Embracing Servant Leadership

“If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others.” -- Mark 10:44 from the Bible                                                                                                       

The most effective leaders understand a fundamental truth -- that great leadership, “is not about me.”  Of course, it is natural to think about our individual needs, be they for recognition, approval, or control, but servant leaders hold themselves accountable to devoting time and energy on finding and developing the potential in people. 

The concept of servant leadership, while obviously not a new idea, was developed by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970s.   Servant leaders employ effective communication, training, and coaching/mentoring skills to actively help their staff achieve and embrace the organization’s vision and values.

This requires a commitment to supporting current leaders, growing new leaders, providing opportunities for every staff member to learn practical skills to better their lives and unlock their potential, and reinforcing a sustainable culture of positive self-leadership throughout the organization.

Promoting self-leadership is a key element, creating a positive environment where every employee internalizes self-direction and self-motivation.  As Susan Fowler observes, “When people become empowered self-leaders, they’re proactive self-starters who look for ways to make your organization flourish.”

For Further Thought:    Reflect on your personal leadership style and how many of your daily activities are focused on meeting your own needs.  What steps could you take to more proactively reorient your time and energy toward meeting the needs of those you work with and helping them to grow?

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Douglass Teschner