“To Lead is to Serve” – Unknown
Leadership can take many forms. It’s not a one size fits all, or even a one size fits most, journey. Leadership is “the position of a leader, a person who guides or directs a group” (Dictionary.com). It seems simple enough, but the practice of leading will vary based on the individual(s), the organization, and the terms of the role. Not to mention, the leader’s personal attributes, style, and personality are contributing factors as well.
As you embark upon or further grow as a leader, I encourage you to learn from others. Learn what to do and what not to do. Remember, both are equally important.
My personal leadership journey has evolved over the past few years with positions of increasing responsibility as well as influential leadership roles in both career and in business. I will be the first to admit that leadership can be both challenging and extremely rewarding.
To keep me grounded, I approach leadership from the lens of a servant. Yes, I approach leadership with the stance of how I can be a blessing to others through my gifts and talents as opposed to how I can become “great”. Don’t get me wrong, leaders are often compensated well (in most environments) for their sacrifice and sleepless nights but that is not my motivation.
If you are familiar with the purpose behind this platform, Career Mom Community, it is to encourage, empower and equip purpose-driven professional women. I’m a woman of faith, driven by purpose and I realize the critical role of servitude in life and leadership roles. As a result, I’m forever in tune and focused on the best interest of the team.
My motto is, “the collective “we” is bigger”. If you follow this blog or if you follow me on social media, you already know I have a ton of mottos and affirmations. This one is my favorite in regards to leadership. In today’s post, I’ll share the benefits of approaching your role as a leader from the perspective of a servant.
The Collective “we” is bigger than me! – Career Mom CommunityTweet
Serving as a Leader
Focusing on the team as opposed to self is a sure way to combat selfishness. No one enjoys following a selfish leader. Think of one you know. I bet you have a collection of interesting stories if you followed them for any length of time. Perhaps, they were known for railroading the team or putting their aspirations above others and stepped on whoever, whenever, to get ahead. Having this mindset ultimately serves no one well in the end.
In this scenario, I would assume the leader did not focus much on service. By service, I mean taking the approach of, “what can I do to help advance the team or the assignment”.
They put more emphasis on themselves than the team. Leaders serve! Service is a critical component of leadership and we should always keep this in mind. I share more in my post, Hard Facts About Leadership: Tips to Overcome Challenges. If you approach leadership with the attitude of a servant, you’ll position yourself to live out my motto above, “the collective “we” is bigger”.
Putting it into Practice
Here’s a moment of transparency. I was asked to share some feedback with a leader. As I was sharing, I seized the opportunity to amplify the talents of a team member as opposed to my own. This wasn’t just any ol’ feedback either. It was linked to a career move. I could have easily put in a plug for myself and my own best interest and viewed my colleague as competition who I needed to “one up”. I didn’t take that approach. I put aside my personal interest to advocate for what was best for the team.
You’re probably giving me the side eye, but don’t worry, I didn’t lose any sleep over it. I shared this experience with someone in my circle and they asked me why? Why didn’t I use that opportunity to highlight myself for my own benefit? My answer was simple… “It was what’s best for the team and overall goal at hand”.
Many of my biggest leadership successes were a result of making the collective goal and/or the interest of the team a priority. You will not be disadvantaged by this approach. I have still grown, received recognition, and the likes. In fact, it’s what makes me a sought-after leader. I believe it is this mindset along with other competencies that contribute to my success. I am viewed as a team player, thoughtful, strategic and someone who see’s the big picture.
How are you viewed as a leader?
Ask yourself this, “How am I viewed as a leader”. How can a mindset of service enable to to advance and grow. In what ways have you put service into practice in your career and as a leader? Let’s take the conversation to the comment section. I’d love to connect with you and hear your perspectives.
I hope you will add these nuggets of wisdom to your leadership toolkit and that they will help to grow on your leadership journey.
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I’ve had leadership positions in my career and it’s definitely a challenging role