Over the last couple of weeks, we have taken a look at servant leadership and the merits of it. Jesus is the greatest example of how a servant leader operates and gains influence from followers by concerning himself with their needs first. Jesus, though, often feels like a bar that is a little too high for us to reach for. So, let’s put a little more structure under what servant leadership is and take a look at the behaviors we must exhibit to lead from a servant perspective.
A servant leader is conceptualizing. This is a leader’s ability to have a thorough understanding of the group that is being led, which allows the leader to think through complex problems and address them in accordance with the overall goals.
A servant leader is effective in emotional healing, or the ability to be sensitive to the personal concerns and well-being of others. Such leaders do not see emotions as an interruption, but instead, make themselves available to others, stand by them, and provide support when in need.
A servant leader puts followers first. This is the defining behavior of a servant leader. This means placing the concerns of followers ahead of their own agendas and communicating that clearly through words and actions. It may even mean they break from their own schedules in order to help followers achieve their goals.
A servant leader’s primary concern is to help followers grow and succeed. The professional and personal goals of followers are important to a servant leader, and it is a priority that followers achieve these goals. Servant leaders provide mentoring, training, and resource support for their followers to ensure goal achievement, but never at the expense of group goals. The goal is that followers will become self-actualized and reach their full potential, which will benefit the group in the end.
A servant leader behaves ethically. What this means is doing the right thing in the right way and holding to a strong ethical standard toward being open, honest, and fair with followers. Servant leaders refuse to compromise their ethical principles in order to achieve success.
A servant leader is empowering by allowing followers the freedom to be independent, make decisions on their own, and be self-sufficient. By empowering, leaders share power with followers by allowing them control, which builds confidence in themselves and gives them the freedom to handle difficult situations in the way they feel is best.
A servant leader creates value for the community by consciously and intentionally giving back to the community. They get involved and encourage followers to do likewise in hopes of linking the purposes of the group with the larger purposes of the community as a whole.
These are the behaviors exhibited by servant leaders. Next week we will look at the characteristics of servant leaders. Until then, I pose the question to you: are you a servant leader? Do you exhibit these behaviors in a consistent, measurable, and clear way to where your followers would be able to attest to their experience of your service to them? If you don’t yet, I would encourage you to begin to make the shift. In my upcoming book, I discuss how this is the key to leadership in the future, and it is the key to leading Millennials today.