Category Archives: Influence

Servant Leadership

Now Can Be the Time for Servant Leadership
by Vice President Bill Florin

You want to do the right thing for your people, being there as a resource to help them do their best work. You want your team to be open, honest and engaged. Maybe you are trying to figure out how to lead Millennials and the next cohort of people hitting the job market, Generation Z. If any or all of these ideas resonate with you, it might be worth looking at Servant Leadership and what it can offer your organization.

Servant Leadership (SL) is a concept made popular by Robert K. Greenleaf. He realized, during his 38-year career at AT&T, that it is as important for the organization to serve people as it is for people to serve the organization. This was a revolutionary concept when he published his essay detailing the model in 1970. Since then, SL has grown in popularity. Learning Dynamics has been doing more work in this area as organizations seek ways to create inclusive, inspiring and engaging environments as a platform to growth.

Surveys have shown that the youngest generations of people in the workplace value authenticity, honest feedback, and an opportunity to be heard, respected and contribute. The leader who practices SL concepts makes this a part of her everyday work experience. More than a dictatorial, order-issuing boss, the SL manager works as a coach, creating a culture in which people can experiment, explore new ways of doing things, make mistakes, and innovate. Ultimately, work becomes a place where people feel supported and valued, a place where people can and want to do their best work.

One of our Connecticut-based Learning Dynamics clients recently engaged us to facilitate a workshop to review that organization’s SL journey since its official launch as a component of its operating platform more than a year ago. During this session, which hosted nearly 30 people, the entire management team engaged in discussion of their SL experiences. This conversation included the company president. The mood was relaxed; you would not know the president was the top person if we did not do introductions.

While there was much discussed during the three hours, one message was clear: The company is going through a transformation, becoming a place where trust, respect in every direction on the organizational chart, and open communication are reality, not some wish for the future.

Importantly, accountability is a critical part of the formula. The same culture that fosters collaboration also demands honesty and a coaching approach when an individual is falling behind. The leaders view open, honest, timely feedback as a vital component of their core roles. Servant Leadership is not soft.

It is true that changing culture is hard work. It can be a years-long journey. But for organizations that embrace the idea and align everyone it, from the part-time individual contributor to the CEO, Servant Leadership can be an energizing shift that boosts the company to new high-water marks for performance.

Learning Dynamics offers training, organization development and coaching services that can help your organization grow and excel. Contact us today to discover if Servant Leadership could be appropriate for your company.

Four Ways to Influence

Did you know that there are at least four distinct roles that you can play as an influencer? Whether you are a manager or not, a person with a formal leadership position or someone who is respected and valued without an authority-granting title, your ability to influence others is a critical competency needed in today’s work environment. Influencing and persuading others can be a powerful skill that helps teams, projects and processes move forward.

Here are four influencing roles you can play.

Teacher: When influencing as a teacher, remember your job is to explain, clarify, and instruct in a way that the learner feels comfortable and not threatened.

Promoter: The promoter is working to persuade others to consider an idea, concept or project.

Explorer: Influencing skills are used to help brainstorm new ideas, improve a process or think outside the box. You lead the effort to innovate. 

Inspirer: Influence others to raise the bar. Improve something. Your words create a call to action that helps others move to commit to a higher level.

The next time you are in a situation requiring influencing skills, think of the role you are being asked to play and why. It will help you to focus your message and find the right words to affect your audience and create change.

Barbara Phillips, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, authored this piece.

To find out how Learning Dynamics can help your organization maximize the influencing power of your people, visit our website or call 1-800-3SKILLS.