It’s not if, but when.
Crises of all sizes lurk in the shadows right around the corner. They don’t wait until you’re ready. They don’t come on your terms. They will show up, daily usually, in various shapes and sizes. These every day disruptions can derail productivity, negatively impact culture and leave employees floundering. Crises do not pose a good look for any organization.
Resilience skills are non-negotiable. If you want your organization to thrive, you have to be resilient. If you want your team to innovate, they have to be open to bouncing back against failure. If you want your leaders to be empowered, they have to be able to see through a crises and enter in with momentum and purpose.
When leaders build their personal resilience skills, they are better suited to support and encourage others to build theirs as well. If a company wants to become resilient, they should invest in ensuring their leaders know how.
Now, a leader’s goal as a servant leader is not to be the resilient hero who saves the organization from doom. That won’t happen no matter how much you dream it. Instead, they must become a role model who demonstrates resilience, even when they don’t necessarily feel confident in themselves. Their job is to engage and inspire their team so all working through the disruption together.
You’ll find that the Resilience Ready Principles outlined in my book, Resilience Ready: The Leader’s Guide to Thriving Through Unrelenting Crises, inspire leadership practices that align with many servant leadership competencies.
In the book, Servant Leadership in Action, author Larry C. Spears, former President & CEO of the Robert K. Greenleaf Center for Servant-Leadership, summarizes ten of the most important core characteristics and beliefs of servant leaders from the work of Robert K. Greenleaf, founder of the modern servant leadership movement:
- Listening: Servant leaders listen intently and receptively to what is said and not said; and hearing one’s own inner voice.
- Empathy: Servant leaders strive to understand and empathize with others.
- Healing: Servant leaders see the potential for healing one’s self and one’s relationships to others and take action accordingly.
- Awareness: General awareness, self-awareness, an ability to view most situations from a more integrated, holistic position is at the heart of servant leadership.
- Persuasion: Servant leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance.
- Conceptualization: Servant leaders think beyond day-to-day realities to look at a problem or an organization from a conceptualizing perspective, nurturing their abilities to dream great dreams.
- Foresight: The ability to foresee the likely outcome of a situation based on lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision for the future is a skill of servant leaders.
- Stewardship: Servant leaders hold a commitment to serving the needs of others with openness and persuasion rather than control.
- Commitment to the growth of people: Servant leaders are deeply committed to the growth of each individual within the organization, believing that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions.
- Building community: Servant leaders identify some means of building community among those who work with and are connected to a given organization.
Resilience is integral to servant leadership. Its strength is in managing beyond the operational activities and empowering your team members with the capacity to thrive. It is, however, an ongoing journey. It’s a learned skill based on a set of principles and practices developed over time. It requires commitment to learning and working at the principles when you are not in a crisis to develop the muscle memory needed for when a major upheaval appears.
Providing training and support can build a culture that helps employees develop and practice their resilience skills. And, the results will be growth into an extremely strong, road- and weather-tested individual, team, and organization that can stand the test of time. If I can be of help, please let me know.