It’s common knowledge that there are two kinds of leaders, those who speak and those who do. Those who speak are referred to as “vocal leaders,” and those who do are referred to as “servant leaders,” though the title of the latter is frequently off-putting to business leaders of self-proclaimed high stature.
While leaders with excellent communication and motivational skills are often praised for these skills, they’re not the only component to being an effective leader. It’s the servant leadership that I’m most frequently hard-pressed to find.
Rising to a certain level of leadership in an organization often comes with a self-righteous attitude that beats to the tune of, “I’ve got people who can take care of that for me now.” In many cases, that is a legitimate response—certain job titles and responsibilities can’t afford to take care of tasks that once occupied their time. However, over-delegation is a disease that starts at the top and spreads through any collection of people working toward a common goal. It pollutes the leader’s image in the minds of his or her employees, as well as sets precedence for that type of behavior at all levels of the organization.
What’s so often missing in a dynamic leadership setting is a leader who does extraordinary things. Leaders who do extraordinary things lead by example, or “walk the talk,” as we businesspeople love to say. Those leaders believe in servant leadership and practice it daily, and they are the ones to whom their employees look up to…not out of fear or intimidation, but with respect and admiration. They are the leaders that people want to follow. They are the ones who take their organizations beyond engagement to a state of entanglement, where employees are so connected to the success of their organization that its goals become synonymous with their own.
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