We live in a microwave society. Everybody wants something right now and they don’t want to wait for it. Leadership does not come in a microwavable version. The qualities of a servant leader are developed over time through rigorous effort of learning and experience. Servant leadership recognizes the essential need to align purpose, vision, and values. Leading from a servant’s heart impacts lives through effective listening, building trust, becoming an encourager, having patience, expressing gratitude, fostering relationships, and constructing the framework for personal and non-stop individual professional development.
The Foundation of Servant Leadership
To be effective as a leader, you must be the person others want to follow. Servant leaders lay the foundation to support the operations of the organization and clearly communicate their vision, values, and be able to translate them into goals. Through this book, readers learn proven methods used by successful leaders in clearly articulating purpose, values, and goals. If you’re looking for guidance in learning to communicate with clarity, establish trust, listen to understand, and to be approachable and considerate of others, you’ve found the right book, Leading Jesus Way: Become the Servant Leader God Created You To Be.
As a leader, do you have clarity of purpose? Purpose is at the intersection of God-given strengths, talents, and abilities woven together with values, passions, and vision for the legacy you want to leave. Purpose drives everything from your private life to your public image. Servant leaders recognize the nature of purpose and its impact on individuals at home and at work. This chapter profiles the significance of purpose and its influence on becoming a leader people want to follow while helping you understand how purpose and values form the cornerstone of your character.
Vision impacts every aspect of an organization. Vison is a clear depiction of what you determine as your “preferred future”. This chapter crystalizes the imperative nature of vision and the fractured results that occur when a clearly defined vision does not exist. Do you know the building blocks of a solid vision? This chapter will guide you and your teams through the process of creating a vision that supports the culture where the entire organization walks the talk of servant leadership.
Values are foundational to every organization. It’s easy to establish them, and easier to proclaim them, but extremely hard to model them and live them every day. Have you defined key values for your team? You can use what you learn in these pages to design a culture directed by firm values with actionable items leading to a values based organization. Every organization has a culture. Servant leaders are intentional about building a culture where values are the guiding principles.
Energy is contagious. This type of energy extends past the excitement of an anticipated announcement and has a sustained effect beyond the project plan. Find the secret to generating energy that perpetuates itself through the interactions of individuals who are productive because they are working on a common goal and are aligned with work they love. Look in this section of the book on Building Energy for guidance toward becoming skilled at aligning all aspects of job satisfaction and organizational need.
Leaders need insight into how they can assure employees understand how their talents and skills are directly connected to the success of the organization. The key is in showing them through practical indicators that what they do every day is a mark of success to customers and to the company. Whether new employees or seasoned veterans of the organization, everyone benefits from knowing their efforts have a positive impact and direct connection to the success of the enterprise.
Many leaders feel the substantial weight of problems when team members are reluctant to find solutions and make decisions. There’s help for that dilemma in the chapter discussing human potential and the leader’s responsibility in developing talent and encouraging individuals to recognize their role in charting their own destiny.
“Praise generates energy.” One mark of a servant leader is their characteristic use of gratitude and encouragement of others. This chapter discusses the nature of encouragement and how to express it appropriately both when rewarding good performance and when correction is necessary. Major elements in using encouragement and gratitude is recognition and reason. Learn the key to ‘Catching people in the act of doing the right thing’ so you have a reason to recognize them.
High Performing Teams
Performance implies ability to function effectively and fulfill an intended purpose. One aspect of performance within an organization looks at the organization as a whole, but it is individual performance that collectively affects those results. Servant leaders are focused on setting realistic expectations for individuals while providing opportunities for them to perform at a promotable level.
Servant leaders get to know individuals on a personal level so they can match talent, interests, skills, and aspirations of individuals to opportunities. Here you’ll read the fundamentals of attracting top talent and hiring individuals who share the core values of your organization and will support your purpose and vision. To achieve this hiring objective leaders must understand the attributes of exceptional values and talent, then hire individuals who exhibit those qualities.
To have a better future, servant leaders must guard against the paralyzing effect of the status quo. Mediocre performance results when the bar is set too low or when expectations are vague or not clearly articulated. Building performance requires digging into the process of setting well-defined expectations which are then tied to measurable performance.
Performance evaluations are ineffective and unreliable without precise understanding of expectations and authentic commitment between the leader and individuals on the team. Be specific when defining individual expectations and key indicators of personal growth. These will later be reflected in enhanced skills, greater proficiencies, improved knowledge, and broader diversity.
Coaching is not found only on the playing field of team sports. Coaching is perhaps the single most relevant factor in fostering professional growth of an individual. While improvements can be achieved through team related interactions or corporate wide training, it is the instruction specifically designed for individuals that yield the maximum results. Servant leaders recognize the unparalleled benefits of one on one coaching both for the mentor and the mentee.
High performing teams don’t materialize without attentive goal setting, planning, coordinating, monitoring, and correction of project activities. Wrapped up in team performance are key components which the author presents in the section on building performance. What readers learn will assist them in gauging the performance of teams in the areas of leadership, purpose, vision, and values, clarifying acceptable behavior, understanding responsibility, defining stretch goals, and designing communication strategies.
When I was in ninth grade, our English Lit class studied the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Until then I had never known anything about empathy. What I learned in that class has stuck with me for a lifetime. As I study and learn more about servant leadership, one characteristic that I see emulated is empathy. Empathy is a quality we all need to foster, but especially those in leadership positions.
As this book delves deeply into the key to effectiveness as a leader, it teaches that the principles of servant leadership are modeled by Jesus Christ. As he saw intrinsic value in each individual, servant leaders see value and help people see their own unique purpose, value and potential. Servant leaders are able to build relationships modeled through empathy, understanding, respect, trust, and self-esteem.
In every organization there will be times of crisis. We all need a primer to learn techniques for effectual listening which extend beyond the boundaries of hearing only to offer a response. Listening involves all the senses which opens channels for acknowledging, appreciating and connecting with one another. To be a servant leader, first be a servant to listening.
What does your workplace culture do with weaknesses? Every organization has them. But do you know how to turn weaknesses into potential? Getting the right people on the team is one factor in developing a dream team. The strength of the team relies on its diversity. Through identifying strengths and weaknesses of the members, the leader is able to pilot the organization through the stages of development while maximizing interests and talents.
Drawing from years of experience first as a team coach then as a business coach, Mark Deterding offers practical applications for gauging the need of whether training is required or if coaching is the better option. He talks about steps to quantify and maximize development of team members. Coaching leads to action and action to tangible results.
The depth of a leader’s character, what is in their heart, is what separates a servant leader from the pack. Mark discusses the attributes of personal character as identified against the backdrop of leadership. What are the character traits required to transform a charismatic leader into a servant leader? This section, Build Character, investigates the moral and ethical marks of a leader with guiding principles for becoming a leader whose motivation comes from a servant’s heart.
Leaders whose conduct is controlled by a foundation of high moral character have distinguishing characteristics. Learn to effectively apply behavior modification techniques to instill a natural sense of leading from a servant’s heart.
Being trustworthy is a virtue inherent in servant leadership. Trust doesn’t come ingrained with the title. Trust is earned through demonstration of consistent, predictable, truthful, and reliable behavior. Those behaviors instilled into relationships, become building blocks for creating an environment of trust.
The Secret is Out
Successful leaders tend to get noticed. What is it that distinguishes one leader from another? Going beyond personality, beyond chemistry, what is the defining characteristic that successful leaders elicit so people want to follow? The secret is prayer. In the words of the author, “Great faith-based leaders know they are being propped up each day with the Lord’s strength, wisdom, and guidance, and they lead accordingly.”
Following Jesus, the Ultimate Guide
Servant leaders are intentional about putting themselves into a position of accountability so they are continually challenged to improve their leadership skills. Jesus is the supreme role model of servant leadership. Through Biblical teachings and real life scenarios, book, Leading Jesus Way: Become the Servant Leader God Created You To Be, teaches the approach to emulating Jesus and taking accountability seriously. Learn to align yourself with a coach, mentor, advisor, truth-teller, and with other leaders who will hold you accountable for your journey toward leading from a servant’s heart.