How can servant leadership be seen as a vocation?

Servant leaders have a natural desire to serve others. This notion of having a vocation to serve is deeply rooted and values-based. Servant leaders have a desire to make a difference for others and will seek opportunities to influence the lives of others, never for their own benefit. The servant leader believes he or she is first among equals.

This idea is at the core of servant leadership. A servant leader does not consider himself above those he leads. Rather, he is primus inter pares, from the Latin, meaning first among equals. That is, he sees those he leads as peers to teach and learn from.

He is willing to lead others to achieve an agreed goal, but he does not believe that being the leader makes him better than others. Christian coaching aligns with this approach in the sense that the client is considered the expert, and God's will is paramount. The role of the coach is to stand in the gap and help people achieve their goals. Regardless of the knowledge or experience the coach has, the intention is to see God glorified through others.

When a client succeeds, a servant leader is not envious or required to share the limelight, but kneels in gratitude to God for having participated. So what is servant leadership and how to do it? According to Savage, "sometimes decisions have to be made that only the leader can make; the hard decisions that may be unpopular". But he also points out that "a servant-led organisation will be able to weather those moments with much more confidence and adaptability than a traditional one". Savage also stresses the importance of hiring people with similar values, or who have been servant leaders in other companies, as a means of ensuring alignment within the leadership team.

Servant leaders are likely to have more engaged employees and enjoy better relationships with team members and other stakeholders than leaders who do not put the interests of others before their own. In an environment where changing jobs every few years was frowned upon, authoritarian leadership was something that was learned to be endured. Many of the other sections of this chapter of the Toolkit have discussed different leadership qualities, such as influencing others, making decisions and identifying needs. In leadership studies and the educational sciences, he focuses much of his teaching and writing on mentoring young leaders.

Others, although they can be found in all types of leadership, are simply emphasised more strongly by servant leaders. Servant leaders value the opinions of all members of their team and encourage them to share them and actively contribute to the team on a regular basis. Another thing you can do to become a servant leader is to show your team members that you care about them on a personal level. Spears cites leading companies that have adopted the servant leadership model as a corporate philosophy, such as Starbucks and Southwest Airlines.

During these sessions, associates are asked to share their views on how the company can improve the customer experience, how the company can help make the associate's job easier, and what the management team can do to improve their leadership. While the practice of servant leadership has clear benefits, moving from theory to practice can be difficult. It is important to highlight the successes of servant leadership in order to reinforce the habits and behaviours needed to practice it. In the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic, Ed Bastien, CEO of Delta Airlines and a believer in the "virtuous circle of servant leadership", announced that he would take a 100 percent pay cut for six months of crisis.

Jason Klingler
Jason Klingler

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