Dr Bev Smallwood

Articles Library: Leadership

How To Become a Servant Leader

A true leader must have “a servant attitude.” The authentic willingness and desire to serve is a powerful attribute that distinguishes the mediocre leaders from the extraordinary ones.

Think about it. A manager’s primary responsibilities are the equipping and encouraging of team members to perform at their best to accomplish the organization’s goals. The servant leader, then, looks for ways to support, build up, and stimulate team members.

The concept of leading by serving is not a new one. Effective leaders across the centuries have learned the secret: True leaders are followed by people who want to follow them, and people want to follow those who enable them to develop and use their talents to contribute to a valued cause. As Jesus Christ told his disciples, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant.”

“Servant? But I worked long and hard to earn the privileges of being a boss!”

I have often heard such a comment as organizational leaders struggle with the perceived loss of power and status they believe is exacted by the servant leadership role. This is a very normal reaction.

However, I’ve also had the pleasure of watching many of those same leaders come alive as they experience the exhilarating power of succeeding by helping others succeed. One manager said to me, “It’s great to be leading the way and creating a work atmosphere in which it’s actually fun to work.”

The servant leader, then, is attuned to the needs of customers, of employees, of fellow leaders, and of the community. He or she provides the services, training, tools, and encouragement to meet those needs and to facilitate the continued development of team members.

Servant leadership is an attitude showing a preference for giving over receiving. It is demonstrated by daily observable actions that build the organization by building people.

Dr. Bev Smallwood is a psychologist and professional speaker who is the author of “This Wasn’t Supposed to Happen to Me.” Visit her website, www.DrBevSmallwood.com; or contact Bev at 601.264.0890 or by email, Bev@DrBevSmallwood.com. Also connect with Bev on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and her blogs, Shrink Rap and New Morning Devotionals.

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