No matter what profession you choose to pursue, becoming a leader who empowers others to succeed will serve you well. Over my 25-year career, I’ve been blessed to work with many amazing individuals and teams, and I believe that everyone has the potential to lead and serve, regardless of your role or circumstance.
My experiences reinforce the belief that the success of any individual or organization is driven, at least in part, by the people they surround themselves with. Leaders play a central role in building a winning culture and empowering servant leaders. I have seen individuals achieve higher levels of performance when they are inspiring by those around them.
Servant leadership is a philosophy that states that a leader’s first priority is to serve the people they work with and help them reach their full potential. I’ve followed this philosophy most of my career, but only recently realized the full reach of this approach. I always try to put the needs of my team and students first and help each person develop and perform as highly as possible.
To become an effective servant leader, you need to believe in two fundamental truths and follow some basic practices:
- Every person has value and deserves civility, trust and respect.
- People can accomplish almost anything when they are inspired by a purpose beyond themselves.
My experiences have taught me that both of these statements are true, and I’ve seen individuals and teams accomplish extraordinary success when they were led by servant leaders.
Servant leadership focuses on three key priorities:
- Developing people
- Building a trusting team
- Achieving results
This means understanding the power and responsibility you have as a leader and continually striving to be a trustworthy, humble and caring community builder. To do this, you need to prioritize the needs of your team members, or your fellow students, and really listen to them and invest time in helping them grow and develop.
It may sound easy, but great leadership takes time and patience. However, the investment you make in others can pay off in a big way once your team knows that you truly care about them and are committed to their success.