• Nature coaching Poppy field

Service Leadership

Posted on Mon August 28, 2017.

This blog forms part of a number of short stories where wilderness experiences can be found. It serves to remind us that observing natures solutions brings us forward and inspires us every day.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela showed us how leadership is best done. This is proven to be by far the most effective way to motivate others around us on the long term. He was leading by giving space to let team members shine and grow individually. He was focused on creating a stronger team.

This new style of leadership, that is called “Service Leadership” is also found throughout our natural world from as small as a column of soldier ants, to a group of Zebra (harem) and further to a giant elephant matriarch and her herd. Evolution has naturally selected which leadership style and which social structure supports wildlife populations the most effectively on the long term. We can learn a lot by only observing nature’s magnificent solutions and using them to our benefit. Service Leadership is all around us without us sometimes noticing it.

Leaders in nature are authentic beings and know from their instincts that there is a deep mutual dependency on each other. Simpler said; there is no alpha wolf pair without the other wolves. In our world this means that there is no author without its readers, no musician without an audience and there is no leader without it’s team members. So what is Service Leadership in its essence? And where does it differ from other leadership styles? In practice Service Leadership leaders stay on the background at calmer times supporting their team members where necessary to let them and the team perform better AND these leaders show up during critical times to lead by example with their presence and their performance. Service Leadership leaders always reach out by giving the right example, have a constructive attitude and they are showing the way forward. Further Service Leadership is about making the ties and connections within the team stronger. This is done by building, step by step, on stronger more robust and self-managing teams.

The Service Leadership style which is found throughout nature is a far cry from our current “modern” management and leadership styles. In our narrow-minded way of thinking there is only a focus on one specific leadership style and on the individual performance. There might be a once-off yearly team-outing and team building exercise but that's it. The results of this way of leading are all around us and lead to inadequate team communication, unmotivated team members and sub-standard team performances.

Service Leadership acknowledges that; “we are what we are because of others around us”. In it lies the hidden treasure and power of feeling truly grateful towards others around us.

Currently there are leaders all around with strong ego’s. The justification of their actions rest on hierarchical position, proclaimed authority, rationality and self interest. All counter productive elements for inspiring leadership. They are remnants of the time where team members and employees where seen as one of the many production elements in the classical factory and are not suited anymore for the fast paced and changing world, that teams find themselves in.

Service Leadership can also be seen up to a point as a combination of the three classical leadership styles; Autocratic Leadership, Democratic Leadership and Lassez-faire Leadership. It gives leaders the freedom to choose situational what leadership style is best to get the optimal results that can be reached and goes beyond the classical leadership styles in how it focuses on making the team stronger.

If You are interested in letting your team-leader(s) experience and observe iconic African wildlife and learn to turn to Service Leadership, please contact “Wamvenga” for their Leadership Safaris programs.