Why it’s good to be a Servant Leader

Sam Stone
Sam Stone
Dec 10, 2018 · 3 min read
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Servant Leadership model (a.k.a heart-based leadership) is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches the lives of individuals, builds better organisations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world….BOOM! Mic drop! AmIRight?

But hang on just a second…..these are just words on a screen. How can we instill this in our workplace and therefore our lives? Glad you asked?

The phrase “Servant Leadership” was coined by Robert Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader essay first published in 1970 (finally something older than me!)

“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types”.

It’s all about achieving results through people empowerment. It helps to build a sense of community and belonging in the workplace, and when people perceive that this sense of belonging is of genuine importance, there’s a higher degree of responsibility carried out in the work they do.

Ultimately, a Servant Leader wants to help others thrive, and is happy to put the team’s needs before their own. They care about people and they understand that the best results are produced not through top-down delegation but by building people up. People need the psychological safety and autonomy to be creative and innovative.

Seven pillars of a Servant leader

The following are the seven pillars of a Servant Leader (as described by Scrum with Style).

  • Person of character; Worthy of respect, inspires trust and confidence, and establishes quality of standards for performance
  • Puts people first; Helps others meet their highest priority development needs
  • Skilled communicator; Learns earnestly and speaks effectively
  • Compassionate collaborator; Strengthens relationships, supports diversity and creates a sense of belonging
  • Has foresight; Imagines possibilities, anticipates the future, and proceeds with clarity of purpose
  • Systems thinker; thinks and acts strategically, leads change effectively and balances the whole with the sum of its parts
  • Leads with morale authority; makes insightful, ethical and centered decisions

Tips to become a Servant Leader

The following are tips on how to become a Servant Leader.

  • Offer a growth mindset — offer continuous learning. Nurture, grow and develop your team.
  • Be humble — be humble enough to put others ahead of you. Humble leaders gladly accept the role of learners because they know it will make them better.
  • Communicate openly and authentically — be open, share plans for the future, communicate important things and foster a transparent culture. Give and receive feedback on a regular basis.
  • Allow for risks to be taken — allow those around you to feel safe to exercise creativity, communicate their ideas openly and provide input to major decisions.
  • Listen to people — and actively listen. When you listen well, you earn respect.
  • Invest in coaching — when you coach people, you’re developing them to succeed. Coaching is the highest form of nurturing, loving and developing the capabilities of people.
  • Demonstrate accountability — always follow through on your commitments.

Sam Stone

Written by

Sam Stone

"Just me, trying to be". Agile. Coffee Lover. Writing Enthusiast. Sports fan. Sunshine Devotee. Book Worm.

Tech @ Domain

Domain.com.au is a leading Australian Real Estate Marketing and Technology firm. ASX:DHG

Sam Stone

Written by

Sam Stone

"Just me, trying to be". Agile. Coffee Lover. Writing Enthusiast. Sports fan. Sunshine Devotee. Book Worm.

Tech @ Domain

Domain.com.au is a leading Australian Real Estate Marketing and Technology firm. ASX:DHG

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