Why, after all these years, is servant leadership not more practiced? Why is this powerful approach so easily dismissed as being irrelevant or impractical to day to day organizational life? This series explores the common misconceptions that often result in leaders ignoring a way of leading that can bring their organizations greater health and higher performance.
Though many key leadership authors from Steven Covey to Adam Grant have espoused the concept and research has been growing as to the effectiveness of this leadership mindset, servant leadership practice continues to be in the minority. Heskett shares this quote from Adam Grant, “...servant leaders are not only more highly regarded than others by their employees and not only feel better about themselves at the end of the day but are more productive as well.” If this is true, then why, as Heskett asks, isn’t servant leadership more prevalent?
Servant leaders are real, honest, transparent and humble. They practice a bold style of authenticity that allows others to both follow and lead. Though leadership begins with the individual leader it is fulfilled in community. The leadership the servant leader displays is one of authenticity defined as being open and accountable to others, willing to learn from others and maintaining integrity and trust. Let’s explore these three descriptors of leadership authenticity in greater detail.
Servant leaders allow and expect others to lead believing that all can be effective leaders and effective followers. By sharing leadership, we empower others to step up and share their ideas (vision) to boldly act toward these ideas (action) to recruit others to the cause (mobilization) to create a new reality (change).
We allow others to lead.