What Is Servant Leadership?

And what it is not!

The term 'Servant Leadership' is bandied around as some kind of buzz word. Let's take a look at what it actually is, and what it is not.

What is Servant Leadership?

A good Servant Leader is able to recognise and understand others within their team. A good servant leader is able to put other people's needs before their own and is able to share power with their team.

Common Servant Leader traits

1. Empathy 

  • Servant Leaders motivation is by a genuine desire to help others.

2. Listening

  • Pays attention, uses active listening skills to resolve conflict and help others wherever possible.

3. Awareness

  • Aware of their surroundings, the powers of others and their own constraints and limitations. Servant Leaders are self aware and aware of others. 

4. Altruistic

  • Takes an active role in the care and well-being of others. Ability to inspire others and is able to build a level of trust with their team.

5. Forward looking

  • Ability to imagine the vision and possibilities of the future. Visualise a bright future and is able to take necessary steps to get there.

6. Persuasive

  • Has an uncanny knack for negotiating with others. Ability to influence others in a positive way.

7. Resourceful

  • Acts as a steward for the organisation's resources. Take responsibility for planning and managing resources.

8. Foresight

  • Is able to see the big picture and identify the connections. Can see what the future looks like. Similar but different to 5.

9. Community focused

  •  Build a common purpose of team. Create a sense of environment where the team feels they belong to something meaningful. They deeply care for their team mates.

10. Committed to ongoing growth of others

  • Interested in developing the skills of others. Help employees to define a clear and manageable career path.
Photo by Jehyun Sung on Unsplash

Servant Leadership is not

Although it is nice to be helpful; Servant Leadership is not there to book meetings, type up minutes or get coffee. Instead, servant leaders are leaders, so they lead. They focus on empowering their teams to take responsibility and ownership of their tasks. If they get stuck, Servant Leaders encourage their teams to problem solve as a team. 
As a Servant Leader, it is part of your role to educate others the benefits of Servant Leadership.
Speaking of which, what are they?

Benefits of Servant Leadership

Team building

  • Work together to solve problems empowers you and your team to the magic of collaboration and cross-functional team building. 
Listening to your team instead of assuming you have all the answers can teach you a lot. Your team can often understand what they need much better than upper management.
Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

Increase in team morale by feeling valued

  • Done properly, your team can feel valued and they know you're looking out for them. That inspires them to work with more enthusiasm and serve customers.

Stand out

  • Living up to servant leadership is a serious commitment. Genuine Servant Leaders stand out from the pack.
What do you think — is there anything missing from the list?

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