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Blueprint for a servant leader

Exert your authority by backing off

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Office Management,Workplace Communication

Fred Manske Jr., CEO of Purolator Courier, said you can manage employees more effectively when you become a “servant leader” who tries to help them. Many readers have asked us for pointers on how they can act more like servant leaders.

If you believe that your success as a manager flows from your commitment to service, then you’re on the right track. By treating your employees unselfishly— and looking for ways to brighten their days—you can extract the maximum effort from them and engender strong loyalty. Examples:

Lend a hand. Look for opportunities to play the good Samaritan. Help an employee jump-start her car in the parking lot or donate money to her charity walkathon.

On Lawrence Weinbach’s first day as CEO of Unisys Corp., he opened a door for an employee carrying a computer and picked up a piece of paper she dropped. When he returned to his office, he found a batch of messages on his desk thanking him for the gesture. Morale soon improved.

Provide tools. Invite employees to tell you what they need to do their jobs better. When you delegate, ask them, “Do you have all the necessary tools and resources to get this done?”

If they make reasonable requests for more or better equipment, follow through. Show that you support them by listening and responding to their needs.

Empathize first. Before you volunteer an opinion or assign a task, step into your employee’s shoes. Ask yourself, “What’s this person’s take?” or “To what extent do they understand and agree with my approach?”

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