The Top Signs You’re a Servant-Leader
The first time I was asked what a servant-leader looks like I was dumbfounded. Who wouldn’t know? But after some thought, I realized that some may not understand what to look for when hiring leaders with a servant’s attitude.
#1. Servant-leaders turn conversations toward others.
One of the first signs of humility is open ears and a closed mouth. Servant-leaders believe they have room to grow. They learn from anyone.
Apart from the foundational character qualities of leadership like integrity, curiosity is one of the top predictors of success.
#2. Servant-leaders use people’s strengths, aspirations, and capabilities as guides for evaluation.
Egotistical leaders compare people’s performance with their own. Servant-leaders don’t impose their strengths on others.
Ego wants others to act like itself and pressures people to do things the way it would do them. Arrogance believes others should be mirrors. That’s why so many leaders hire mirror images of themselves.
Note: If an employee’s strengths, aspirations, and capabilities don’t bring value to your organization, help them find a place where they bring value.
#3. Servant-leaders concern themselves with how others feel about themselves, not what others think of them.
It’s normal to be concerned about opinions, but egotistical leaders are consumed with image.
#4. Stand behind others.
Super-star leaders defend themselves and willingly sacrifice others along the way.
Servant-leaders defend their team. If you can’t defend the members of your team, one of three things needs to happen.
- Fire them.
- Fire yourself.
- Develop people to the point where you are proud to stand behind them.
#5. Take responsible risks.
Egotistical leaders play it safe because you can’t risk failure if your identity is defined by your last success.
#6. Servant-leaders revel in the success of others.
Envy is a sure sign of arrogance.
How do you spot servant-leaders?
Great post Dan, I’m a big believer in the concept of servant leadership!
Spot on! Plus that you notice servant-leader only by being one or aspiring to be one. Sadly I have seen the negative side of #4, as I – as one – stood for my team and made sure they succeed and got to leave the company by ‘mutual agreement’. My supervisor was not yet ready to be one, even though he saw the results. 😉
Now I’m servant-leader by my own devotion, started a coaching office few days ago and I’m serving my bosses (clients) the best I can! 😀
Servant leaders listen more and ask more questions than make statements. They are focused on the greater good for the person, the department, the organization. They see their job to serve first.
Servant Leadership is crucial to effective, inclusive leadership. However, the irony, in my experience, is the leaders who talk the most about servant leadership, tend to be the ones who don’t do it well. The ones who do it well, don’t have to talk about it because it is evident in everything they do.
Great point, Kristi! There is no need to call attention to themselves – they give the acclaim to their team members without a second thought. It is in their nature to stand behind their team, even in the recognition of accomplishment – not front and center.
Tying envy to arrogance is an eye-opener. Thank you for that insight!