Servant leadership is having a people-first mindset. It’s taking care of the people in your care and standing up for them on the issues that matter.
You don’t get to ignore personal and social issues and call yourself a servant leader. It doesn’t work that way. What happens outside your organization is impacting the people inside your organization. Servant leaders don’t put on blinders and only focus on the day-to-day work. Only transactional leaders do that.
Servant leaders stand up for all the people they represent – especially when it’s different from their perspective – because they understand trust is the cornerstone of servant leadership. They engage in conversations on what’s happening in people’s personal lives, racial injustice, LGBTQ equality, and workplace safety. Servant leaders check in with people, challenging their own perspectives and authentically taking a stand.
Here are six actions you can take this week to be more of a servant leader – regardless of your role in the organization:
- Send a quick message and acknowledge how much you appreciate someone.
- Demonstrate empathy. My rule is “Empathy first. Information second.”
- Let them see your support for social issues that impact their wellbeing.
- Take time to learn. Get their permission to ask questions so that you can understand their point of view and more about a topic.
- Help people step back into their power by focusing on what they can control. They always have choices.
- Build their self-worth. Tell them, “I believe in you.”
Your leadership presence will decide whether the people you serve feel seen and less alone in the world. That’s the essence of servant leadership. Remember: you don’t have to have all the answers. You just need to care, ask questions, and check-in.
You’ve got this. I believe in you.