Leadership is a widely discussed topic in our day and age for so many different reasons. Am I going to attempt to discuss everything that needs to be discussed about leadership in this post? Highly unlikely. But one thing that I can do is share some of my thoughts on this critical topic as I continue to learn the trade of becoming (and being) an effective servant leader. I don't simply want to become a servant leader. I want (and need) to become an effective servant leader!
You're probably thinking, "How does anyone become an EFFECTIVE SERVANT LEADER?"
To answer that question, I want to share 10 Principles of Servant Leadership from the Butler University website. You can check it out on this link, http://www.butler.edu/volunteer/resources/principles-of-servant-leadership for further review. What I will do in the meantime, is give you an outline of the 10 principles of servant leadership here then follow up with future posts highlighting each of the ten principles outlined.
Here are the 10 Principles of Servant Leadership:
- Listening - 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 said (and not said). Listening also encompasses getting in touch with one's inner voice, and seeking to understand what one's body, spirit, and mind are communicating.
- Empathy - Servant-leaders strive to understand and empathize with others. People need to be accepted and recognized for their special and unique spirit. One must assume the good intentions of coworkers and not reject them as people, even when forced to reject their behavior or performance.
- Healing - Learning to heal is a powerful force for transformation and integration. One of the great strengths of servant-leadership is the potential for healing one's self and others. In "The Servant as Leader", Greenleaf writes, "There is something subtle communicated to one who is being served and led if, implicit in the compact between the servant-leader and led is the understanding that the search for wholeness is something that they have."
- Awareness - General awareness, and especially self-awareness, strengthens the servant-leader. Making a commitment to foster awareness can be scary--one never knows that one may discover! As Greenleaf observed, "Awareness is not a giver of solace - it's just the opposite. It disturbed. They are not seekers of solace. They have their own inner security."
- Persuasion - 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.
- Conceptualization - Servant-leaders seek to nurture their abilities to "dream great dreams." The ability to look at a problem (or an organization) from a conceptualizing perspective means that one must think beyond day-to-day realities. Servant-leaders must seek a delicate balance between conceptualization and day-to-day focus.
- Foresight - 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.
- Stewardship - Robert Greenleaf's view of all institutions was one in which CEO's, staff, directors, and trustees all play significance roles in holding their institutions in trust for the great good of society.
- Commitment to the Growth of People - Servant-leaders believe that people have an intrinsic value beyond their tangible contributions as workers. As such, servant-leaders are deeply committed to a personal, professional, and spiritual growth of each and every individual within the organization.
- Building Community - Servant-leaders are aware that the shift from local communities to large institutions as the primary shaper of human lives has changed our perceptions and has caused a feeling of loss. Servant-leaders seek to identify a means for building community among those who work within a given institution.
Over the next few weeks, we will have a better understanding of how servant leadership can (and should) be applied in every single area of our lives and what kind of an impact it will make, both negative and positive, at home, at work, at church, and in the communities we live in.
Thanks again for reading this far as I continue to share one of my many passions with you as I make every effort to bring Jesus, the ultimate servant leader, into every single area of our lives while "living life to the fullest with faith, hope, and love". May God continue to bless you and keep you my friends! Jesus loves you and so do I!!!!...:-)