Developing a talking theme for the year’s last quarter, I thought about leadership. Everyday my inbox is inundated with training solicitations for courses on leadership.
Sure, everyone wants to lead, guide, direct and command. It’s our manifest destiny standing at the helm with a sword in one hand inspiring the troops. Today we can learn how to do it for a very reasonable registration fee, travel, hotel and per diem.
Then I thought about learning to serve instead. Jotting ideas of what our commission as public servants means as police officers, I stopped writing and thought; Just hush.
I located this article from one of my favorite blog sites, and said “Thank you God for sending me the words I would not have been able to so effectively articulate.”
Servant Leadership: What is it?
Robert Greenleaf popularized the phrase “Servant Leadership” with his book by that title published in 1970. He observed that being a Servant Leader started with a desire to serve the needs of others, and that this desire to serve was the person’s first priority. These kinds of leaders possessed ten common characteristics which became the ten principles for Servant Leadership.
- Listening It makes sense that one of the best ways we serve others is by listening to them. A Servant Leader attempts to listen actively, with an open mind, and gives the gift of acknowledging worth to others by treating them as people who have something worth hearing.
- Empathy A Servant Leader attempts to see things from the other person’s perspective. To borrow from Steven Covey’s writings, he/she seeks first to understand and then to be understood. This is the opposite of what we often see in the marketplace of ideas where one of the most common practices is to suggest in covert and overt ways that those who oppose you have absolutely no legitimacy.
- Persuasion Servant Leaders don’t resort to positional authority or coercion as a means to accomplishment. Instead, they persuade others to follow them. This approach demonstrates that the leader trusts the followers to come to the right conclusion when given the right information in the right way. As the leader extends trust, it causes followers to have more trust in the leader.
- Awareness Greenleaf said that awareness is both an awakener and a disturber. As the leader becomes aware of something, it is like an awakening; but it is also a disturber because he/she realizes that something has to be done. This principle of awareness applies to both self-awareness and an awareness of others. The Servant Leader is one who awakens others to new possibilities by asking questions such as, “Have you ever considered…?”
- Healing Greenleaf considered this to be the most powerful principle. The Servant Leader recognizes that people have the power to make wholeness out of brokenness. Perhaps more importantly, the Servant Leader accepts the responsibility to be a healer. Healing is, in some ways, the result of some of the other principles such as listening, empathy, awareness , and even persuasion—in that it implies treating people with dignity.
It’s helpful to remember that Greenleaf saw Servant Leadership as a philosophy of leadership that guided the leader’s daily decisions and interactions. At first glance, the term Servant Leader seems like an oxymoron. Are you the servant or the leader? Can you be both? On the other hand, it’s intriguing to think about what kind of difference this type of leader could make in your organization, isn’t it?
Stay tuned for the other five characteristics of a Servant Leader later this week!
Written by: Mike Mowery Director of Leadership Development, Strategic Government Resources governmentresource.com
Categories: The Cultural Revolution
Absolutely right! Many forget that Jesus is to be our example of leadership, and He was most certainly a servant leader.
Absolutely fantastic post! Too bad many of those who believe they are leaders do not ackowlege number three. They are only leaders in the mind of themselves; they command through positional authority!
This simple lesson on leadership should touch many.
It has been my experience that being a leader by example is more respected, by subordinates, that leading by authority. That’s the way our Savior, Jesus Christ, lead his disciples. ( Anybody need their feet washed).
Love it Larry, Thanks
Feet washing time!
Chief, I’m a former Patrolman for TPD, from the late 70s early 80s, and worked with Capt. Jacobs, Estevan, Chris Webber, and others that I’ve forgotten their names. Dee Dee is probably the only one still there from the good old days. I retired from the Ky. OC in June due to be diagnosed with multiple myeloma, back in Sept. 2011,and I’ve been through treatment, with two stem cell transplants, during the past two years. I’m now in particle remission . What I learned through my illness is the will of our Almighty God is to heal all that come to him in prayer…and petition. I was blessed to have several Churches, in Western KY, praying for me. I read the book Christ the Healer, by F. F. Bosworth and claimed my healing in the name of Jesus. If God is for us, what can harm us. Please pass this on to the lady with breast cancer.
I plan on coming to Thibodaux mid Nov. to visit some friends, and see NSU’s last home game. By the way I was three time La. Golden Gloves heavyweight champ while working at TPD, and I good friends with Tim Prejean.
I know all those folks you mentioned and I’ll tell Deedy and Kim Robicheaux ( was Delaune) you wrote. Don’t hesitate to stop by TPD. Be glad to meet you. God bless your recovery!!