What is servant leadership?
Servant leadership happens when we act with respect, care, and fairness for the well-being of all involved, and not for our own self-serving interests. When we serve first and lead second, we help individuals and organizations achieve worthwhile results while keeping the best interest of those we serve before our own. It’s only when we realize that it’s not about us that we model servant leadership.
Why is it a big deal?
Servant leadership is one of the most effective approaches to guiding employees toward an outcome that fosters growth, connectedness, and encouragement. When a company employs servant leadership across the board it can help the business run more effectively and efficiently. Servant leadership is not just a moral imperative, it’s a far more effective way to lead.
One of my favorite authors, Ken Blanchard has a new book coming out March 6th called Servant Leadership in Action: How You Can Achieve Great Relationships and Results. Ken Blanchard is a leader that I admire greatly. I am honored to have the following guest post from Ken Blanchard. He is also hosting a complimentary online event on February 28th with many, many other wonderful leaders that I respect and admire as well. Read to the end to find out more!
Servant Leadership: Getting Your Ego Out of the Way
I want to share a method for getting your ego out of the way and clear your path to becoming a servant leader. There are two sides of the human ego that can cause trouble. One is false pride—when you think more of yourself than you should. When this occurs, you spend most of your time looking for ways to promote yourself. The other is fear—when you think less of yourself than you should. In this case, you spend time constantly trying to protect yourself.
I like to start meetings with an Egos Anonymous session. It is a simple but powerful opening activity with a format similar to one used in many twelve-step programs. Individuals stand up, introduce themselves, and then share an example of how they have let their ego get in the way of being their best. For example, I would say, “Hi, I’m Ken, and I’m an egomaniac. The last time my ego got in the way was…” and then I might talk about when I took too long to apologize or when I was impatient with someone I care about.
When you make this kind of admission in front of others, it is an act of vulnerability that enables people to see you as you truly are. This builds trust and improves relationships. Try it yourself—reflect on a recent situation where you reacted badly or in a way that was inconsistent with the person you want to be. If you are like most people, you’ll realize that your ego-driven episode was a result of either false pride or fear. You may have felt a need to win at the expense of others, or to be seen as smart, or to be accepted as part of a group. Both false pride and fear are damaging and can limit your effectiveness as a leader.
The first step to changing your behavior is to identify the issue. Only when you realize you are operating out of false pride or fear will you be able to change.
To keep your ego in check, I recommend that you ask yourself a couple of questions. First, ask “Am I here to serve or to be served?” If you believe leadership is all about you—where you want to go and what you want to attain—your ego is probably causing problems in leadership situations. But if your leadership revolves around meeting the needs of the organization and the people working for it, you are acting as a servant leader.
Next, ask “What am I doing on a daily basis to fine-tune who I want to be as a leader?” This could include how you enter your day, what you read, what you study—everything that contributes positively to who you are. Consider your daily habits and their impact on your life. Take time to explore who you are, who you want to be, and what steps you can take on a daily basis to get closer to becoming your best self.
Let’s face it; at times we all have poor reactions to situations. We all need to monitor our behaviors so that we can make improvements. Your leadership journey begins on the inside—but ultimately, it will have a tremendous impact on the people around you.
SERVANT LEADERSHIP IN ACTION
February 28, 2018 | LIVECAST | 9:00–11:00 a.m. (PST)
A Complimentary Online Event
From The Ken Blanchard Companies and Berrett-Koehler Publishers
We’ve all seen the negative impact of self-serving leaders and how they can destroy organizations. We believe leaders should serve their people, not the other way around.
Join Ken Blanchard and other leadership experts for an in-depth exploration of servant leadership. They will share insights from the upcoming book Servant Leadership in Action—being released March 6, 2018!
(with more to be announced next week!)
Stephen M.R. Covey, author, Speed of Trust, and former CEO of Covey Leadership Center; Cheryl Bachelder author, Dare to Serve and former CEO, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen; Marshall Goldsmith, top executive coach and author, MOJO, Triggers, and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There; Holly Culhane, author, founder and CEO of Presence Point; Mark Miller, author, Talent Magnet and VP of High Performance Leadership, Chick-fil-A; Garry Ridge, author, Helping People Win at Work, and CEO of WD-40 Company
More about Ken Blanchard
Ken Blanchard is a best-selling business author with over 21 million books sold. His newest book, is being released on March 6. Ken is also hosting a free Servant Leadership in Action Livecast on February 28 featuring more than 20 authors, CEOs, and thought leaders speaking on the topic.
About the Book
Ken Blanchard’s desire to develop servant leaders who are world changers drove him and his longtime editor Renee Broadwell to produce this book, Servant Leadership in Action. This book is the foundation for the upcoming livecast and is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging guide ever published for what is, in every sense, a better way to lead.