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Servant Leadership: The Art of Putting People First

Updated: Dec 8, 2023

Servant Leadership is all about putting your team first - it's not just good for them, it's deeply rewarding for you too.

In the realm of leadership theories, Servant Leadership stands out for its focus on prioritizing the needs of others. At its core, this approach is about leaders placing the welfare and growth of their team above traditional metrics of success. This week, we're exploring how adopting a servant leadership style can lead to not only the success of your team but also to a deeper sense of fulfillment in your own leadership journey.

Understanding Servant Leadership:

Definition: Servant Leadership is a philosophy where the main goal of the leader is to serve. It's a shift from the conventional power-centric leadership model to one that emphasizes collaboration, trust, empathy, and the ethical use of power.

Okay true confession time: As a Christian I have oftentimes heard pastors refer to the servant leadership model so I naturally thought it belonged in the church or nonprofit sectors, but not necessarily in the mainstream marketplace.

I was wrong.

After carefully and thoroughly studying this model, it is definitely advantageous in the general workforce because of its focus on putting people first.

Key Characteristics: Empathy, listening, stewardship, and commitment to the growth of people. The Impact of Servant Leadership:

The Impact of Servant Leadership:

  • Enhanced Team Performance: By focusing on the growth and well-being of team members, servant leaders often see increased engagement, productivity, and loyalty.

  • Fostering a Positive Work Environment: This leadership style creates an atmosphere of respect, trust, and community, leading to a more supportive and collaborative work culture.

  • Personal Fulfillment: Leaders who practice servant leadership often experience a greater sense of personal satisfaction and fulfillment, knowing their approach positively impacts others.

Servant Leadership in Action:

  • Empowering Team Members: Instead of dictating, servant leaders empower their teams to take initiative and make decisions.

  • Active Listening: They prioritize listening to their team's ideas, concerns, and feedback. They practice an authentic open-door policy.

  • Encouraging Growth: Focused on personal and professional development of their team members. It is important to create a work culture that perpetuates this style of leadership. This is easily done by reinforcing the idea of servant leadership at team meetings and retreats, and authentically acting it out.

Challenges and Overcoming Them:

  • Misconception of Weakness: Servant leadership may sometimes be misinterpreted as a lack of authority. Overcome this by demonstrating strong decision-making and accountability. This was my initial perception until I implemented it in my organization.

  • Balance: Finding the right balance between serving and leading can be challenging but is key to this approach. It is also important to educate your team on this approach. Servant leadership does not mean laissez faire.

Closing Thoughts:

Servant Leadership is not just a style; it's a commitment to lead with a focus on the growth and well-being of others. This approach can lead to unprecedented team success and a fulfilling leadership journey. As you reflect on your leadership style, consider how adopting a servant leader mindset could transform your approach and your team.

Next Issue: Stay tuned as we explore "The Power of Visionary Leadership" – understanding how a clear, compelling vision can be a driving force behind successful leadership and organizational achievement.

About the Author Sharon Gill is the Principal of Sharon Gill International, a purpose-centered leadership development company helping executives and managers to lead their best. As an executive leadership coach, I combine a unique blend of corporate experience and faith-based insights. I help leaders not only excel in their professional roles but also align their leadership style with deeper values and beliefs. If you’re seeking purpose-centered leadership that merges success with spiritual growth, schedule a 30-minute discovery call.

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