The Beginner’s Guide to Servant Leadership

Leadership evolves and changes and there seems to be a leader’s style or personality to meet almost any situation, from visionary to autocratic, bureaucratic to servant. Servant leadership resonates with me the most. 

The concept of servant leadership was first introduced by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay, The Servant Leader. This essay states that servant leadership begins with the need to serve, and therefore a servant leader is a servant first with the goal of growth and the well-being of the people.

Principles of Servant Leadership

What does it take to be a servant leader? Follow these beginner principles to begin using servant leadership to work with your team.

They serve me well and at the very least, they will help you become a better manager if not a leader.

1. Listening

Give your undivided attention to others. Whether in meetings or small talk, giving your full attention to others is a simple way to let them know they are being listened to.

2. Language

You will find servant leaders using the we-versus-me model. Their mission is to enhance the welfare, contribution, and autonomy of others and not to gain fame, attention, or status for themselves. Their focus is on others, and not on themselves.

3. Flexibility

Serving others while adapting your leadership style to meet their needs within the context of servant leadership. By design, servant leadership is about doing what’s best for others and ensuring that they realize their full potential because they understand the varying levels of competence and commitment of their colleagues and teams.

4. Shining the Light on Others

Servant leaders are not ego-driven. They look for opportunities to shine a light on others, giving them a chance to be recognized for their accomplishments. They’re not concerned about receiving credit because they’re focused on making organizations and their people successful.

5. Failure is an Option

Servant leaders create a culture of learning, where failure is pivoted into a positive and an opportunity to grow. They have faith in their colleagues and trust their teams, which enables people to take risks comfortably.

Servant leadership is about empowering others, so they can perform at their best both within and outside of the organization. You do not need a title or team of direct reports to be a leader of any kind. You need to just show up and be a positive influence on your teams and set them up for success. 

I would love to help you develop your leadership style and skills. If you’re a fellow CEO or a Maestro in the making, I invite you to reach out to me so that we can put the Maestro Mindset to work for your business.

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