Sooooooo…. you have been put in a position where you can directly influence the potential of people towards a common goal by motivating them and inspiring them.
It is a big responsibility and when done right can be very rewarding to both leader and team.
I am pretty certain your first image of a leader is not that of a servant. We think about leaders as the front line members of our team……….. commanding the ship.
The fearless leader takes on the storm and leads the battle right? The best leaders don’t do that…… rather they serve selflessly to appropriately position the team in such a manner as to guide them to take on the storm themselves and win the battle.
So leadership is serving?
Most leaders may do a double take at this statement – “Great leadership and service go hand in hand”.
With a little more thought you start to realize that the most memorable leaders you have come across or read about are those who are willing to put the needs of others before theirs…they are the ones you would probably have in your list of “best leaders I have worked for” or “leaders I most admire”.
When we talk about service in reference to leadership we speak of a service oriented attitude that yields exponential and rewarding benefits by giving, mentoring, supporting, motivating, directing and guiding.
The leader who serves with his or her time, empathy, patience and forgiveness is the one who leads a team with a high retention rate, a team that is confident, a team that feels appreciated and a team that is willing to go the extra mile….work the extra weekend…..put in the extra hour.
In turn, the team benefits..the leader benefits…..what was initially put in by the servant leader is reaped in abundance. It is a winners circle.
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Nelson Mandela served by sacrificing 27 years of his life behind prison bars to become a symbol of freedom for his people. In total, he spent 67 years serving his country.
Mahatma Ghandi says it best in his quote “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” He dedicated his whole life to the service of his motherland and especially the less privileged.
He encouraged us to serve the poorest and weakest and in turn serve ourselves.
Martin Luther King was another historical leader whose mission in life was simply to serve others.
So many great leaders have come and gone. Though we can only strive and hope to impact those we lead as they did, it is worth mentioning that many great leaders were also great servants.