The Ideal Servant Leader
There are many traits that make individuals stand out in different professions. Each line of work requires a specific thinking pattern that must mesh with that of the organization the individual is working for in order to assure a good match. When an individual finds themselves interacting with an environment that is conducive to who they are as people, then they can truly shine. Leadership is an attribute that is important in many industries, and various people look for the right quality of leaders to ensure that their work becomes a success.
When you are talking about servant leaders, however, the philosophy changes – deviating from traditional theories on leadership. A term that was originally coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in ‘The Servant as Leader’, an essay that was published in 1970 here the servant leader is properly described.
A servant leader is someone who values service above self
Servant leaders are primarily service oriented and thrive on making life better for the individuals they are working for. These people focus not on themselves, but on the people they are working for – with their main aim being the comfort and success of the employer. Those people, that while working in the role of a servant, strive to become a leader of that group – they are those that are called servant leaders. It is important to remember that a servant leader is very different from a normal leader.
They do not look for their own success, but for that of the person they are looking after. Even in the role of leadership, their priority still remains the person they are looking after. Unlike the desire to obtain material possessions that a true leader faces, the servant leader is someone hankers not for personal benefit, but for the benefit of others. Thus, leadership and servant leadership fall along a spectrum, where the two are widely different from each other. It is the shades of grey in between that work to describe the various traits human beings endorse in striving to understand who they are.
Qualities of a true servant-leader
The highest priority of a servant leader is taking care of and meeting the needs of the individual and the community that they serve. Not bothered by claiming power and rising to the top of the pyramid, the success of a servant leader is seen in how they benefit from helping the community they belong to. The duties of a servant leader are not simply limited to taking care of needs however, but understanding the impact of their interactions on the people around them is important as well. How is a servant leader changing the situation around him? Is he helping people to evolve and grow, or is he simply mechanically performing duties? A true servant leader is someone who actively affects the community they are a part of – in order to make the community evolve and grow into whom they are capable of being. A true servant leader is someone who ensures that they lead the community they are a part of, especially those who are servants but do not possess the qualities of leadership within them.
Do you have an example about you stepping up and becoming a servant leader? We would love to hear about your experiences. Leave us a comment!