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Servant Leadership

Melissa Rutledge, CCIFP
Melissa Rutledge, CCIFP, Chairman

“Servant leaders lead with others in mind.” – Skip Prichard

I am a firm believer that a leader is only as effective as the team they are leading. Servant leadership
qualities include, but are not limited to: valuing diverse opinions, cultivating trust, developing other leaders, and being encouraging and humble.

Develop Yourself

One of the core qualities of a servant leader is development. As a lifelong learner, I am passionate about mentoring and developing my team so they can reach their full potential. However, if you want to become a credible and effective leader, you must start with yourself. This is a skill I am working to improve and encourage you to consider how this would benefit your own team. Understand what it takes to be an effective leader by seeking training or coaching, using CFMA as a valuable resource whenever possible.

Availability & Feedback

“Feedback is the breakfast of champions.” – Rick Tate

Development takes time and commitment and making yourself available and accessible can be difficult to do with a demanding role, but the benefits far outweigh the time commitment. A good leader is invested in those they serve, so set aside time for them. One of the ways I accomplish this is by having a monthly one-on-one meeting with each member of my team. This allows time for us to focus on how they are doing overall (beyond work), opportunities or areas of development, achievements, status of goals, and any other topics they want to cover. Give them encouraging feedback and credit in department meetings to instill a sense of pride and build trust, but don’t forget to also give feedback in areas in which they can improve, for failing to do so does them an injustice.

Involve Others

Another way I encourage development is by inviting other departments to our meetings and having them give a presentation on their roles. This is always an informative, interactive question and answer session and helps us understand how we rely on one another.

Be creative in ways that help increase your team’s knowledge to help them better understand the overall business. As an added benefit, it shows the other departments that you care about what they do. To close, leaders should always maintain a positive attitude to help instill pride and a greater commitment to the company, which is a win for everyone.

Copyright © 2020 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits and is reprinted with permission. CFMA Building Profits is a member-only benefit; join CFMA to receive the magazine.

Contact publications@cfma.org for reprinting information. You can also download a PDF of this article.