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    Entries in Servant Leadership (2)


    How to Lead: Influence By Relationships

    Leadership is influencing and motivating others to work towards an established goal that furthers their organization and/or movement. Where there is any strong leader, there is a group of followers willing to be led. As such, it is the leader ‘s responsibility to establish goals to measure the progress of their leadership, in turn allowing those being led to evaluate themselves within the context of the group.

    The use of autonomy and ownership harness group enthusiasm and allows group members to work towards a mutually established goal rather than the goal or solution assigned by the leader. Motivation allows leaders to use the skills within the group, freeing them up to oversee the group and cast a continuous vision as progress is made. A leader is ultimately measured by is effectiveness, and because of that, the team surrounding them must be equipped and managed to support the goals of that leader.

    The act of managing fulfills many principles of leadership. Motivating and mobilizing workers, bringing out team strengths and working through team weakness ‘ are just two small aspects to the role management undertakes. The role of the manager can often be overlooked in the name of team leadership, as teams breakdown barriers and help to balance the disbursement of duties. Although effective, teams without a central vision and visionary behind it risk losing focus and developing large inefficiencies.

    One of the key oversights that leaders fail to release is their responsibility to cast vision and set organizational goals. Although managers require leadership skills to motivate subordinates to complete the task at hand, leading as a concept maintains a much more macro view of any given situation of conflict.

    The responsibility of a leader is to maintain a ‘trailblazing ‘ attitude, paving the way for others to follow, casting vision that sets the direction for organizations ranging from 10 to 10 million people. Leaders must have a diverse skill set and have the ability to prioritize and conceptualize solutions in order to maximize and define their role as a leader, differentiating themselves from managers who focus more on keeping teams on track and motivating employees. Servant leadership essentially elevates others to greater levels and motivates the team as a whole, increasing employee moral and developing inter company relationships.


    10 Core Principles of Servant Leadership

    A few years ago I wrote an article outlining 10 Core Principles that outline "Servant Leadership."  I wanted to post them here.  I have made some changes, but for the most part they remain the same.  I am always a little leary of "top 10" lists as they always have exceptions and rarely are exhaustive.  So rather than call this a "Top 10," I think of it more as 10 principles or characteristics of servant leadership.  I've said it before...often the simple truths are the strongest!

    10 Servant Leadership Core Principles

    1.     Follow First: Every leader began by following.  Having strong mentors to follow must not be a stage that is outgrown.  Servant leaders can only be effective when they have seen firsthand the trial and error of those that have gone before them.

    2.     Cast Vision:  A clear vision is not easily attained.  A leader must know where they are leading before asking others to follow.  A servant leader must first walk where they want to go before asking others to follow.

    3.     Work Hard: A strong work ethic must be a conscious decision that is lived out everyday.  By modeling hard work, a servant leader is demonstrating the principles and standards that they preach, and place themselves in a much strong position to ask others to do the same.

    4.     Communicate Clearly: Often good intentions and instruction can get lost in translation.  To lead effectively, a servant leader must take responsibility for using communication as a vehicle to achieve common goals.  Without strong communication, accomplishing the objectives of the organization are nearly impossible.

    5.     Model Humility: In order to lead effectively and biblically, a servant leader must exhibit a desire to put both the organization and others ahead of themselves.  The Bible never commands us to “be humble,” but rather to in humility consider others before us.  As such, a servant leader must understand the humility is not a characteristic or a feat that can be attained, but rather a lifestyle that one must choose to live.

    6.     Live Honestly: Both at work and at home, a servant leader must display integrity and a general acceptance of their peers and employees.  Without compromise, a servant leader must model the ethical standards set for employees.

    7.     Exude Confidence: A servant leader cannot be sheepish, but rather must be decisive and demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge in the areas of their responsibility.  Failure to make the necessary decision in a timely manner could result in a limiting of their ability to motivate and lead those around them.

    8.     Train Others: A servant leader must lead in a way to set their successor up to succeed.  Identifying and training the next generation is the most undervalued leadership discipline, but remains one of the most important.

    9.     Be Patient: Not all employees and peers work at the same pace or aspire to the same goals.  It is important for servant leaders to understand the make-up of their team, and work with each individual to meet the goals that they have set together.

    10.  Move Forward:  Becoming stagnant is a danger that many leaders fall into.  It is important to lead with a fresh sense of passion, and in doing so motivate others to catch both a common vision and a sense of workplace solidarity.  Servant leaders must look to others for new ideas and encourage a workplace that values ingenuity and initiative.