In high school, I was a high hurdler. Mind you, I’m only of average height. So, occasionally, I would end up exactly as the hurdler in this picture. It wasn’t pleasant, I can assure you. But in a way, it was quite apt to my approach to leadership later in life.
What hurdles have you removed from your followers today? Be specific.
A key tenet of servant leadership is ensuring you are engaged in actively and deliberately identifying challenges facing your followers and dedicating yourself to their removal (the challenges, not the followers!). When you do that, you can step back and allow your empowered employees to survive, thrive, and drive your organization forward. That’s your sole responsibility as a leader.
What about vision and setting direction? Think about it. That’s just a hurdle. If your people don’t know the vision of the organization or the direction in which you’re headed (or intend to head), they will be challenged to know what actions and decisions to make. Set that vision, and you are removing a hurdle.
What about managing performance? Isn’t that a responsibility of management? Sure it is….but again, it’s about freeing followers to grasp opportunities to move themselves and the organization forward. Provide them with such opportunities and, trust me, their performance will be enhanced. It’s a win-win.
If you as a leader are focused today on anything other than hurdle removal, stop what you’re doing and refocus. Chances are you are spending time in your followers’ purview. Promote leadership throughout the organization. Yours is as chief hurdle remover. Your followers may also be to remove hurdles at lower levels of the organization. Or it may simply be to lead themselves through a now “hurdle-less” work environment….engaged, empowered, and enthused to be working for such a great leader….YOU!