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Tips to Implement Servant Leadership in Your Company
Episode 19316th November 2020 • American Lean Weekday: Leadership | Lean Culture & Intrapreneurship | Lean Methods | Industry 4.0 | Case Studies • Tom Reed: Lean Enthusiast & President of American Lean
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We hear a lot about servant leadership, but do you know what that means? More importantly, how do you implement servant leadership in your company? Servant leadership is not a natural way of leading, but you can develop servant leaders if you have patience, persistence and practice. I want to provide some tips in this blog.

Tip 1 - Understand your current state

Like any journey, it is important to understand where you are starting. Robert Greenleaf identified 21 pillars of servant leadership in the 70s. There are many assessments you can take as a leader to understand your current state.  Here is one that I believe will serve you well.

Organizational Leadership Servant leadership assessment is here.

Armed with this information, you can decide about what to improve next with you and your team.

Tip 2 - Start with small teams

You can’t jump on a bike and ride 100 miles in a week without training for months or years. The same is true for developing servant leaders in your company. You won’t change the culture overnight. It’s important to start small and slowly allowing it to become part of your business.

Begin with a small team of your key leaders and have them begin with the assessment. Meet as a team and discuss the results. Be open and operate with a judgement free mindset. For success, it’s important your leaders feel free to share their starting points.

Tip 3 - Challenge the team with questions

Ask questions such as, “Are we moving in the direction of becoming a servant leader organization? If so where in the organization?”

“Is this important to us as a leadership team? How will we benefit? What are the consequences if we do not do this?

“Where can we try out servant leadership right now? Does our current culture support servant leadership? How will we hold ourselves accountable?”

Tip 4 – Review each area of the business

The next step in the journey is rollout servant leadership actions in the specific functional areas of your business. Conduct a review of each of your functional areas and try to identify a few that have the right leaders, culture and support for your rollout.

When you identify the areas for rolling out servant leader activities, have those leaders identify actions they want to start, continue or quit. Using this framework allows the leaders in those expanded areas to reflect upon their actions and identify areas where they can improve.

As they become more comfortable leading in a servant leader manner, use them to coach and direct others in the organization. Using this cascading will allow you to implement servant leadership in your company that will be successful!

As always, it is an honor to serve you, and I hope that you and your company are getting better every day!

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