Being of service to others is showing true leadership. Earlier this year I read a book called “The Servant” A Simple Story about the True Essence of Leadership by James C. Hunter. This book had a profound impact on my life. I didn’t just read the book, I studied it and you can tell. My book looks like a text book; it’s filled with hi-lights and flags to help me remember the main principles taught. Here are some of the lessons I learned.
Listening is one of the most important skills a leader can choose to develop. Active listening requires a disciplined effort to silence all the mental clutter while concentrating on what the other person is saying. The fact that you are willing to set aside all distractions, even mental ones, sends a very powerful message – that you care; that he or she is important. If you would like to improve your leadership skills there is a great CD Set by Steve Shapiro called “Listening for Success”.
Leadership is the skill of influencing people to work enthusiastically towards goals identified, and this skill is available to everyone.
James teaches that the true foundation of leadership is not power, but authority, which is built upon relationships, love, service, and sacrifice. Authority is the skill of getting people to willingly do what you want because of your personal influence.
The role of the leader is to serve. A leader is someone who identifies and meets the needs of their people. He/she encourages people to become the best they are capable of becoming. A leader always follows the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.” Authority is always built on service and sacrifice. While meeting needs, we are often called upon to make sacrifices for those we serve.
Leadership boils down to a simple four-word phrase – “Identify and meet needs.”
Servant Leaders are:
Catch people doing something right. When praising, it needs to be sincere and specific. Be authentic.
A leader should be open, honest, and direct with others, but always in a respectful manner.
Commitment is probably the most important behaviour of all. And by commitment I mean being committed to the commitments you make in life. This is important because the principle requires enormous effort and if you’re not committed as the leader, you will probably give up and resort back to power. Everything a leader does sends a message. If we are late for appointments, meetings, or other commitments we’ve made, what is the message we are sending?
When we choose to love, to extend ourselves for others, we are required to be patient, kind, humble, respectful, selfless, forgiving, honest, and committed. These behaviours require us to serve and sacrifice for others. As a servant leader, we have a unique opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of others.
Here’s another post you might enjoy Leadership is Being of Service. Can you name someone that was a true servant leader?