Why Servant Leadership Is the Best Way to Lead Others

“To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart.” 
Eleanor Roosevelt (Tweet This)

“If ever you may have a big problem, don’t say, ‘God I have a big problem!’ but instead say, ‘Hey Problem, I have a big God and everything will be okay!’”

This quote is from a FB friend, and it seemed perfect for the spiritually-minded FinerMinds folks. It’s from David Wee, an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of DW Associates Pte Ltd., a firm dedicated to empowering creativity and knowledge.

Now, for you business-owning readers and leaders, David offers a great piece of career goal-setting advice that’s worth a read. It’s from his FB “Notes” page, and it’s reprinted here in full for your convenience.

What It Takes to Be a Servant Leader

by David Wee

In today’s ever-changing and often turbulent economic environment, you are facing challenges that your predecessors would not have dreamt about. How do you ensure that you have the leadership tools and strategies on hand to ensure you come out on top?

Opportunity Knocks

Any time two or more people gather for a purpose, then an organization exists and there is an opportunity for leadership. There are thousands in leadership positions today that know they are failing their people. They desperately desire help in developing effective leadership skills.

Many have long ago recognized that the old ways of leading through command-and-control and barking orders are ineffective when working with a diverse workforce. Excessive command-and-control styles create fear and undermine trust, which ultimately destroy relationships and growth.

The good news is that the skills of servant leadership can be learned and applied by most people who have the will to change, grow, and improve. Leadership and life are about people and relationships. In Fortune’s recent installment of the “100 best companies to work for,” more than one-third — 35+ organizations — are involved in the servant-leadership movement.

There are far too many managers concerned with doing things the right way and looking good for their boss. Rather, they should be striving to do the right thing for the people they lead. Becoming a servant leader requires a great deal of motivation, feedback, and extended practice, as does any worthwhile discipline.

Leadership Is Not Management

Leadership is not management. Management is what we do. Leadership is who we are. Leadership is influencing people to contribute their hearts, minds, spirits, creativity, and excellence and to give their all for their team. The servant-first makes sure that the needs of others are being served.

Legitimate leadership is built upon serving, sacrificing, and seeking the greatest good for those you lead. Influence does not come because of a title or an army. Influence must be earned. There are no shortcuts.

Anytime we extend ourselves, sacrifice, and serve others, we build authority and thereby influence. If you get your people what they need, they will get you everything you need. Then leadership will be defined not by what we ourselves do, but by what we accomplish through others. The servant-leader must always ask: How can I use myself to serve best?

Honor & Selflessness

Honor people by showing them that you’re interested in them as people and not just in what they can do for you or your organization. Honor people by insisting upon excellence in all they do. Honor them by helping them build their character and encouraging them to be the best they can be. Not everyone can generate sales like Wal-Mart or profits like Microsoft, but every person and every organization is capable of being the best they can be.

Leadership requires selflessness. The will to serve and sacrifice for others, the willingness to set aside our wants and needs in seeking the greatest good for others — this is what it means to be selfless. This is what it means to be a leader. The road to servant leadership lies not in trying to fix or change others but in changing and improving ourselves.

“Everyone wants to change the world, but no one wants to change himself.”

The Good News

The good news is that human beings are bundles of habits. The bad news is that human beings are bundle of habits. Habits can be changed, and they can be changed for the better. We can choose to be something different than we are today. It is never too late to learn and grow. If you are too old or lazy to learn and grow, then you are too old or lazy to lead.

The goal in developing our leadership skills is not to be perfect. The goal is continuous improvement. Rather, change and continuous improvement, more or less. And better or worse. It is important to keep encouraging one another so that people do not get discouraged and give up.

Everyone can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace.

The ultimate test of leadership is this: Are the people better off when they leave than when they got there?

Who has been an influential leader in your life? How did they impact you through their leadership? Leave a comment and let us know.

This article on leadership was originally published on FinerMinds. If you liked it, you can like it on Medium, share it on Facebook and Twitter, or follow us!

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