How to become a connecting and servant leader: tips for new leaders

How to become a connecting and servant leader: tips for new leaders

07 June 2021
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • Two weeks ago, we published an interview with Anthony Duffeleer, CEO of Augment, about connecting and servant leadership.

    In this interview, we talk with Leslie Gustave, one of the team members of Anthony. How does she perceive her leader?

    Based on the interview, we give four advices to new leaders on how to get respect from their new team.

  • 1. Take enough time to connect in both directions

  • Most troubles in the first months come from the fact that nor the leader neither the team know what they expect from each other.

    When you arrive as a new leader, firstly, take the position of the observer.

    Take enough time to speak with all team members individually.

    Both the new leader and the team must connect to get to know each other and clarify the expectations in both directions.

  • 2. Be genuinely interested in the work your team does

  • It happens that you, as a leader, are not the technical expert who understands all the details of the work your team does. No problem. Be humble about that, don’t be frustrated.

    Show genuine interest in what your team does, not only in the aspects you understand the most. Also get out of your comfort zone and show curiosity for the aspects you are not familiar with yet. Behave as a learner.

  • 3. Serve your team

  • You walk along with your team.

    When you have challenging goals, your team must feel that they can rely on you (‘we will get there as one team’).

  • 4. Do not overestimate yourself; everyone brings value

  • Ensure that every team member can contribute his/her maximum value to the project you are working on.

    Encourage everyone to share his/her view and input actively. It is the only way to benefit from the complementarity and to grow as a team and company.

    Also, encourage everyone to stimulate each other to give the best of themselves. A good team pushes each team member to a higher level.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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