Servant Leader should be an Example for his Subjects
Leadership is one of the most important aspects of the success of any business that you encounter. Leadership skills, or the lack thereof, not only play a role in business life but one’s personal life as well. When an individual evidently possesses leadership skills it speaks volumes for who they are as an individual without even trying. My leadership philosophy is “the most successful leaders are those that see the importance of humbling themselves in order to better serve others.” This shines a light on my personal definition of leadership. My personal definition states that leadership is the ability to give oneself to a certain task in order to help his or her team meet a common mission or goal. Although leaders are in the leading role, they need to understand the importance of being able to humble themselves and be a servant to others. True servanthood can increase the respect that is given by subordinates.
When hearing the word servant it can tend to leave a negative taste in one’s mouth. In reality, the concept of having the opportunity to serve others can be a positive experience. The term servant is also stereotyped to reflect the subordinate rather than the leader, but with the viewpoint of the servant leadership theory, it shows the reverse role of organizational leaders having the ability to serve others within their organization. Being a servant leader can potentially give one the ability to significantly improve not only group and organizational performance, but individual performance as well (Heyler & Martin, 2018).
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My leadership philosophy was developed on the belief that a true leader should not be afraid to humble themselves before others. Two of the greatest, yet sometimes overlooked, examples of true servanthood and leadership are the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Christ as well as the brave men and women who place their lives on the line every day to serve and protect our great country. Jesus was pure and blameless, yet he was crucified on the cross in order for our sins to be forgiven. Soldiers not only go into battle for the protection of this country, but they go knowing that they may not come back or they may even put themselves in the line of fire to protect the lives of fellow soldiers. The bible verse, John 15:13 NLT states, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, New Living Translation). This bible verse alone speaks multitudes for both the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus and the brave heroes who exemplify leadership on a daily basis. Although being a leader in a business will almost never require someone to sacrifice their lives, these illustrations are enough to cause any leader to strive to be the best they can be.
According to my MBTI results from taking the Jung, Briggs Meyers Types Personality Test, I am classified as an ISFJ – Introversion, Sensing, Feeling, and Judgement. This is very fitting to my personal philosophy and definition of leadership since ISFJ’s are branded by a desire to serve others. In this form of service, ISFJs focus on local, personal, and practical elements (ISFJ).
My results make evident the three likes that I have as a leader:
- remaining loyal,
- being observant, and
- being supportive.
These three characteristics go hand in hand with my leadership abilities. I believe these are three important characteristics for any leader to possess. Loyalty is a great trait to possess when trying to earn the respect of your subordinates. Observation skills are very important when it comes to determining what makes your subordinates tick. Also, when your subordinates see you a part of their support system, it makes it easier for them to gain your trust.
However, three dislikes are
- high sense of perfectionism,
- taking things too personally, and
- lack of showing feelings (Chris, 2015).
As an ISFJ, these are three negative characteristics that I tend to carry on my shoulders. Throughout my entire life I have always been one that tries too hard, take it personally if I fail, then fail to properly show my feelings due to the lack of perfectionism on the tasks at hand.
Based uniquely on personal experiences, as well as edification from class materials, I have discovered strengths that I possess when it comes to leadership. I feel that my first strength is my selflessness. I have always been one to put the needs of others before my own. This has always been what they call a blessing and a curse, but in leadership, I feel this is a great quality. I am able to put aside my own personal emotions and feelings in order to better meet the needs of the tasks at hand. Another strength that I feel I possess is being goal oriented. I believe this strength stems from my need to constantly be organized.
I am an avid list maker with to-do lists, both short term and long term, all over the place. This routine of mine enables me to set better goals and ensure that they are completed in a timely manner. The third strength I feel I hold is my ability to delegate. As a leader, it is imperative to allow your followers to still have a voice of their own. Enabling them to give their opinions on the subject matter not only allows them to feel important, but it allows them to see that you truly care about your team that you are leading. When leading a team I want their feedback every step of the way when completing a task.
Even the best leaders should know how to prioritize their workload and give responsibility to their subordinates to prevent becoming overwhelmed from trying to resolve several problems and take on several tasks of their own simultaneously (Willink & Babin, 2017). I believe that these strengths are important for any leader to maintain. Selflessness truly reflects a servant’s heart, which is what my definition of leadership is all about. Goal orientation, as well as delegation, helps not only myself but the team I am leading. These two strengths help develop trust and an all-around stress reliever as well. However, where strengths lie there are always weaknesses. My first weakness is my being resistant to change. I tend to become comfortable in present situations, so when change presents itself I tend to resist change.
Change is a huge part of any business venture. It is what keeps a business up top with its competitors, and without it, that would be difficult. Stepping out of my comfort zone and embracing change is a weakness that I need to overcome. The second weakness of my leadership abilities is being too optimistic. One may think that this may not be considered as a weakness, but my optimism causes me to overlook the present risks of a situation. I sometimes feel that any obstacle can be overcome when in reality I need to attack it from a different viewpoint. Both weaknesses described are weaknesses that can easily be overcome. The more experience I have in a leadership position, the more I will be able to better embrace change as well as work towards clearly seeing risks as they prevent themselves.
The top two characteristics I would like to possess as a leader are positivity and innovation. A positive environment naturally creates positive and creative environments. This, in turn, can create a productive environment that motivates employees to do their best work. This can be done in to form of hosting meetings that not only point out the actions of the company that needs to be corrected, but also the actions that need to be praised. Innovation is also a key characteristic of a leader. Practicality and realism are important, but having the eye for innovation and goals in place to execute it are extremely important. Leaders within a company may become complacent, but constantly having innovative ideas can prevent this. Relying on the suggestions and ideas of subordinates is an important asset to innovation within a company (Foley, 2018). Not only does an innovative entity prevent from allowing complacency to keep them from moving forward, but it also allows them to remain highly competitive with their competitors.
My leadership principles are important resources to my leadership abilities. One principle I uphold is to lead by example for my subordinates. Doing so can inspire others to accomplish a common goal. One way to do this is to be a true believer regarding the tasks at hand despite the challenge. If the subordinates see that their leader is passionate about his or her work even when there is difficulty, they are more likely to follow their leader in order to carry out this mission. If the leader is not willing to take risks that are necessary, he or she will not be able to convince the subordinates either. (Willink & Babin, 2017) Another leadership principle I find important is to understand that leadership is more of a behavior than it is a title. Subordinates are great assets that may possess several leadership qualities even though they do not hold the leader’s title. A leader shows true leadership abilities when they allow themselves to let go of the reigns when appropriate to allow for their team members to put forth ideas they may have. Regardless of a job title or how low one is in the chain of command, deep down they are able to possess leadership qualities and it is a leader’s job to be able to recognize and use this to the advantage of the team.
My leadership philosophy, definition, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses, characteristics, and principles all work as a system to make evident the leadership goals I have after graduation – as well as the leadership styles I will use to lead. One leadership goal I have after graduation is to lead a team of subordinates under my management. Doing so, I want to put into practice the leadership skills and abilities that I have obtained over the course of my education and as a subordinate myself. Another goal I have is to learn to take ownership.
Even as a subordinate, it is possible to show leadership qualities by adjusting your priorities to meet the needs of superiors. Therefore, when an actual leadership role is taken, you understand the importance of taking ownership. When a leader has a subordinate who is not carrying out the given tasks, the leader must first take a look at themselves. As a leader, your subordinates understand the full responsibility of the tasks you are asking of them relies on your capabilities (Willink & Babin, 2017).
In order to meet my leadership goals, knowing the appropriate styles of leadership to use is vital. The two styles I hope to use are servant leadership as well as authentic leadership. First, as previously discussed, knowing how to serve others is a great quality of a leader. Being able to put one’s needs in front of your own takes a true servant’s heart which can, in turn, build trust and reliability from both the leader and members of the team. Secondly, authentic leadership is also an important leadership style. Authenticity means to be real, true, and consistent. Being an authentic front-runner opens the door for subordinates to trust and rely on their leader. Knowing my leadership goals and styles makes clear the expectation that I have for my future team members.
Like any leader, I expect full attention and dedication from my subordinates, but I am also aware that attention and dedication will stem from my actions as a leader. As long as my actions are in line, my team members will be motivated and willing to perform the tasks at hand. I also expect my team members to feel comfortable enough to generate and present ideas that will benefit the team as a whole. I will also expect my team members to step up and lead where leadership is due. When one thinks of leadership they often associate it with terms such as power, authority, and control. However, in all reality, the terms servant, humble, and self-effacing should be what one sees when observing a true leader.