An introductory presentation into Servant Based Leadership. Designed to help someone unfamiliar with the concept gain a basic understanding of the pillars and principles that this type of leadership is based upon.
Robert Greenleaf coined the term servant-leadership in his seminal 1970 essay, “The Servant as Leader.” The servant-leader serves others, rather than others serving the leader. Serving others thus comes by helping them to achieve and improve.
A servant leader is one who leads by serving others. The servant leader gets things done by serving others.
The servant leader serves others by empowering them to use their talents to accomplish the organization’s goals while they are meeting their needs and growing as unique human beings.
Servant leadership is characterized by a belief that leadership development is an on-going, life-long learning process. Servant Leadership is not a new concept, just one that has been rediscovered
These are the voices of people at work and at home — voices of literally millions of parents, laborers, service providers, managers, professionals, and executives all over the world who are fighting to make it in the new reality. The pain is personal, and it's deep. In no way is this pain more clearly or practically manifest in organizations than in their inability to focus on and execute their highest priorities.
Harris Interactive recently polled 23,000 U.S. residents employed full-time within key industries and in key functional areas. Consider a few of their most stunning findings:
63% said they don’t have a clear understanding of what their organization is trying to achieve and why.
Only one in five was enthusiastic about their team's and organization's goals.
Only one in five said they have a clear "line of sight" between their tasks and their team's and organization's goals.
Only 15% felt that their organization fully enables them to execute key goals.
Only 20% fully trusted the organization they work for. If, say, a soccer team had these same scores, only four of the 11 players on the field would know which goal is theirs. Only two of the 11 would care. Only two of the 11 would know what position they play and know exactly what they are supposed to do. And all but two players would, in some way, be competing against their own team members rather than the opponent. The data is sobering. It matches my own experience with Simply put — at its most elemental and practical level — leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they come to see it in themselves. Think about this definition. Isn't this the essence of the kind of leadership that influences and truly endures?
Person of Character Makes ethical, principle-centered decisionsMaintains integrityDemonstrates humilityServes with a higher purpose (the mission of the organization)
Helps others meet their goals in the organization and in the community Displays a servant’s heartIs mentor-mindedShows care and concern
Listens earnestly and speaks effectivelyDemonstrates empathyInvites feedbackCommunicates persuasively
Strengthens relationships, supports diversity, and creates a sense of beingExpresses appreciationBuilds teams and communicatesNegotiates conflict
Imagines possibilities, anticipates the future, and proceeds with clarity of purposeVisionaryDisplays creativityTake courageous and decisive action
Thinks and acts strategically, manages change effectively, balances the whole with the sum of its partsComfortable with complexityDemonstrates adaptabilityConsiders the “greater good”
Worthy of respect, inspires confidence, and establishes quality standards for performanceAccepts and delegates responsibilityShares power and control
Traditionally, leaders have been valued for their communication and decision making skills. Servant-leaders must reinforce these important skills by making a deep commitment to listening intently to others. Servant-leaders seek to identify and clarify the will of a group. They seek to listen receptively to what is being done and said (not just said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one’s inner voice, and seeking to understand what is being communicated.
Servant-leaders strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One most assume the good intentions of others (including those served) and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject or call into question their behavior or performance.
General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary—one never knows what one may discover- as Greenleaf observed, “Awareness is not a giver of solace –it’s just the opposite.” Do others believe you have a strong awareness for what is going on? Servant leaders have a strong sense of what is going on around them. They are always looking for cues from their opinions and decisions. They know what’s going on and will rarely be fooled.
Servant-leaders rely on persuasion, rather than positional authority in making decisions. Servant-leaders seek to convince others, rather than coerce compliance. This particular element offers one of the clearest distinctions between the traditional authoritarian model and that of servant-leadership. The servant-leader is effective at building consensus within groups.
Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to look at the organization, and any issues within the organization, from a conceptualizing perspective. This means the leader must think beyond day-to-day realities. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
Foresight is a characteristic that enables servant-leaders to understand lessons from the past, the realities of the present, and the likely consequence of a decision in the future. It is deeply rooted in the intuitive mind.
Servant leaders are often characterized by a strong sense of stewardship. Stewardship stems from medieval times when a steward would be assigned to hone the skills and development of the young prince to prepare him for his reign. A steward in an organization is responsible for preparing it for its destiny, usually for the betterment of society. When we describe a leader as having a strong sense of stewardship, we refer to a desire to prepare the organization to contribute to the greater good of society—not unlike preparing the prince to serve the greater good of the kingdom.
Do others believe that you are committed to helping them develop and grow? Servant leaders have a strong commitment to the growth of people. They believe that everyone has something to offer beyond their tangible contributions. Servant leaders work hard to help members develop in a number of ways. Servant-leaders need to connect to others’ developmental needs and actively find ways to help them reach their true potential
Servant leaders have a strong sense of community spirit and work hard to foster it in the organization. They believe the organization needs to function as a community and work hard to build community within. Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of humanity has changed our perceptions and caused a sense of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who are part of the team.
Do others believe that you are willing to sacrifice self-interest for the good of the mission? Servant leaders have a natural desire to serve others. This notion of having a “calling” to serve is deeply rooted and values-based. The servant leader desires to make a difference for others within the organization and will pursue opportunities to make a difference and will pursue opportunities to impact the lives of others—never for their own gain.
The servant- leader is someone who understands the deep human need to contribute to personally meaningful enterprises. The servant leader nurtures the individual’s spirit through honest praise and supportive recognition. Criticisms and suggestions are not personal or harsh. The joy of volunteerism is celebrated, effort by effort, as well as thru special performance appraisals etc. and special activities, that acknowledge the value of commitment. The servant leader reminds others to reflect on the importance of both the struggles and successes.
Servant Based Leadership<br />By:<br />Jim Dalley<br />