Deny yourself. Focus on others. Show compassion. Provide hope.
Oh, and Deliver Results.
This is a tough recipe, hard stuff to do. So often in the rush to deliver results, to get the job done, leaders crowd out the compassion/hope/deny self stuff. We can get to that later. That is more long term.
Not only that, but It is a service to the team to help them achieve results, right? So as long as we are winning, then we can call whatever leadership that gets us there a kind of service, yes?
I think the answer lies in a simple exercise. List the qualities of the leaders who have had the most positive impact on your life, and think about how they led. How they treated people. How they invested in you and others. The importance of respect. The extent of compassion in their words and actions. The way they listened when you had a few moments to talk to them.
I would suggest that the way we win – the things we do on the journey – tell the story about whether we serve ourselves or serve the team. Whether our leadership transforms or just transacts like punching a ticket.
Details matter in this. There is a tough discipline needed to block out our own voice when listening to others. To keep the smart phone in the pocket when a text message arrives while we are meeting with someone. There is homework to be done to understand what others need, what goals they have. There is sometimes an uncomfortable fuzziness to getting close enough to know them well enough to understand their strengths, to know their talents well enough to find the best fit and to position them well for success.
Here is an interesting link that helps build one aspect of servant leadership, Compassion: http://www.fastcompany.com/1840226/6-exercises-strengthen-compassionate-leadership