Servant leadership. More and more organizations are looking for servant leaders as they fill new roles. Sometimes they don’t even realize it, as they describe some of the characteristics of a servant leader without calling out the leadership style itself. At times, we may not realize that what we are doing is servant leadership. Others claim to be a servant leader and are anything but one. Let’s look at some of the characteristics of a true servant leader.
They have the right mindset.
You’ve likely are aware of a pyramid structure in an organization. The bottom consists of entry-level positions with the CEO at the top. The people at the bottom serve the ones above them. The servant leader’s mindset is one of a flipped pyramid, where they are at the bottom and serve everyone below them. Not the CEO? No problem. It just means your pyramid is smaller. You can lead in this way no matter your level in business or home/school.
They have emotional intelligence.
Not all are an expert here, but a servant leader will display empathy to others. (More on this next week.) They are also self-aware. They know where they stand as a leader, how they are perceived by their team, peers, and partners can make adjustments as needed.
Attentive listening is a deceptively easy skill. A servant leader takes time to truly listen. Clearing your mind of getting ahead of the conversation or formulating your response is tough for some people, but it can be done with practice. How do I know what my team’s hopes, dreams, and desires are if I don’t listen to them? If you are not sure how you are in this area, ask others that you trust and then listen to their response.
They are humble.
A servant leader knows it’s not about them. They have the self-awareness to know that, yes they are very important to what happens, but the world doesn’t revolve around them. The mission, the team, and the family are all more important than they are.
They are caring and relational.
These leaders consistently show that they care for their team. It goes back all the way to our very first episode of the podcast (Positional Leadership vs. Relational Leadership) Relational leaders are very likely good servant leaders. They care about you as a person above your job or position.
You may be thinking to yourself that this is a big list of qualities to live out in order to become a servant leader. You don’t have to be an expert in every category, (I’m not) but you will have pieces of yourself in each category. Use this list to help you find areas that you can strengthen in your leadership walk as you continue to serve others.
Make a better tomorrow.