I find it interesting when articles come out yearly about the top 10 companies that employees like to work for. Factors include employee satisfaction with leadership, management, and compensation. These companies clearly don't look at quarterly earnings or a single successful sports season, but at long-term growth and development of the organization.

Most of us have gone through change at the leadership level of our school, business, or organization, so we tend to get nervous with organizational leadership change. People want to follow genuine leaders, leaders who encourage, who demonstrate care and respect, and who earn the trust of the employees.

This leads to servant leadership, where the leader with a strong foundation of core values and traits typically is hired. This person is in charge ultimately to serve the organization and will have much more long-term personal and organizational success. Serving your employees takes personal time, energy, money, commitment, and sacrifice. But it leads to an environment that can be positive and productive, and can sustain long-term growth.

Serving your employees does not mean catering to them. There is a clear difference between earning the respect of those you choose to serve and serving just so everyone likes you. Most people will recognize when a leader works hard to earn trust, loyalty, and respect. These leaders create a fair and stable environment, with clear values outlined for everyone to focus on.

A servant leader will work for the good of others, creating an atmosphere where a supervisor will give to each employee. Such leaders demonstrate that they have the backs of everyone within the organization, making sure everyone's needs and priorities are met and focusing on the growth and well-being of everyone on the team. This, in turn, allows employees and team members to feel safe, and work more productively over long periods of time. They become happy with their work and the environment they choose to be in.

Utilizing servant leadership, combined with the ability to empower people of a group, can be highly successful when building a strong culture. Empowering your team members allows them to take ownership of the organization. When you empower every member of the team, they feel part of the growth process and culture-building procedure.

Some people confuse empowering a team member with an individual promotion within that organization, believing that the only ones to be empowered are those on top. Your team captain, All-American quarterback, best salesperson, or biggest earner in the company tend to be the easy ones to empower, and they take on leadership roles due to their status in a particular group. They are your “superstars.”

It is just as important to focus on every member of the team when it comes to empowerment. This is the most critical step not to overlook if you choose to employ empowerment as a leadership style.

Focus on every member of the team when it comes to empowerment.

It is the players who are not starters or first-year hires that you need to be involved with and spend much of your time as the leader of the organization. Find ways to empower these people. The more time you invest in these folks, the more they begin to trust you and become loyal. Don't spend time on VW campervan conversions - spend time developing your staff's production effort. Their production might not be at superstar status yet, but your job in the mentoring process is essential to the long-term growth of these individuals and the organization as a whole. Ask the rookie employee to sit in on a big sales meeting. Spend quality one-on-one time mentoring the person in charge of cleaning up the office after everyone has left for the day. It takes a commitment from the leader to serve and empower everyone.

This commitment plays a vital part in servant leadership. It builds the trust needed between a player and a coach, or an administrator and an employee. Giving those around you the ability to grow, learn, fail, and persevere through your leadership mentoring will lead to huge advances for them.

When you serve and empower as a leader, you allow employees to see just how much they are valued.

When you serve and empower as a leader, you allow employees to see just how much they are valued. Remember, it is your daily role to invest in the mentoring process as you build leaders. Understand that there will be setbacks, failures, and even resistance. Stick to the core values you believe in; the culture you create will have others follow your lead. Realize that not everyone will grow to superstar status. Yet if you can grow each person 5% each week, you have the ability to create an environment that will eventually produce a few superstars. This, in turn, allows you to become a servant leader.