Guest Post by Farnoosh Brock
“Servant leaders lead with others in mind.” – Skip Prichard
The most powerful leaders I have had the pleasure of coaching always put others first.
For these leaders, their customers, their employees, their partners and their families always come first and foremost. They do everything from a place of caring and benefiting those whom they serve. They want to serve above all.
They also happen to be the happiest people I have met. That is not a coincidence. Servant leadership is egoless leadership. It is an attitude and approach to leadership that embodies the word: Serve.
Are you a servant leader? Let us find out. You may already be one and be unaware of it. Test yourself:
You are a servant leader if …
You lead because you want to serve.
You are motivated and driven by the idea to serve.
You place people above tasks, always.
You use a high level of empathy to relate to your people.
You would rather ask than tell them what to do.
You would rather listen than speak.
You are more trusting than skeptical.
You let them learn from their mistakes rather than punish them.
You inspire your people to higher levels of participation and potential.
You make decisions by driving collaboration and teamwork.
You measure your success by the success and happiness of those you serve.
Another great indicator to know if you are a servant leader is that they love you. Implicitly and totally.
That’s right. Servant leadership can instill a tremendous amount of love in those you serve because it is the kind of leadership we all aspire to. At its core, servant leadership puts people first, and that is one heart-centered approach to leading. It is also the truly natural way for us to come together as people and raise the bar on what is possible in all things from volunteer community work to complex technical projects to responding to a cause and a need … and everything in between.
The best way to learn how to be effective at servant leadership is to do your best on a daily basis and then measure your progress. Let’s take a 2-fold approach to this:
Approach #1: In the eyes of your team:
First, pick one person on your team at the end of the day and ask them one or all of these questions below. You may find that asking one question is sufficient or you may want to keep going if they have much to express. The next day, pick someone else. Continue the process until you have circled through everyone on your team. Take the time to make everyone feel heard and understood on a regular basis using the power of the questions below:
Leadership: How well did I serve you today?
Family: How well did I show up for you today?
Duty: How well did I help you today?
Challenge: How well did I challenge you today?
Gratitude: How well did I express my thanks to you today?
Approach #2: In your own eyes:
Second, ask the same 5 questions of yourself daily to gauge your impact and influence on those you serve. How well do you think you did?
Notice all questions start with “How well” rather than just “How”.
This type of phrasing sets up the question from the start for a positive response. You know that you do all these things and you want to believe you do them well. Now ask yourself to articulate the extent to which you performed each service on a daily basis:
Leadership: How well did I serve today?
Family: How well did I show up for my loved ones today?
Duty: How well did I help someone else today?
Challenge: How well did I grow today?
Gratitude: How well did I express my thanks today?
There are no right or wrong answers. There is no scale or grading system here. Simply answer the questions with what comes to mind, or more importantly, to heart. Let these questions help you reflect on your day. You may even choose to meditate on each question for a few minutes, asking it quietly over and over until the right answer comes to mind. Then move on to the next question. Use these questions to close your day on a positive and powerful note and come to place of readiness for a great day of servant leadership tomorrow.
The best news about servant leadership is that you do not need a title or a promotion to a particular level to start being one. While this type of leadership does apply to leaders of organizations, it does not exclude others from being a servant leader at any level and in any capacity, at home, at school, at church, or any other areas of the community.
In other words, if you see the opportunity to serve, seize it.
“The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” ~Robert K. Greenleaf
I leave you with one thought: How are you being a servant leader today?
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