Earlier in the month, I was part of the lucky group who attended Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur Summit in London.
The recurring theme of the conference was “building the business of you”. Why does this matter if you’re trying to understand how to be a servant leader?
Being a leader is the business of you, too. You have “internal” customers (partners, stakeholders, team members…); you sell your ideas, your influence and, therefore – indirectly – yourself.
If you think we’re about to discuss sales pitches, though, worry not! The most efficient way to sell yourself is to serve relentlessly and lead through trust, so that you can influence decisions.
Want to deepen your sense of service, then? Let’s see how last weekend’s talks can help you be a servant leader.
A servant leader puts other people first
The secret of servant leadership for success is to seek people who share the same purpose, and then empower them to give their best.
Chris Ducker opened the event with this exact message; the next 2 days would be about being part of a community of like-minded people, and supporting each other to be inspired and take action.
If you want to be a servant leader, it’s important to provide constructive feedback that will result in better performance. Do you impart a sense self-development for your team members? What dod you do to inspire them?
A servant leader prefers “sell” to “tell”
I heard many times at the Youpreneur Summit that customers don’t like to be told what to do (but in a way, that’s what they expect anyway).
Customers need to be guided. But, at the same time, they need to be convinced that they’re in control of their decisions throughout the whole journey. How can we bridge the gap?
Building trust by educating others is a sure step to becoming a servant leader. Can you help others come up with the best options on their own? Do you ask one question after the other, gently guiding your team members’ thinking, instead of providing the full solution?
Want to move from confused to influential leader? Download my FREE e-book to discover 3 practical steps to build trust in yourself and inspiration in others.
A servant leader coaches others
In the first keynote of the day, John Lee Dumas explained how Entrepreneur on Fire became one of the best podcasts about entrepreneurship.
So, how did he do it? By gradually educating his prospects on the benefits of his products (via blog posts, or even videos). In a way, they were coached until it became obvious the solution he offered was what they desperately needed.
There’s always tremendous value in giving up a couple of minutes to listen to others and offer a response that could empower them to do more.
A true servant leader knows that people perform at best when they feel good about themselves. Do you celebrate successes? Do you encourage people to be open when they feel down? Do you show them why it’s important not to give up? And, most importantly, do you listen more than you speak?
A servant leader is humility personified
This post wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the importance of developing humility as a leader.
In Colin Gray’s focused session about setting and keeping up with goals, I picked up these elegant words:
You achieve very little on your own. There’s always more than you involved. Remove your ego from the equation and get your hands dirty. Give praise to each and every person who made a contribution, big or small. Be authentic in your words and modest in your attitude.
A servant leader values diversity of opinions
Customer opinion is the highest data point you can ever get, and work with. Each and every talk was a reminder to ask your customers what they struggle with, feel or want.
But are you doing the same with your team? Do you really value different opinions? (I hope so, because it’s the easiest way to build trust and at the same time add value to a conversation).
Collaboration is the answer to blind spots in decision-making. To be a servant leader, encourage people to come forward with ideas and opinions. A different perspective has the power to validate a known assumption, or to lead people to the point where they can spot their own thinking bias!
A servant leader feels responsibility towards others
A good leader has empathy towards others. All servant leaders are deeply empathetic.
Jon Jantsch opened the second day of the conference by discussing the importance of customer experience. How it’s essential to care deeply to create a meaningful connection with the people you wish to help.
As a leader, what is your “customer experience” like? Are you connected to your peers in a way that makes you feel the pain when it fails? What about your own responsibility? Are you deeply committed to help others achieve their development goals for good?
All over the inaugural Youpreneur Summit, you heard: “Serve first, sell later”.
Service goes deeper than giving people a sense of “you doing something for them”. Ultimately, service acts as a trust builder. It’s all about “you being there for them”.
Understanding how to be a servant leader will help you deepen your relationships. It will increase others’ sense of trust in you. And expand your own sphere of influence.
Trust moves people to act like no other force. That’s why a leader with a servant’s heart is a truly invaluable asset.