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Servant Leadership - The Key is in the Name

The fourth of a 6-Part Series on Servant Leadership

Over the past three weeks we have been covering basic principles of leadership. This week we’re going to transition our focus to Servant Leadership, and specifically, the Servant Leadership Model.

Leadership, in its simplest form, is the skill to influence people to work enthusiastically towards goals that have been chosen to be for the good of a specific group, team, or company. When focusing on Servant Leadership the only addition is that to lead you must first serve. Seems simple, doesn’t it?

The first step in Servant Leadership is to earn the right to lead by gaining the respect of your team through earned authority (for more on authority refer to last week’s post).

A leader earns authority from their team through service and sacrifice for the team. Basically, as the leader helps to remove barriers that hinder the performance of their team, the leader earns increasing amounts of goodwill, or authority, from the team.

Servant Leaders are always focused on serving their team. They are continually sharing the credit for the team’s success with the team, accepting none of the praise. When issues happen, the Servant Leader is the first to accept blame, and does not point a finger at anyone on the team. This is what it means to serve and sacrifice for the betterment of the team.

You might ask why a leader would serve and sacrifice to this extent. The simple answer is because they care about the success of their team. Pointing fingers and playing the blame game can undermine the health, efforts, and success of the team – especially if this is done over an extended period of time. The long-term success of the team comes from serving them so that they can thrive and succeed.

Understand that this does not mean that individuals can never be held accountable for their results. We will talk more about this in next week’s article, but the key to successful Servant Leadership comes from finding the right balance in developing strong relationships with the team, while still holding them accountable for performance of their assigned responsibilities.

So what starts the flow of successful Servant Leadership? It all starts with the team leader making a choice to care enough about their team to serve and sacrifice for them. Service and sacrifice earns the leader goodwill (authority) to lead the team through their influence. When everyone one on the team recognizes that the influence is done with the intent to serve the team so that it can consistently meet and exceed the agreed upon goals and objectives, the team thrives. This is when great things happen.

Over the next week observe the level of goodwill that you have with your team. Are they doing things because of the power of your position, or through the goodwill you have earned through serving them? Next week we will cover how to build goodwill through the balance of building relationships while holding people accountable for results.

This is the fourth segment of Anavo’s 6-part series on Servant Leadership. You can find all of our articles on the blog page.

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