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.