I desire to be a good leader and I believe it is the desire of many us. Sometimes I do well and other times . . . well honestly I mess up. At my current state of life I’ve come to the conclusion there are many leadership styles with pros and cons. I can not listen to every best leadership tip, only what applies to my leadership in emergency management. My top preference is servant leadership, first used by Robert K. Greenleaf in his 1970 essay The Servant as Leader.
What is servant leadership
An excerpt from the GreenLeaf Center of Leadership website states,
A servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong. While traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid,” servant leadership is different. The servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible.
This is why I really appreciate Simon Sinek. If you have not heard of him, Simon is the author of “Start with Why” and “Leaders Eat Last”. Simon also has a TED Talk on why good leaders make you feel safe and I would HIGHLY encourage you watch the 12 minute video. During Simon’s talk he shares a powerful story about Army Captain Will Swenson which you can see footage of the rescue here. The person Simon Sinek describes as a leader is someone I think all of us can admire and hopefully become.
I hold to a servant leadership as my lifetime approach however I will be the first to say I do it imperfectly. Also I believe you can be a servant leader and still make quick and timely decisions during emergency operations without running people over. Just because a disaster is happening does not mean we can dismiss people to accomplish the goal. As a result of my relationships with value team members I can direct others easier because of built trust over time. I deeply value their trust in me and realize I can lose it much easier than I gained it.
Servant leadership from a society standpoint is not glamorous because the focus is not me but it is you and the greater needs of the community. Yet there is something very powerful about serving others to accomplish a greater need, making an impact that goes beyond yourself.
The world has enough “me, myself and I” noise, now we need “what about you” focus.
How about yourself, do you connect with the thought of servant leadership or identify with another style? Please share in the comments below ↓.
Until next time,