Servant leadership – Serving Yourself By Serving Others

“Servant leadership means being a servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve others first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead.” – Robert K. Greenleaf

What is a Servant Leader?

This emphasizes the leader’s role as steward of the resources (human, financial and otherwise) provided by the organization. It encourages front runners to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s morals and reliability. This leadership style highlights collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power. At heart, the individual is a servant first, making the conscious decision to lead in order to better serve others, not to increase their own power.

What Do They Do?

Along with keeping track of the organization’s performance, these are some of the things that they do:

  • Devote themselves to serving the needs of organization members.
  • Develop employees to bring out the best in them.
  • Coach others and encourage their self expression.
  • Listen and build a sense of community.
  • Focus on meeting the needs of those they lead.
  • Facilitate personal growth in all who work with them.

They are felt to be effective because the needs of followers are so looked after that they reach their full potential, hence perform at their best. Strength of this way of looking at leadership is that it forces us away from self-serving, domineering leadership and makes those in charge think harder about how to respect value and motivate people reporting to them.

The test of a true servant leader is that his or her people become healthier, wiser, freer, more autonomous, and in turn begin to serve others. This type of leadership has shaped high performing organizations as well as inspired community leaders to guide their people to social responsibility and concerted action. The servant leader serves others, rather than others serving the leader.

What Characteristics Should They Have?

  • Listening – active as an act of will and commitment
  • Empathy – identifies with the concerns of others so as to better understand and lead
  • Healing – take opportunities to restore others to wholeness – to show caring
  • Awareness – ability to see things as they really are – awareness of self and situation
  • Persuasion – seek to convince and not pull rank – to go ahead and show the way
  • Conceptualization – look at a problem with the mission of the organization – think beyond day-to-day concerns to place in context projects that are part of a larger vision
  • Foresight – view the likely outcome of a given situation based on past lessons, realities of the present and consequences of the future
  • Stewardship – best use and highest level of care of what has been placed in your trust
  • Commitment to Growth of Others – nurture personal, professional and spiritual growth of others believing in the intrinsic value of individuals

They should build community and promote opportunities for working together while respecting the dignity of individuals to provide service to the world.

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