A “servant leader” operates in a way that makes people less dependent on their leadership, while a “hero leader” operates in a way that makes people more dependent on their leadership.
- Servant leaders are “force multipliers”, because they promote the independent thinking and the self-sufficiency that make people more productive.
- Hero leaders become “force-dividers”, because they create dependencies that slow things down and make people less productive.
Think of it this way - when people are dependent on you or have to seek your advocacy, your approval, your endorsement, your agreement, your decisions, your mediation, your ideas or your solutions...you're slowing things down and people are less productive. You're being a force divider. There are times where you need to step in. Where you need to be directive. But you want that to be the exception, and not the norm.
Force multipliers serve their people by helping them grow and by pushing them outside their comfort zones.
- They design and communicate their value system, belief system and guiding principles.
- Then they set clear and unambiguous standards, and hold people accountable.
- They delegate authority and empower people with clear roles and responsibilities.
- They give stretch assignments and use feedback, role models, best practices, and trial and error to help their people learn while getting real work done.
- They hold people accountable, not just for their outcomes, but for their choices.
- And they view setbacks as learning opportunities.
- They create a safe space where people can be vulnerable and share their thoughts without the fear of being judged.
- They don't solve problems for people, but they coach problem solving skills.
- They don't give all the answers, but they ask the right questions. Questions that help people focus and think independently.
- They promote a 'team-first' mentality.
- They hire team players and they place a very high value on teamwork.
- They encourage collaborative learning, mentoring and always have their coaching hat on
- They celebrate diversity of thought, encourage disagreements and constructive conflicts, and they discourage groupthink.
- They don't mediate disputes, but they facilitate alignment.
These are the leadership behaviors of a force multiplier, and the leadership style of a “servant leader”.
Remember, when you increase people's dependency on you, you're being a “force divider”. But when you reduce people's dependency on you, you're being a force multiplier!