Leaders are the back bone of any organization. They provide the purpose, direction and motivation for those who follow them. The people who function within the organization look to leadership for the guidance necessary to contribute to the accomplishment of organizational goals, as well as to be successful individually. Leaders are ultimately responsible for the success of the organization, but must rely on others to execute based on the guidance they give. This is a relationship that leaders must initiate and cultivate with everyone in their sphere of influence. Therefore, leaders must understand that in order to truly be successful, they must be servants to those who follow them.
When you think of being in a leadership position, the idea of being a servant may not be the first idea that comes to mind. In fact, servant-leadership is an oxymoron to many people. The fact of the matter; however, is that it is a real concept that many successful leaders use and are very successful because of it. This leadership style can only work when the leader is a selfless individual who genuinely cares about the health, welfare, success and growth of others. Here are some elements that contribute to great servant-leadership.
1. Servant-Leaders take great pleasure in helping others. These leaders are very astute in the art of ensuring that others are successful. They make other people around them better by providing all the available resource possible, including training, correction and encouragement. This type of leader attempts to add value to others. Not only do they help others, but they also provide the type of mentorship that causes them to become leaders as well. This type of leadership continues to reproduce over time, creating more leaders who develop an understanding of the concept of serving others.
2. Servant-Leaders ignite other qualities in themselves and others. Leaders who adopt the concept of serving others also usually demonstrate positive character traits that are prevalent among great leaders such as love, kindness, respect, discipline and patience. This type of leader understands that there must be balance in their leadership style to be a successful leader.
3. Servant-Leaders acknowledge that they are part of something greater than themselves. Oftentimes, people think about themselves when it comes to being a great leader. If you fall into this category, ask yourself this question. Why do you want to be great? Is it so people can be in awe of your accomplishments or is it in the best interests of the greater entity. When a leader is more interested in the successful accomplishment of a goal or cause that is greater than them, their individual greatness often comes as a byproduct of their unselfishness.
Servant-Leadership is not for everyone. It takes a special leader to recognize that their true success lies in the success and growth of those they lead. It also takes a special person who is truly secure in their ability to serve, mentor, and lead.