Leadership as an Opportunity to Serve

In his book, Servant Leadership”, Robert Greenleaf wrote that “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.” This is not now, nor was it then, a new concept. References to the leader being a servant can be found in the Bible and the writings of Lao-Tzu. For the Great Leader, service to others is a prime concept and a primary goal.

While the mediocre leader sees his/her position as an affirmation of his/her authority and recognition of his/her own greatness, the Great Leader recognizes that it is an opportunity to serve.

  • Great Leaders look at each individual team member and learn what is important to each; their goals, their aspirations, their motivations. The Great Leader recognizes that an opportunity exists to help each team member reach their goals and serves each by opening doors that will lead to the attainment of those goals. They help their team members grow professionally and as people.
  • Great Leaders offer help when it is needed. They know that there are times when the team member is very capable of performing unassisted and are wise enough to stand back and watch. But, when help is needed, the Great Leader serves the team member by providing guidance and instruction in such a way as to empower the team member to learn by doing. They help the team members gain the knowledge and experience that enables them be more self-sufficient and more autonomous.
  • Great Leaders provide team members with opportunities to serve others and become servant leaders.

The Great Leader does not seek nor take credit for these things, choosing instead to recognize the accomplishments of the team member and giving credit to that individual. Those who would choose to become a Great Leader will see that in serving others, he/she is building a solid foundation upon which the team, the business, and the community can grow and thrive.

Have you had the privilege of serving others; of working with someone who served you? Click “Comment” to share your experience and what you learned from it.

Tom Hoisington is a speaker, trainer, and author whose goal is to provide leaders and potential leaders with tools that empower them to build teams that are creative and cost effective along with a clearer understanding of how personality types interact within those teams. He can be contacted at tom.hoisington@eagleoneresources.com