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Sunday, March 17, 2013

What is servant leadership?

servant leadership
Serving others breaks you free from the shackles of self
and self-absorption that choke out
the joy of living.
James C. Hunter, The Servant

The word service generally carries with it some very negative connotations. The concept of leadership has only a slightly better reputation.  Many of us have been exposed to the term “servant leader,” and tend to think of it in a church or religious setting.  However, servant leadership is not confined to any particular or peculiar setting.

Servant leadership is a specific mindset which affects how you view and deal with the world around you, how you lead your own life, and how you lead others.  Now, I know what you are thinking.  “I am not a leader, so this doesn’t really apply to me.”  Au contraire, mon ami!

We are all leaders in some aspect of our lives, and often in several different roles.  First and foremost, you lead and manage yourself. You lead your families and friends.  You influence and lead people at work, even when you hold no leadership title.  Someone is always watching your behavior, trying to figure out who you really are, and will likely imitate some of what you do if they deem you a success or a role model.  This is exactly how we all learn to function in society. You watch and learn, you imitate, you keep what works and discard the rest.  So, like it or not, title or no, you, my friend are a leader.  The choice that you must now make is what kind of leader you be or become.

There are a few specific characteristics that apply to a servant leader. Well, they should probably apply to most leaders, but we are targeting “servants” specifically for today’s discussion.

1. Ego-less.  Servant leaders work at being other-serving, rather than self-serving.  Many people who rise to the top in their field tend to be driven there by our own ego or self-esteem.  Servant leaders lead from a position of strength and not ego. hip forces you to put your ego aside for the sake of others. Servant leaders know that the mission, goal, vision, well-being of others, pushing people to their fullest potential is about others, not about them.

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