Are You Ready To Be A Servant Leader?
Saturday, during our success workshop, we talked a great deal about striving to attain things, whether that is money, power or position. After a great deal of discussion, the group came to the conclusion that striving is like the hamster running on a wheel, constantly in motion, but never arriving at a destination. We agreed that striving often portrays neediness in people that can be quite off-putting.
The Fearless, Feisty and Free to Succeed coaching group is comprised of individuals making significant life shifts, creating service businesses in specific, but differing niches. The commonality within the group is based on building their business on a foundation of service and caring for their clients. Their aim: to be a servant-leader.
The idea of servant leadership was first proposed by Robert Greenleaf, and later encouraged by several well known management writers such as Ken Blanchard and Stephen Covey. Servant-leaders gear the core of their leadership around their co-workers, the people the company serves and their community.
The qualities embedded in the success work that we are doing are wrapped around listening, empathy, healing, awareness, persuasion, and insight, growth for ourselves and others, and building community as defined by Robert Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader.
The Tao tells us this is best accomplished by giving up our ideas of success based upon possessions, prestige and power. Verse 7 of the Tao puts forth the idea that by believing that the universe works and provides us with everything we need, we are free to remove ourselves from the rat race and open ourselves to serving the needs of others. We gain by putting others first with no expectations of receiving anything back. We no longer need to strive for success on a daily basis.
For example, when working within a team there is significant give and take in ideas wants and desires. As a servant leader, you listen well, with complete presence. You recognize that there are multiple pathways available to reach a goal, and your idea doesn’t have to be the “right” solution. You choose to exist for more than yourself, seeking the wisdom borne of connective thinking, by allowing for interplay of thoughts and behaviors within the team. This leads to inner peace and fulfillment, without striving, on the part of the leader. As Lao-Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching, the highest type of ruler is one of whose existence the people are barely aware. I believe that silence opens the space for knowing, beyond your own experience and views. The benefits to the team are that all the people on the team say, “We achieved the goal”, and they have grown.
The highest test for me as a coach, working collaboratively with this wonderful group of people is this: Are the people I serve growing as persons? Are they becoming healthier, wiser, freer, more self-directed, and more likely to become servants themselves? How are they helping society, particularly those in need? Are they enjoying life, living it as fully as they are able? Are they able to take the risks necessary to overcome their fears?
Hafiz, a Sufi poet, says “Everyone is God speaking. Why not be polite and listen to him?”
Take comfort in silence. It creates the space necessary for expansion and growth.
Georgia Feiste, owner of Collaborative Transitions, located in Lincoln, NE, is a life transitions coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She specializes in business, career and personal life transitions. Coming from a 30 year background in a C-level corporate position, she is uniquely skilled in providing support and encouragement as her clients set intentional goals to attain their desires, holding open the space they need to stretch and grow. Her passion is success grounded in purpose and passion, standards of integrity and priorities in life. Her website is http://www.collaborativetransitions.com, where she blogs about business and career, and http://www.rainbowbridgecoach, where she and many other coaches blog about mind, body, spirit and emotion. Georgia can be reached at (402) 484-8098.