Larry Spears, in his book Reflections on Leadership, suggests a different way of looking at leadership: “Traditional autocratic and hierarchical modes of leadership are slowly yielding to a newer model—one that attempts to simultaneously enhance the personal growth of workers and improve quality and caring through a combination of teamwork and community, personal involvement in decision making, and ethical and caring behavior…called ‘servant leadership.’”
At the heart of this is the idea that the project leader—having made the conscious decision to lead—is still a servant first because the decision to lead is rooted in the desire to serve better (help others), rather than gaining increased power (help oneself). Ultimately, the objective is to enhance the growth of team members on the project and increase teamwork and personal involvement. A servant leader’s first question is, “How can I help you?”
The servant leader avoids the common top-down hierarchical concept; emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power; provides what team members need to operate at peak performance; and must consider the individuality and special needs of each team member. They see themselves as a resource for—not the boss of—the team.
In sum, the entire approach is based simply on the principle that leading is about serving others—employees, customers, and community. When the project leader endorses these behaviors: active listening, empathy, awareness, persuasion, conceptualization, foresight, stewardship, commitment to others’ growth, and community building, then the behavioral work is done. When goals are achieved, the team says “Amazing! We did it all by ourselves!”
Over the course of these 10 blogs, I have shared with you what I believe are the leadership responsibilities, competencies, and behaviors—the building blocks of the RCB approach—to provide project leaders with the tools and techniques that ensure success. Hopefully, these blogs have made it clear that it’s essential to take care of the “people” side of things (i.e., emotions, motivations, needs, aspirations, etc.), and that the degree of success you achieve as a project leader will be measured by the results that are realized through the efforts of the team.
It’s my firm belief that the information I’ve shared here will equip project leaders with skills and abilities they can apply to optimize productivity, boost performance and deliver high-quality results. Ultimately, a successful project leader will build a team in which each member’s strengths are made productive while their limitations are made irrelevant by the strengths of others.
To learn more, download the complete article – Leadership Success: Behaviors, Competencies and Responsibilities That Produce Positive Results. – Behaviors– written by James L Haner documenting the behaviors of a successful leader.