If you are a leader, Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership is required reading. Assuming you cannot find the time, the following paper by Larry Spears summarizes the main ideas of Servant Leadership. The link is here. The key characteristics of a servant leader are as follows:
- Deep commitment to listening intently to others. Seek to understand.
- Strive to understand and empathize with others.
- Heal yourself and others – commit to making those you serve stronger and better, and yourself too!
- Persuade rather than exercise authority
- Nurture your ability to dream big, to conceptualize
- Develop foresight, learning from the past and present to envision the future
- Stewardship – “to hold in trust for others”
- Contribute to the growth of others
- Build a sense of community
Great ideas from 40 years ago! As we attempt to move faster and build an innovation-centric culture, we cannot rely on the traditional authoritarian leadership models. Instead, create an organization where the people doing the real work are valued and trusted to get the job done, and serve those innovative, intelligent people to help each one draw out their own best talents and abilities. Wouldn’t that be a great place to work?