Servant-leaders are good tuning forks.
Why do I say that?
- Like good tuning forks, servant-leaders set a standard of excellence.
I guess that’s half the point of a tuning fork. To be a standard for tuning other instruments.
I mean, you don’t use one piano to tune another piano. Both could be out of tune. Heck, not only is a tuning fork more accurate. It’s also way easier for a piano tuner to carry around.
In my experience, members of a dysfunctional team – a team “out of tune,” so to speak – oftentimes can’t tune themselves. They need someone with an outside perspective who can act as a tuning fork and reset the standard of excellence. Adding a servant-leader to the team is a good way to do that job.
- Like good tuning forks, servant-leaders are consistent.
That’s the other half-the-point of a tuning fork. To produce the exact pitch every time it’s tapped.
Servant-leaders are like that, too. They are steady, dependable and true.
Even when “tapped” – not physically, I hope, but metaphorically by something aggravating at work – servant-leaders react in a consistent and predictable way. That’s a key to building a trusting team.*
- Like good tuning forks, servant-leaders cause others to resonate.
Tap a tuning fork and put it near a second tuning fork. You know what happens? The second tuning fork starts to vibrate at the exact same pitch as the first.**
In the workplace, I’ve noticed how followers often resonate to the vibes the leader gives off. Just like tuning forks.
If the leader is optimistic, energetic and cheerful, the followers are optimistic, energetic and cheerful. If the leader is pessimistic, dragging and stressed, the followers are pessimistic, dragging and stressed.
That’s why leaders have to be mindful.
Your followers are going to pick up the vibes you give off and copy them. Which could be good or bad, depending on those vibes.
But when the vibes are good – when you send out servant-leader vibes – the whole team hums a beautiful tune!
What do you think?
Have I been pretty sharp with this one? Or have I fallen a little flat?
As always, we appreciate your views.***
And don’t forget to download our latest ebook, Servant Leadership in the Workplace: A Brief Introduction. It’s free!
* Building a trusting team is among a servant-leader’s top priorities: “Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Priorities”
How does a servant-leader build trust at work? Here are some ideas: “5 Ways Servant-Leaders Build and Keep Trust at Work”
** I remember experiencing this phenomenon in science class as a kid. It always amazed and entertained me!
*** Shout out and thanks to Erwin Kint for several improvements to this piece.