Along with integrity, being of service to other people and individuals is an essential ingredient for any individual – especially for those in power. The more influence and power an individual has, the more the individual has to focus upon integrity and upon being of service to people and society. And when leaders with influence and power are about to lose themselves on the path of servant leadership, they need constant reminders from people around them. This is true across societies, regardless of which industry or influential role the leader is involved in. The higher the role, the more demanding the hierarchical authority level, and the more integrity and serving the leader out to express.
Being a leader is never easy. It is not a task, but rather a calling. If leadership is not a calling, then better let go and let others lead instead. Leadership signifies a great amount of responsibility, starting from being capable of leading oneself first. Before taking on a leadership role, remember to ask yourself:
- Why Do I want to lead? If the response is “I want to have power over others” (or something in the same direction), then you are not qualified/ready for leadership.
- Am I capable of leading myself? Do I value and respect myself enough to be able of leading others as well?
- Do I have enough time and energy for a (demanding) leadership role?
- Do I care enough about other people and about helping/supporting/empowering other individuals in order to be a leader?
- Am I reliable as a leader? Remember, leaders do not put other people down, but rather empower them.
- What are my motivations? If you are motivated by material values primarily, then leadership is not for you. Leaders are driven and motivated by other than material values.
These are some of the basic questions to keep in mind before accepting/taking upon leadership responsibilities.
Also keep in mind: Servant leaders ARE NOT/DO NOT:
- Emotional drop boxes for insecurities and bad moods/behaviors of other individuals.
- Needless to say: however empathetic you are; as a servant leader, you deserve to be treated well by other individuals. You do not have to accept poor behavior.
- You are not here to motivate other individuals. Motivation comes from within. You can inspire people, but never motivate them.
- Carry other people’s problems: you can listen, but always remember to protect yourself.
- Take anything personally.
- Always leading people, and managing things/tasks/circumstances.
“If you cannot handle other people’s disapproval, then leadership is not for you”. (Miles Anthony Smith)
“Serving others prepares you to lead others” (Jim George)
“We rise by lifting others” (Robert Ingersoll)
“True leadership is servanthood. Put the interest of others in at the center of your decisions”.
“You lose power when you use power and gain it when you give it”.
“I have learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” (Maya Angelou).
“One of the most important servant leadership lessons is to realize that you are not the most important or the most intelligent person in the room”.
Servant leaders are always in demand, across societies, in all functions, because in our core, we are all servant leaders. Some of us only need to be trained, and reminded, at times, or most preferably, on a very regular basis.