Effective, servant leadership means to develop each individual’s capability and productivity, you must tap into the whole person–physical, emotional, and spiritual.
You must attend to all of these dimensions.
For physical well-being, the person needs to be paid fairly. She needs to meet her most basic needs like working in a safe, healthy, secure setting. To be well-served emotionally, one must feel enthusiasm, harmony, passion, and support at work.
To be engaged mentally, leaders need to allow employees to use their creativity, innovation, skills, and knowledge. And, for spiritual well-being, you need to discover where each employee finds meaning, value, and purpose.
Get to know your employees by learning what motivates them in all of these areas. After all, how can you motivate someone without fully understanding them?
I’ve learned a lot from my work with Native Americans. One of the most critical lessons I’ve learned is the importance of balance and holistic health.
For example, many Native American tribes use the medicine wheel, a round symbol that represents the circle of life. What I like about the medicine wheel is that the four segments of the circle symbolize (among other things), the four directions, the four seasons, and the four elements of our being–heart, mind, body, and soul. For us to have balance and harmony, we must nurture all four of these elements.
Whole Person Inventory
One exercise I do with my leaders in training is the “Whole Person Inventory”. This is where you ask your employees questions regarding each dimension.
- Emotional. What are you passionate about? Do you love what you’re doing where you work?
- Mental. Where are you most knowledgeable, skilled, and competent? Are you using those competencies here?
- Physical. Are you financially secure? Do you feel safe here? Are you paid fairly?
- Spiritual. What would make your work most meaningful to you? Is your work consistent with your values? Does your contribution here fit with your sense of purpose or direction? Does your work give you a sense of authenticity/integrity?
Untapped Energy and Enthusiasm
This information is crucial to your role as a servant leader.
Unless you ask each of your employees the above questions, do you really understand their true knowledge, skills, and abilities; their untapped energy and enthusiasm; and, the special, unexpected ways they may contribute to your organization?
Without asking these powerful questions, you might not reveal the unique motivators of each of your team members. In fact, answering these questions will help you find the best match for your employees to their role at your organization. It can give them not just the opportunity to do what they do best, but also to do what makes them most happy.
Learn to respect all four parts of the person and nurture him/her in each area. Make an investment in your employees’ well-being in each area. And, help them build their capabilities in all dimensions. This will bring you the best long-term results. Now, that’s servant leadership, wouldn’t you agree?
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