t have to work hard anymore. Sadly, this is a way that leadership gets a bad name. Also, some leaders lose touch with what it takes to be on the front lines and diminish or discount the hard work of the people they lead. In both cases, this can cause a rift between leaders and teammates.
The best leaders have a heart for service and never stop. No matter how high their leadership title, great leaders serve others and seek to understand better the needs of the people they are leading. Here are some easy ways to continue to serve, even when you’re the leader-
- Don’t be afraid to do the work too
- Seek to determine what others need
- Ask more questions
- Delegate, but be sure to do the work too.
The best leaders make time to get alongside the people they serve and do the work too. Delegating is an essential function of leadership. You can’t lead if you are doing all the work, but it’s important to keep morale high and keep your skills polished too. You can do both by working alongside the people you lead and showing them there’s nothing you aren’t too important to do.
Find out what people need to make things easier.
The people you lead have a lot on their plate. They have on and off duty lives too. Keeping your finger on the pulse of what they need offers opportunities for you to serve them and build their trust and respect for you. Great leaders know when their teams need something to make their work easier or to offset troubles they have off the clock. Stay in touch and in tune with your teams, and you’ll transform your leadership skills exponentially.
Always ask questions.
Leaders have to hand down a lot of policies and procedures that their teams have to follow. Whether it’s your family or people you lead for work, asking them questions and getting their input can help everyone feel heard and valued. Sometimes someone you lead might have an idea or a process that is better than the one you implemented. Great leaders include their wealth of resources in their leadership. This includes asking questions of the people they lead.
Serving others, even when you’re the leader, is vital. There’s no title too high that excludes someone from service. There are many ways to lead and many ways to serve, and the two always go hand in hand.