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    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.