How A Servant-Leader Mindset Can Give New Leaders Instant Rapport
Gene was a new area manager and part of his new territory was to oversee the team at the largest revenue store in the company.
His first day was to tour each store for a few hours and introduce himself to the management and team members there. The store had great potential but the team was struggling and had new supervisors assigned in the last few weeks.
One of the key supervisors, Sherry, was on duty that day. As they were talking, Sherry who was very skeptical on the new management changes, asked Gene point-blank “So what changes are you going to make?”
Almost without thinking, Gene responded “Not sure, Sherry. What changes would you like to see?”
Instantly, Gene could see Sherry’s defenses drop. Her face became relived and her eyes opened with hope. She immediately and enthusiastically gave him her thoughts. Gene eagerly wrote it all down then proceeded to follow-up on her ideas over the next couple of weeks.
What Gene exhibited here was being others-aware in his servant leadership. He knew that while he had ideas and those whom he reported to had ideas, he needed to consult those closest to the customer and find the best solutions to allow all parties to be aligned.
But the most important thing Gene did, and quite consciously, is give Sherry a voice for her ideas. Many times, leaders in a new role or assignment will impose changes first to right the ship, then work on building the relationships afterwards. In this case, he made the team first by asking Sherry and each of her colleagues about their thoughts then immediately started to act on them.
Many times, leaders in a new role or assignment will impose changes first to right the ship then work on building the relationships afterwards.
By creating a priority of hearing, and acting, on the voice of their people, a leader can gain instant credibility of their team to ease the transition process of their new role and better align everyone by building trust.
It’s a simple, effective and proven principle of servant leadership. Serving your people with their best interests will allow a leader to develop a strong sense of teamwork and rapport.
Once a leader does this, they also set the stage for consistent action along these lines as well. People will see through the leader who is receptive at first then changes color afterwards (kind of a bait-and-switch style of leadership) and that will decimate a leader’s effectiveness and reputation quickly.
A leader who is resolute in displaying and continuing a servant leadership style will start out with strong alignment, a high degree of trust and a more engaged team of performers that will enable them to attain better levels of achievement in the organization. It sets a delicate balance for the leader in which their true colors and agenda will be measured to the baseline they set. Servant leaders at their core will be able to measure up while others will struggle.
A leader who is resolute in displaying and continuing a servant leadership style will start out with strong alignment, a high degree of trust and a more engaged team of performersTweet
While I believe people can overcome a bad first impression, that first interaction with a new team can be an essential step towards success if handled with the correct mindset.
With Sherry’s help, Gene was able to guide the team to understand their opportunities for development which enabled them to meet their goals consistently for the coming years. He realized it was that team-first mentality that got the team committed to him to make the changes that were asked for. The store’s sales and sense of pride soon became the model for the organization as a result.
Handle your new role and/or new team with care. If done correctly the results can be tremendous in creating a company or department of deep trust and commitment.