Leg 4: Knowledge

Lesson 3: Topic 16 of 19

The servant leader doesn’t know it all.

Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.

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Our employees can see when we don’t know what to do next. Here’s the challenge: Realize that THAT’S OKAY! Who said the boss is supposed to have all the answers? We are only deceiving ourselves when we believe we don’t need the experience and knowledge of others. 

The employees that are around us daily are oftentimes the best people to ask when we need ideas and input. 

When success is achieved, you are able to take your employees with you to celebrate it. The servant leader recognizes that without her employees, she wouldn’t be where she is today. She applauds her employees, and praises their accomplishments the loudest.

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Behind an able man there are always other able men.

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Bear in mind: you cannot overcommunicate appreciation. Do it publicly, do it regularly, and do it specifically (as in, don’t be vague; “great job!” or “good work” mean little; “Really appreciate you turning in your paperwork on time” or “The way you took care of Mrs. Smith was wonderful!” mean a lot). If you’re not really a people person, more task oriented, then make it a task – put in your calendar, and mark it complete when done. And don’t segmentize the work from the person; affirm them both.

But is it really okay to not have all the answers? Yes, it is. 

Leading… does not mean coming up with the answers and then motivating everyone to follow your messianic vision. It means having the humility to grasp the fact that you do not yet understand enough to have the answers and then to ask the questions that will lead to the best possible insights.

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On the big issues, counsel from other professionals can be invaluable. Whom do you know that could be a trustworthy, reliable “sounding board” for you? When it comes down to “Should I open another location? Buy out my competitor? Take on a business partner?” and similar major questions, hearing other perspectives is good judgement and demonstrates wisdom, not weakness. Seek help from those who have experience in these matters.

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Pause and consider: Are there issues with jealousy on your team? Are you willing to encourage and support those with skills beyond your own?