The Paradoxes of Servant Leadership
In my work with leaders, we discuss the concept of servant leadership. This concept was first articulated by Robert K. Greenleaf
“A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.”
And who doesn’t want more of having a leader help us develop and perform at our best?
The following is by Brewer as cited by Tim Hansel in his book Holy Sweat. I give this piece of prose to my clients to help them understand the importance of this concept.
Strong enough to be weak
Successful enough to fail
Busy enough to make time
Wise enough to say "I don't know"
Serious enough to laugh
Rich enough to be poor
Right enough to say "I'm wrong"
Compassionate enough to discipline
Mature enough to be childlike
Important enough to be last
Planned enough to be spontaneous
Controlled enough to be flexible
Free enough to endure captivity
Knowledgeable enough to ask questions
Loving enough to be angry
Great enough to be anonymous
Responsible enough to play
Assured enough to be rejected
Victorious enough to lose
Industrious enough to relax
Leading enough to serve
My vision for each of you is to practice servant leadership. It’s easy. Instead of asking yourself, “What can I get from this person/situation/vendor/ organization,” simply ask yourself, “How can I be of service to this person/situation/vendor/organization.”
Your answer will be clear.