How to Guide your Board into the Future: Be a Servant Leader!

May 4, 2015 10:06 am Published by Leave your thoughts

IMG_3332 - CopyIt’s hard to think about servants and leaders in the same sentence. They sound like two completely different things, but they’re not. Check out this quote from Robert Greenleaf, known as the father of the servant leader movement: “The servant-leader is servant first… It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions…The leader-first and the servant-first are two extreme types. Between them there are shadings and blends that are part of the infinite variety of human nature.” Ten characteristics essential for servant leadership include:

1. Listening                                  6. Foresight
2. Empathy                                  7. Conceptualization
3. Healing                                    8. Commitment to Growth
4. Persuasion                              9. Stewardship
5. Awareness                              10. Focus on Community

Both staff and volunteer leaders should always lead with mission in mind first, whether it’s the board serving the membership or the staff serving the board and, in turn, the organization. Realize that board members can also be servant leaders to the membership, since their purpose is to serve them and serve them well. It’s important to incorporate this concept into board and staff education along with the organization’s overall philosophy and stress its value to everyone on a regular basis in order to assure success.

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This post was written by Elizabeth Schlicht

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