Over the past few months I’ve been thinking about my leadership style, and after reading an article my husband plucked from his files and gave to me, I’ve figured out I aspire to be a servant-leader.
Servant leadership was coined by an author and business consultant named Robert K. Greenleaf in 1970. He first began formulating the idea after reading a novel about a mystical journey by a group of people on a spiritual quest. A servant-leader is one whose primary motivation is “a deep desire to help others.”
Here are 10 characteristics of a servant-leader:
- Listening intently to others.
- Having empathy.
- Helping oneself and others to heal.
- Awareness in understanding issues involving ethics and values.
- Using persuasion rather than positional authority when making decisions.
- Balancing conceptualization with a “day-to-day” focused approach.
- Using foresight to understand lessons from the past and realities of the present.
- Practicing stewardship and serving the needs of others.
- Commitment to the growth of people.
- Building community.
Sometimes being a servant-leader can be hard, because it’s a lot to take in and I worry about doing things perfectly and making sure I’m treating others fairly. But I also know it’s worth it to nurture a group of writers so that they can create their best work possible.
As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that this philosophy is one of the reasons I’ve always enjoyed working with WOW! Everyone I’ve ever worked with here has a giving heart and a true desire to see other writers learn and succeed. Every day we see servant-leader editors and writers lifting one another up in these blog posts and in the comment section.
In the article I read, Practicing Servant-Leadership,” by Larry Spears, I found the following quote:
"Servant-Leadership is providing a framework from which many thousands of known and unknown individuals are helping to improve how we treat those who do the work within our many institutions. Servant-leadership truly offers hope and guidance for a new era in human development, and for the creation of better, more caring institutions.”
How have you been a servant-leader, or been served by one of these types of leaders?