July 18, 2012 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Leadership
Three Expectations of Servant Leadership
By Jodi Ashbrook
As leaders, of our own lives and leaders to each other, we get the opportunity to witness growth and transformation everyday. Leadership and coaching others to achieve their best is a passion of mine. There is nothing I love more than seeing the light bulb go off during a coaching session. The light bulb is a signal that something connected, something resonated and I am honored getting to watch growth happens right before my eyes.
I remember my first promotion into management. I was so excited. I thought to myself that I could transition into the role seamlessly and implement all of the wonderful things I had read in books, combined with my own personal ideas and I would be an amazing leader. It took me a short six months to fall flat on my face, want to give up and march into my superior’s office to tell her that hiring me was a mistake. I am thankful that she didn’t blink an eye to my request and responded abruptly with these words, “you are not quitting. If I didn’t think you were capable of doing the job, I wouldn’t have hired you. You are going to dig in, figure it out and get it done.”
As I wiped my tears, I dragged myself back out to be with the team I had told myself in my mind, I couldn’t and didn’t know how to lead. I followed her words of wisdom and dug in, I sat with my people, I focused on understanding their needs, I listened, I coached, I focused on their growth as the root driver to potentially achieve outcomes. Removing myself from the equation of guiding the growth of other human beings, something miraculous happened. The miracle that occurred right before my eyes was my team’s interest in following me as their leader. The evolution of my transition through the space to transform into the leader I always knew I was and could be for people required I break down my interpretation and definition of leadership.
Our society has labeled leadership as being individuals who have a certain level of title, rank and salary. While all those indicators of growth are a “nice to have,” what is truly desired or the “need to have” are the indicators, that validate our personal existence contributes and creates value for someone, something and some purpose.
There is a tendency to twist leadership into being a complicated, mystery that only some people have the skills to be worthy. The reality is as human beings, we are all leaders. The more appropriate question becomes, have we made the effort, to move through our transitions to transform into the human leaders we have the capability of being?
As leaders, our responsibility is to learn, grow and evolve personally so we can teach and elevate others. One must have a true and holistic view of who they are individually, before they can effectively lead anyone, including oneself. The process of seeking to understand one’s actions, behaviors and thoughts before taking on the significant responsibility of seeking to understand others is the essence of leadership. The essence of leadership is the willingness to look in the mirror when the crossroads of learning and experience meet to transform the reflection over time.
Listed below are three expectations I have learned from evolving and growing as a servant leader:
- Spend Your Time with Your People: It is not about you, it is about the people you serve, their success is your success. Be mentally, emotionally and physically present in 1:1 and group coaching sessions. Meet them in their mind where they are in the moment. It is not about where you want them to get to, this is their journey. How do you serve as an individual’s tour guide on their journey to growth?
Be the Leader You Would Follow: Live the message you expect of others. Model the actions and behaviors you want your team to exhibit. A good question to help you determine if you are on track with your actions and behaviors is to ask yourself, “would you follow you?”
Know When to Get Out of the Way: Strong leaders of talent know their people and their developmental needs. They are able to read the support and growth needs of their followers almost intuitively understanding when to provide support, empathy, motivation or situational coaching. How well do you know what your followers need and how are you providing this support?
Jodi is a transformational coach, inspirational blogger and thought leader to the masses. She is most notably recognized for her 10+ years of work in the business and education sectors. Her passion is to lead people through transition, transformation and transcendence into their life purpose. Jodi’s work has been featured at Sources of Insight, Under30CEO and she is a regular columnist at She Takes on the World. Jodi shares her insights and inspiration regularly at The Journey, her blog dedicated to connecting day-to-day life experiences into powerful life lessons.
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