The Primary Colors of Servant Leadership

Caution! Remember to Listen

Then there’s yellow. Universally, yellow is associated with caution or warning. I believe there’s one key attribute of Servant Leadership that most, if not all, of us can use frequent reminders about. Did you guess listening? I figured you did. Listening isn’t an automatic response for many of us. Most leaders receive formal training in reading, writing, and public speaking. When I asked the 100+ people attending the PMI Norway event, it was close to unanimous those whom received training in those three.

When I asked how many had received any kind of formal training in listening — well, what would you think. It was three, well four if you include me.

I love what Larry King said, I remind myself every morning:

Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I’m going to learn, I must do it by listening.

Listening is essential. The great servant leaders I know have helped me learn to listen first, talk later. 

Authenticity: Being the Real Deal

Now, what about the blue?

Hmm. I had to noodle that a while. I  finally landed on authenticity. You know, “true blue”. I believe the question, “Are you for real?” is on the minds of many followers. Especially, those whose leaders proclaim Servant Leadership. Recalling the definition of Servant Leadership provided earlier, you may see why so many followers want to know if their leaders who aspire to be servant-leaders are for real. “You’re putting my needs, growth, and development ahead of your own? For real?”

How About That for a Job Title?

During the conference, before I spoke, Kate Henrikson, a participant sought me out at a break. She is the COO, of Miles AS, a consulting firm in Norway. She handed me her card, it reads, “COO/ Daglig tjener”. Isn’t that cool? In case your Norwegian is no better than mine, that translates to daily servant. And I just discovered their CEO is referred to as group servant.

Now here’s what I love. And I’ve found this to be true in so many of my consulting encounters. This company was practicing Servant Leadership without the label or framework. It was outside consultants who were interested in their unique approach to company culture who helped them discover that Servant Leadership was the best label. Since then, they have wholeheartedly adopted it.

All the Colors of the Rainbow

The beautiful part of discovering that Servant Leadership is your approach to leadership is that as a result of labeling it, you can practice Servant Leadership more consciously and consistently. And as you too, become a daily servant, you begin seeing all the colors of the rainbow manifesting around you.

For me, it begins with those primary colors — empathy, listening, and authenticity. What are the primary colors you are including in your leadership palette?


Kevin Monroe
Kevin Monroe
Kevin Monroe helps people flourish on the road less traveled in business, leadership, and life so they make their dent in the universe. Since he was a teenager, he has usually chosen roads less traveled which usually involve going against the grain and seeking to go with the flow. All in hopes of making the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. His unique contribution to the world is creating environments, hosting encounters, and crafting experiences where people are inspired, equipped, and encouraged to live, love, and lead in extraordinary ways. He hosts a variety of events and experiences designed to do just that including; the Higher Purpose Podcast, The Gratitude Challenge, This ExtraOrdinary Life, and most recently, The League of Extraordinary Difference Makers. Kevin holds a Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Gonzaga University and an undergraduate degree in theology from Mercer University. He lives in Woodstock, GA with his lovely wife, Gwen. They are the parents of two adult children and one precocious granddaughter, Emma.

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