Building Better Teams By Being a Servant Leader


NAPW member Gay Polk-Payton is currently employed with Forrest County Justice Court where she serves as an elected Judge and is owner of Polk-Payton Law Office. Meet her at Power Networking in Atlanta where she will present Better Team Building Starts with Being a Servant Leader. We are thrilled to feature Polk-Payton on the blog today as a guest contributor.

Next month in Atlanta, at the NAPW Power Networking Event, I will talk about the value of professionalism and being a servant leader. Being a servant leader requires several consistent actions on your part. I didn’t put these in any particular order of importance because each is vital to success in leadership and to building and sustaining effective teams.

Consistently provide educational leadership and service, and be ready to sacrifice for your team to plow the road and make room for new leaders. Be prepared to do what is necessary to get your team ready to take on leadership in your absence. There may come a time when your presence is temporarily or permanently lost – just as it is important to have life insurance for your families to maintain financial stability in your absence, it is similarly important to insure that your team has the requisite tools to assume leadership in your absence, so that they can continue to build teams that are poised for leadership.

Check yourself (meaning your ego) regularly and lead by example with the understanding that professionalism means doing your job whether you feel like it or not. It is incumbent upon you as a leader to assume responsibility before you share responsibility and delegate authority. Furthermore, the rewards and glory of successful endeavors must be shared with team members in an effort to build trust and an understanding that the hard work of the team will indeed pay off.

Always communicate discontent in an effective and productive way. Even if you are paying the cost of being the boss, you still owe a debt of dignity, courtesy, and respect to members of your team. Using effective communication techniques that include transparency, thoroughness, truthfulness, tenacity, and proper temperament will go a long way in helping your team members understand what you expect of them when completing tasks to reach designated goals.

Everything won’t always be perfect, but keeping your eyes on the big picture will allow you to use perceived obstacles to create opportunities so that you will remain in a constant state of growth. You can’t waste time being afraid of failure. You must always prepare for success by being proactive, preventive, and preemptive rather than reactive and regretful.

Finally, you must understand and be comfortable with your position of leadership, knowing that the buck stops with you and that you’re ultimately responsible for the actions of your team members. Don’t be afraid to stand up and take charge of a situation. Your leadership abilities are what led you to the place where you now sit – use those skills effectively to lead with fearlessness, resolve, and confidence.

I hope that you will join me for Power Networking in Atlanta on September 12. Until then, think of ways that you can integrate these principles to assist you in effective team building and in developing a more focused mentality of servant leadership.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at gpplaw@comcast.net.


Megan Bozzuto

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