Let’s review: servant leadership is not about you, it is about your team, the people you serve. This feels good – humility, focusing on others, trusting, empowering. But here is the rub, the unfortunate reality: if your team does not understand and value what you bring, and does not believe in your vision – then your influence weakens and your impact drains away.
Servant leadership, like all forms of leadership, draws its strength and vitality from the engagement of followers. As admirable as being a “servant” might be, it does not by itself motivate or inspire or engage your team. You need a vision, one that captures the unique value you bring to the team. Yes, you need to focus on Number One, your strengths, your values, your beliefs – and pull together a cohesive vision.
In short, to be an effective servant leader, you have to be a bit self-centered.
But, do not despair…your vision does not have to be mega-grand, like bringing world peace or abolishing hunger. In fact, for the purposes of effective, practical leadership, your vision is really a view of the destination of the team – and here being practical and “doable” works really well. While you’re at it, consider how progress toward that vision would be measured…
For example…as head of a marketing team, your vision might be to lift your company’s brand to the most recognized brand in its market, as measured by surveys of industry leaders.
As lead of a boy scout group, your vision might be to create a rich outdoor-skills oriented program, so engaging to the Scouts that it doubles the number of boys reaching Eagle Scout within 5 years.
Unless you are the top dog, there are higher level, more encompassing visions cast above, so you will need to ensure alignment with the larger team you are part of. Nonetheless, your leadership depends on the team knowing and believing in what you particularly and specially bring to your organization, to your team, to their lives.
Something that will serve them in a compelling way.
1. Servant Leadership Starts with a Clear Vision (www.servantleadershipinstitute.com)
2. The Seven Leadership Qualities of Great Leaders (www.briantracy.com)