Lead Like a Servant: How to Develop a Positive, Hard-Working, Fiercely Loyal Team

January 10, 2014 | Roger and Susie Engelau

Here’s a simple truth. When it comes to getting business results, you can’t do everything yourself.

There just aren’t enough hours in the day for you to master the vital skills, complete the critical tasks, and create the key relationships that’ll take you from where you are now to where you want to be.

Even if you’re a solopreneur, you need the support of others—vendors, experts, customers, suppliers, mentors, community—to succeed.  If your organization is more complex, good support crucial. You need specialists, people who have mastered skills you don’t possess.  And you need them to be able to work well with others, to bring their gifts to the table to complement the gifts of other staff members, so that you and your team can move quickly and decisively toward a shared vision.

So how do you bring people together cohesively?  Leadership expert John Maxwell says, “People don’t care what you have to say until they know that you care about them.”

Let me say that again, because I believe it that deeply. People don’t care what you have to say until they know that you care about them.

Society at large says that in order to be successful, you have to look out for Number 1.  But when it comes to leadership, looking out for your people first pays substantially higher dividends.

This is “servant leadership”—and it may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s incredibly effective. It starts when you care enough about the people you’re leading to gain a solid understanding of who they really are, as well as their dreams, goals, hopes, and gifts.  Then you structure your relationship with them so that as they get results in your business, they simultaneously come closer to achieving what matters most to them.

Care about them, and they’ll care about you.

So, how do you do it?

Over the next two weeks, I’ll be sharing some of the most effective servant leadership tips I’ve discovered—ways to become a leader who inspires loyalty, hard work, and dedication from your team members.  This is something I’m extremely passionate about, so be sure to tune in.

In the meantime, sound off in the comments below: who are some of the most effective servant leaders you’ve encountered?  What did they do to be so effective?  Why is it true that you have to care about others before they’ll care about you?