And that, my friend, is where Servant Leadership proves itself as unpopular as ever. You see, dying to self will never become fashionable. And therefore, the true Servant Leader will always be a rare breed in this world we live in.
Putting the people you lead first, before yourself, is where Servant Leadership starts. It is about considering the long-term good of the people at the cost of self, that the Servant portion comes to life. It is in making decisions that are good for the people surrounding you, even if it costs you, that you serve them.
In modern servant leadership philosophies, it becomes about being the servant to them by bringing them a coffee so you can persuade them to join you in your cause. That is not Servant Leadership. It is manipulation. In that scenario, you are motivated ultimately by your interests. You serve them just so they will serve you. Servant Leadership serves them because they are valuable even at the expense of your own interests.
She recognizes the innate giftedness of the people surrounding her, and seeks to draw out, train and encourage those talents. She does that because she is there for the people’s good. And, for the people, serving with their best talents gives them meaningful purpose.
We are all happiest when we serve to the very best of our abilities. We were created to contribute to each other for each other’s well being with our gifts. And the Servant Leader coaxes that out of every person on her team, the best she can.
His mission in life is largely motivated by his values. And he knows it. And that is what compels him to value others, their contribution, and also respect for the values that motivate them. When a leader is unaware of his values, and he habitually crosses his own values, he becomes a manipulative boss.
Chances are you have worked for a boss that bossed you around without a second thought to your values or strengths. That is someone who lords it over you by his authority rather than becoming a true leader. It shows that he is unaware of his own values or the values of his people.
A Servant can only also be a leader when he believes in a vision greater than himself. To not believe in the vision and yet to lead people towards it, has no servant’s heart or attitude about it. It quickly becomes manipulative. It is only in the genuine belief that the people will be better off in the place he is leading them towards, that a Servant Leader finds the conviction to lead.[tweetthis]A Servant Leader must believe in a vision greater than himself. [/tweetthis]
His vision is always about the good of everyone involved. And it is that conviction that makes him persuasive to the people he leads. That is the key to his effect as a leader. And it is that effectiveness of Servant Leadership that has made it a buzzword in the leadership community. But the truth is, Servant Leadership cannot be cheated.
Humility is the starting point of Servant Leadership. It accepts that there is a vision greater than your own petty desires and self-interests, and commits itself to that greater cause at its own cost. And humility causes you to recognise that the people surrounding you are as innately valuable as yourself.
Self-Sacrifice… now that may never become a buzzword or a fashionable thing to do. But it is what Servant Leadership is really about.