Most people have heard of this expression. Many are still uncomfortable with it. Somehow the word “servant” has an uncomfortable ring to it but it needs not be that way. On the contrary.
We owe the expression to Robert K. Greenleaf who wrote extensively on the subject and created a leadership practice and philosophy on that concept. A servant leader is one who prioritizes others by being attentive to their needs and acting as a humble servant to the organization’s human, financial and physical resources.
Are you thinking that this behavior would never allow anyone in your organization to pass the test as a leader? Really? Then consider this.
Apple has totally revolutionized the retail industry in re-engineering its sales team by putting customer service over sales. Imagine that! A retail store training its sales team to move away from the “always close a deal”approach and training its staff to seek to help instead. Who would have thought? and moreover, who would have dared?
Apple’s phenomenal success, of course, resides on its outstanding product. Agreed. But even a great product, if put on the market the wrong way, will suffer. Likewise, being a servant leader is not a subsidy to incompetent leadership. But even outstanding skills and track records will not yield the expected results when the leader can not be embraced by the organization.
Being good is something you do on your own. Achieving results is something you do with others. Putting them first may just be what you need to get you, and your organization, to the top!
How you lead yourself, and others, matters.